Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area News
KDWPT IS IMPLEMENTING AN ELECTRONIC PERMIT SYSTEM BEGINNING WITH THE 2014-2015 HUNTING SEASON
HUNTERS NEED TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT IN iSportsman BY GOING TO https://kdwpt.isportsman.net AND FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE DIRECTIONS:
1. Scroll down the left side of the page to the blue "register" button.
2. Provide hunter information.
ONCE REGISTERED, HUNTERS WILL BE ABLE TO CALL OR LOG ONTO THE SYSTEM SEPTEMBER 1 AND GET THEIR PERMIT FOR THE DOVE OPENER. THEY CAN ALSO VISIT THE CHEYENNE BOTTOMS WILDLIFE AREA PAGE ON iSPORTSMAN AT https://kdwpt.isportsman.net/Locations/Cheyenne_Bottoms.aspx
PAPER PERMITS WILL STILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE AREA OFFICE, HOWEVER, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO USE THE iSPORTSMAN ELECTRONIC PERMIT SYSTEM AS IT WILL BE REQUIRED IN 2015.
Hot summer weather may be done for this year. Temperatures are predicted to moderate the next week or so. Total duck numbers are estimated to be between 3,000 and 10,000, mostly blue-winged teal, shoveler and mallard. Teal numbers seem to be increasing a bit this week. The fall shorebird movement south has been on for about a month now. Few shorebirds are on the Area now, but wading birds such as yellowlegs, avocets, ibis, egrets and herons remain abundant.
Teal hunter success for the period September 19 through 23 was about 3.5 teal per hunt.
The rains we received in April through this week have brought us good amounts of supplemental water through the inlet system. This diverted water was placed into Pool 1 for storage. Pools 1A, 1B and 1C are near full. We again opened the inlet to bring in some water from the Ark River and place it into Pool 1A. We had closed down the inlet when Pools 1A, B and C were at or above capacity to allow their levels to drop so we have 'freeboard' for any direct rainfall. The rains that provided us much needed water this spring and summer also prevented us from doing any cattail of Phragmites control. We continued our efforts at pumping Pools 3 and 4 into Pool 1 to at least allow us to work in the perimeter portions of those pools, and as a result we are now in those pools spraying Phragmites, disking and mowing openings for hunting opportunity and habitat improvement. We have also planted at least limited amounts of millet as well.
Some people were wondering why we temporarily quit diverting water from the Arkansas River or Wet Walnut Creeks. There was a period in July when the water levels in Pools 1A, 1B and 1C were at or over capacity for some time. In addition, the rains during that period produced runoff that is still flowing into Pool 2, which is over full, and Pool 5. We were still hoping to try and do at least some cattail control work in Pools 3 and 4. This is the second wet spring/summer in a row that has prevented us from doing much vegetation control. Placing water in Pools 3 and 4 would have ended any hope of mowing access trails or hunting holes in those pools. Not only would that action end cattail work this year, it would go a long ways to ensure we are unable to do it in 2017, given how long it takes for us to dry out a pool. Our plans were and still are to try and keep Pool 3B dry through the winter. That is the pool we mowed last winter but were unable to burn or disk due to the wet, windy spring.
We were busy in August taking advantage of our efforts to dry out at least portions of Pools 3A and 4. We were able to re-open the 250 acres of cattail we mowed and burned last summer in the perimeter area of Pool 4. We also were able to mow trails and openings in Pools 3A, 4A and 4B before placing water in them for the fall. We also removed silt from the boating channels leading out of Deadman and White Rock parking lots behind Pool 4A.
The war with Phragmites continues. We devoted a lot of time and money to fighting the relentless spread of Phragmites. We continue looking for it ahead of the advancing water as we refill the pools. Our efforts are focusing on Pool 5 now since we have been dealing with the plant in Pools 3 and 4 for most of August. We were able to enlist the help of an aerial herbicide applicator to spray the areas in Pools 2 and 3A that held water and prevented ground based equipment from getting to the Phragmites. While the clumps of the invasive plant were the main target, the plane also sprayed the cattail between the clumps of Phragmites. A total of 555 acres was sprayed. Ducks Unlimited helped pay for this effort, covering about 1/3 of the cost.
Current water levels in the Pools are: 1A is about 45.5", 1B and 1C are about 39.5 inches, Pool 2 is about 17.5 inches; Pool 3A is about 11 inches, 3B has trapped water, Pool 4A has about 17.5 inches, Pool 4B has about 18 inches, and Pool 5 is around 9.5".
A viewing trailer has been placed on the Wildlife Area and is available for use. It is currently placed in the southeast portion of the wildlife area overlooking the east end of Pool 5 near the observation tower. Opportunity for viewing waterfowl as well as some wading birds and a few peeps is there. To sign in to use the trailer and obtain keys stop by the Kansas Wetland Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms. Chairs, basic bird ID guides and binoculars are available. All is free of charge.
Visit the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms. They have educational exhibits directed at describing the role wetlands play in the natural world with a focus on Cheyenne Bottoms. Find out the wide variety of wetlands found in Kansas, you may be surprised at the diversity in this grassland state. Their location is in the southeast portion of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area along Kansas Highway 156. Their hours are Monday through Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. They are closed Mondays from November 1 through March 31. The phone number is 620-566-1456.