Michael Pearce

Commission passes increase in hunting, fishing fees

Lucy the Lab, a K-9 game warden honored for her service, was the star of Thursday’s Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting in Burlington.
Lucy the Lab, a K-9 game warden honored for her service, was the star of Thursday’s Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting in Burlington. The Wichita Eagle

BURLINGTON

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission met Thursday at the Coffey County Library, 410 S. Juniatta in Burlington.

BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOUR WALLET DIRECTLY

Mike Miller, Wildlife and Parks information chief, asked commissioners to approve price increases for most hunting and fishing fees, stating some fees haven’t been increased in about 30 years, and more funding is needed to keep public access and habitat programs going and growing.

Robin Jennison, department secretary, also indicated increased funds could help give pay raises to employees. The department hasn’t given raises to some game wardens for about 15 years, and is enduring a rush of longtime employees heading to better paying jobs in other places. The department is short about seven game wardens and four top-level biologists. Most state parks are at some of the lowest worker numbers in history.

The topic got no response from the public at the meeting and only a few seconds of discussion amid commissioners. Jennison said he’d only had one negative comment.

Hit this past article for exact increases and explanations.

BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOUR WALLET INDIRECTLY

Earl Lewis, of the Kansas Water Office, gave a presentation on the $20 million project that will dredge about 3 million cubic yards of silt from John Redmond Reservoir, to improve water supplies for the Wolf Creek Nuclear power facility, several area towns and help improve the lake’s flood control capacity.

Initial work begins on the project Nov. 1. The actual dredging should start around April 1 and be completed by the end of 2016.

The project is being funded by bonds issued by the state, over a 15 year period.

KIND OF SURPRISING

After five years of often contentious debate nothing happened in regards to changing the season dates and boundaries of Kansas’ southeast duck zone.

Thursday, Tom Bidrowski, Wildlife and Parks waterfowl biologist, said public input at recent meetings, and through surveys, indicated most southeast zone hunters were happy with current boundaries.

KIND OF NOT SURPRISING

Lloyd Fox, Wildlife and Parks big game program coordinator, said the department won’t ask for any major changes as per season dates and limits for the 2016 deer seasons. Commissioners and the public will discuss his projections at a January meeting in Manhattan and vote on the topics in March, in Topeka.

MORE FISH FOR THE PAN

Amid dozens of changes as per fish limits for 2016, anglers at El Dorado Reservoir will be able to start keeping more blue catfish. The lake now has a 25-35-inch slot limit for the fish. Fish that size must be released, but up to five of those under and/or over the slot limit can be kept. The previous limit stated only 35-inch blue cats could be kept.

STOLE THE SHOW

She was only in front of the commission for a few minutes, but Lucy, a four-legged game warden who has been working with four-legged game warden Jeff Goeckler for about seven years, was the star of the day.

Retiring because of health reasons, the Labrador retriever was honored for her years of work, which included helping to bust dozens of poachers and in the happy ending recovery of lost children and senior citizens. Lucy responded to the hoopla by laying down, rolling on her side, sighing and wagging her tail through the proceedings.

You should be able to watch any, or all, of the commission meeting by going to ksoutdoors.com.

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