For those of you who do not frequent the Kansas waterfowl forum on the "other" site, I've copied a recent post:
The second meeting was on Wednesday night, in Great Bend. I didn't hear about it until Wednesday afternoon and had responsibilities that evening that I didn't have time to come up with a replacement for, so I missed it.
I talked to the Kansas Migratory Bird Manager (Waterfowl Biologist) on Thursday about the meeting, the proposals for Qiuvira, and appropriate actions. (He was at the Wichita and the GB meetings.)
I borrowed the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental assessment for the Quivira NWR proposals. It is 262 pages long, and covers things from allowing Sandhill Crane hunting, to allowing deer and turkey hunting, to opening Quivira to shed hunting. Waterfowl hunting is only a part of the Plan, but to me it is the most important part, so I'll concentrate on that aspect. This document has maps of the proposed Units; Walker's map shows a small part of the changes; it is not the entire proposals by any means....it gets worse.
There are three "Alternatives" being proposed:
Alternative A: literally, leaving things as they are now. It's the "control", and will not be the chosen path, in my opinion. (Somebody in a position of power feels the need for change at Quivira.)
Alternative B: Reducing the acreage available to waterfowl hunting from the present 8,000 (approx.) acres to approx. 7,000 acres. This would remove the North Lake area from huntable land and add acres to the waterfowl hunting land on the east side of Quivira. In effect, they would remove the best waterfowl hunting area (N. Lake) and replace it with fewer acres of upland that will provide little if any opportunity for duck/goose hunters. VERY BAD
This Alt.B would provide for closing only the areas (there are five proposed Units) that whoopers are actually sitting on...just like the Bottoms.
THIS IS GOOD.
Bow hunting for deer would be allowed, with muzzleloader/shotgun deer hunting "to be considered". Turkey hunting would be allowed. Sandhill crane hunting would not be allowed. THIS CAN BE GOOD OR BAD, DEPENDING ON YOUR PROCLIVITIES.
Alternative C: Includes ALL the actions in Alt. B, except the whole refuge would be closed when whoopers are present in any part (like they do now), instead of closong only the affected area. Sandhill hunting to be allowed. Deer and turkey could be opened IF "population numbers AND population health concerns allow." THIS IS NO BETTER THAN ALT. B.
I've talked to people who know the most effective way to make your voice heard. It is by faxing or mailing (no email, no phone calls; they need PAPER to demonstrate public opinion) your comments to:
Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Refuge Planning
Denver, CO 80225-0486
There is a better plan, and this is what I will send to Toni:
Implement Alt.B, with one very important exception: make a Unit 6, that is now the western half of the north end of the refuge, the part that contains North Lake. This would allow waterfowl hunting on North Lake and flats, except when whoopers are present on that Unit, in which case the hunting on that unit will cease until the whoopers leave. This is just like the system that has been very successfully employed on Cheyenne Bottoms.
As I see it, removing N. Lake from huntable land essentially eliminates Quivira NWR as a viable waterfowling destination, for local and out of state hunters.
We need every one of you, whether you hunt Quivira or not, to send a letter.
The state and the feds need to hear what we want. Right now, they getting an earful from the birdwatchers, the hikers, and the bicyclists who occasionally use Quivira and who pay zero for it's maintenance. The hunters provide the funds to keep refuges open, and we deserve to have our voices heard.
We have until May 10 to give our input.