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 KDWPT, 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.
April 2015 News
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. In January of 2015 both grants were accepted and approved. The total dollar figures for this renovation project will probably exceed the 3 million range.
Schwab Eaton Engineering is currently working on cost estimates, permitting and design plans for the future Neosho Wildlife Area. Design of the main area is close to complete and permits have been sent to the appropriate parties to begin that process. It is anticipated that dirt work will begin in the spring and summer of 2016.
There will be a public meeting in late October or early November to discuss area conditions, fall migration forecast and the renovation project timelines. The location will be the function Junction which is where we have had our last couple of meetings. For those of you that have not attended it is just North of the R&F Implement dealership on the 47 - 59 hwy junction. I look forward to seeing everyone there and having some great discussion about the future of the area and waterfowling in SE Kansas.
SOUTH UNIT PUMP PROJECT
The South Unit Pump Project has been a very challenging project to say the least. After a several years of hard work, research and engineering we are finally nearing the end of the project. The electrical tower to keep all equipment necessary to operate the pump up and out of the flood plain was set on September 28, 2015. As of Spetember 29, 2015 we are working on getting rip rap placed on the river bank to stabilize the pump and the earthen material that was utilized to fill in the old pump ramp. An electrical contractor will be here late this week or the first of next week to set the VFD into the control tower and get all electrical equipment hooked up and ready for pumping.
Area staff has also begun restoration efforts at the south unit by removing some trees with a newly acquired skid steer that was obtained through the Pittman Robertson Grant. This will be an ongoing effort on both the main area and the south unit until water is pumped this fall and will begin again next spring after dewatering.
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.
Travis Ratliff was hired in May of 2015 as the Assistant Manager for the Neosho Unit (Neosho WA, Hollister WA, Neosho SFLand Bourbon SFL). Travis is a Chanute native and has grown up hunting the Neosho WA. He also worked 6 summers as a seasonal employee on the Neosho Unit while attending college at Pittsburg and Emporia State Universities. If you see him out on the area or in the check station please help me in welcoming him back to the area.
Hunting Pool Habitat 2015
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