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Kansas Technical Committee Minutes - December 2, 2013

Kansas Technical Committee Meeting
Monday, December 2, 2013
Teleconference and Face-to-Face
760 South Broadway
Salina, Kansas

The meeting was called to order by Xiomara Tryban, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Salina, Kansas. Xiomara introduced the panel: Chad G. Volkman and herself, NRCS, Salina State Office; and Dusty Tacha, Rangeland Management Specialist, NRCS, South Hutchinson Field Office.

Introductions of the group were made and Xiomara turned the meeting over to Dusty Tacha with PowerPoint “Effects of Black-tailed Prairie Dog.”

Presentation—Effects of Black-tailed Prairie Dog (PDF; 4 MB)

Xiomara explained the purpose for the targeted area and that members were being asked to make a recommendation online with commentary via the Doodle Poll. Xiomara described the Doodle Poll, and stated it would remain open until 4:30 p.m. today, December 2, 2013. The state conservationist’s (STC’s) decision will be posted by December 4, 2013.

Presentation—Black-footed Ferret Target Area (PDF; 535 KB)

She asked for one-minute comments from the group. Comments were as follows:

One-Minute Comments:

Ron Klataske—Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) may be handling management of prairie dogs. There may be some limited areas outside of Logan County. This would not affect control or non-control of the prairie dogs.

Jim Hays—How many states are eligible for the targeted area? Only five to six states are involved.

Steve Sorenson—Target approach—do participants know they are being targeted?
The targeted area is very small, five to six participants. However, these participants have not been identified. The NRCS is not taking the forefront in publicizing this, we will provide funds for those who are willing to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on a plan.

Rob Manes —The option should be provided to landowners to participate; however, it shouldn’t be treated differently than other programs and shouldn’t only be a small number of land owners. Can these funds be used to manage the prairie dogs? We do not have a conservation practice (CP) that does this.

Mike Disney — Mike agrees with Manes’ comments. He looks forward to seeing what happens.

Mike Beam—There are two CPs being prescribed grazing and wildlife habitat. How would these apply? There would be an incentive payment to assist with the Black-footed ferret. Dean Krehbiel addressed that CP 645, Upland Wildlife Habitat Management, would assist with the Black-footed ferret in terms of monitoring on‒site. Prescribed grazing plans would be developed to include the prairie dogs that exist on site.

Susan Stover—Currently, we do not know how many dollars will be expended or what percentage? That is correct. It will come out of the general Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds.

Steve Swaffar—They would be looking at the safe harbor agreement. Can the adjacent neighbors sign up? He stated he doesn’t like funding a specific species.

Xiomara Tryban—It could be open to both under prescribed grazing.

Steve Swaffar—Is there a plan among neighbors? We have not discussed that.

Scott Carlson—Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) and Division of Conservation (DOC) are opposed to participating in the targeted area.

Electronic Comments were submitted by: Patti Winters, Bob Atchison, Darin L. Banks, Steve Swaffar, Howard Miller, Steve Sorenson, Susan Stover, Michael Disney,
Mike Beam, Ron Klataske, Joe Kramer, Greg Foley, and Jim Hays.

Comments regarding black-footed ferret (PDF; 1.7 MB)
Black-Footed Ferret Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (PDF; 1 MB)

September 26, 2013, Kansas Technical Committee (KTC) Minutes will be posted by this Friday, December 6, 2013.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

The meeting was then turned over to Adrian Polansky, Executive Director, Farm Service Agency (FSA), Manhattan, Kansas. Adrian explained the issue, FSA is looking for your recommendation regarding the National Environmental Policy Act for the CRP under the new Farm Bill.

The FSA Panel: Adrian Polansky, Rod Winkler, and Carla Wikoff all FSA, Manhattan, Kansas.

Adrian then introduced Rod Winkler, to cover the CRP. Rod provided the following information:

KTC Discussion and Recommendations:

  • We need to keep in mind the importance of early brood season and nesting in late June is critical
  • Evaluate whether CP25 CRP acreage could be available for grazing
  • Evaluate whether to change the first available date of the PNS
  • Suggestion was made to move the end of the PNS from July 15 to June 15
  • Concerns addressed with cutting the PNS season short
  • Some believe the current PNS dates are accurate and have worked well in Kansas
  • Birds of concern is the Northern Bobwhite Quail and nesting in the first ten days of June
  • Some believe the first week of June is important for upland game birds
  • Discussion was held on the five-inch average height rule in comparison to determining stocking rates for grazing. The NRCS believes the five-inch rule is more feasible and achieves the same result
  • It was determined more flexibility on management of CRP was needed
  • A group of interested parties met in late summer to discuss CRP management and agreed we needed to provide more flexibility for management of the cover
  • Rod Winkler informed everyone to email further input and comments to him at rod.winkler@ks.usda.gov by Friday, December 6, 2013

Comments regarding CRP (PDF; 141 KB)

Routine Grazing Discussion:

  • Currently, we can manage two 60‒day or one 120‒day
  • Current policy allows grazing in one of the last three years from July 16 through September 30
  • Rules in Kansas for routine grazing remain the same as managed grazing due to cost of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluation
  • Request review of allowing routine grazing at any time during the year outside the nesting season, this promotes forb component which is good for the upland game bird
  • Allow grazing every year or every other year
  • Changes would be incentive to keep more ground in CRP
  • Encourage to graze during the growing season to have a better diverse cover
  • Allow 120 days anytime for routine grazing
  • Allow 60-day window in the spring
  • Evaluate grazing only to add CP25
  • Nebraska and Kansas are the only ones involved

CP25 Request to Allow Grazing:

  • Recommend allowing CP25 in Kansas to be grazed—no haying

Buffer Practices:

  • Recommend allowing incidental grazing of buffer CPs—no haying
  • Grazing during the dormant period does not harm the cover
  • Better flexibility of grazing after crops are in.

Additional Recommendations:

  • Review allowing fence to begin to be constructed on expiring CRP during the nesting season in the final year of the CRP contract.

Recommendation Discussions for NEPA:

Provide to FSA by Friday, December 6, 2013, via email to Rod J. Winkler, Agricultural Programs Specialist, Conservation Price Support Division, FSA, Manhattan, Kansas, at rod.winkler@ks.usda.gov.

Chad Volkman concluded the meeting at 12:15 p.m.

Attendees

Teleconference Call-In:

  • Mike Urbane, Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB)
  • Steve Swaffar, KFB
  • Mike Disney, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Dan Mulhern, USFWS
  • Mike Beam, Kansas Livestock Association/Ranchland Trust
  • Rob Manes, The Nature Conservancy
  • Susan Stover, Kansas Water Office
  • Darin Banks, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Patty Winters, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts Employees

Face-to-Face:

  • Adrian Polansky, Farm Service Agency (FSA)
  • Rod Winkler, FSA
  • Carla Wikoff, FSA
  • Joe Kramer, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
  • Steve Sorensen, Kansas Wildlife Federation
  • Ron Klataske, Audubon of Kansas
  • Maurice Miller, Sharp Brothers Seed Inc.
  • Scott Carlson, Division of Conservation
  • Jim Hays, The Nature Conservancy
  • Barth Crouch, Pheasants Forever
  • Matt Smith, Kansas Fish, Wildlife and Tourism
  • Dan Baffa, Participant
  • Eric Banks, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Xiomara Tryban, NRCS
  • Chad Volkman, NRCS
  • Dean Krehbiel, NRCS
  • Andy Burr, NRCS
  • Sheldon Hightower, NRCS
  • Dusty Tacha, NRCS
  • Rosie Collins, NRCS