Neosho Wildlife Area News
Neosho Wildlife Area
NEOSHO WILDLIFE AREA – “ENSURING THE NEXT 50 YEARS”
KANSAS DEPT. OF WILDLIFE & PARKS AND DUCKS UNLIMITED
Kansas outdoorsmen enjoyed their first season of waterfowl hunting at the Neosho Wildlife Area (WA) in 1961. Today the Neosho WA, managed by the KDWP, anchors the premier SE Kansas waterfowling region which lies along the Neosho River. With the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Neosho WA approaching, it is beginning to show its age. Much of the area’s original infrastructure has exceeded its design life and badly needs replacing. Not only does this aging infrastructure require an increasing amount of annual maintenance and manpower to operate, it is also beginning to fail to provide the vital food resources waterfowl rely on in the region.
As this milestone anniversary approaches, the KDWP and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU) have begun planning a major renovation of the area. This work will ensure that the citizens of Kansas are able to continue enjoying this historic place.
The renovation project has two objectives. The first is to improve the amount and quality of habitat available annually for waterfowl and other wildlife species. The second objective is to decrease the annual operation and maintenance costs at the area.
Area staff is still diligently working on this project. DU submitted the first NAWCA Grant for Neosho WA in February of 2013. The grant unfortunately was denied and did not receive enough points to be funded. DU resubmitted the grant in July of 2013, to once again be denied. The score improved but several other projects also scored well and government funding was on the low side for that grant cycle. In August of 2013 Neosho WA staff hosted a tour for the Upper Mississippi Joint Lake Board to showcase the area hoping to improve the chances of the grant being funded.
After applying for NAWCA twice with no success the Department decided to pursue alternative funding or grants to get the project completed. In January of 2014 Neosho Area Manager, Monte Manbeck and Region 5 Public Land Supervisor, Jason Deal wrote a Pittman Robertson Grant and submitted to USFWS. We are currently awaiting the results. KDWPT and DU are still working to obtain NAWCA and the grant will be submitted for review the last week of FEB 2014. As new things develop with this project the website will be updated, news articles written and public meetings will occur.
April brought some exciting news and some not so exciting news. We will start off with the good...The Pittman Robertson Grant was approved by the USFWS and is currently being engineered by Schwab Eaton out of Manhattan KS. Schwab is currently working on cost estimates, permitting and design plans for the future Neosho Wildlife Area. It is anticipated that dirt work will begin in the Spring of 2015. Once a conceptual design plan is provided the department and DU are planning a public meeting to explain the project and the timelines that we will be working with. The NAWCA Grant is still in progress and we are still waiting patiently to hear the results (which should be any day). Now for the bad news...there has been an overexpendature in state funding leaving us with virtually no money to finish up the fiscal year with. With that being said the Neosho WA had to find ways to cut back in management. There will be very little to no Corn or row crop this coming fall in the hunting pools. Let me remind you that there is still a lot of value and holding power in natural occurring moist soil plants for waterfowl. Area staff will do its best to put as much diversity on the landscape as possible with what limited funding is available.
SOUTH UNIT PUMP PROJECT
The South Unit Pump Project has been a very challenging project to say the least. After a couple of years of hard work, research and engineering we are confident that by this coming fall there will be a new pumping operation at the South Unit that will serve our management needs for many years. The old ramp has already been filled in preparation for the new pump. Bids were solicited in late April and will be awarded within the next week. However, no construction will be allowed on the river between the months of May through July due to the site is in close proximity to Neosho Madtom breeding habitat.
If you have any questions about the status of the project or the area please feel free to contact the area office at 620-449-2539.
Hunting Pool Habitat 2014
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