Migratory bird, sandhill crane seasons highlight evening public hearing agenda

WICHITA -- The Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission invites all interested citizens to attend a public meeting and hearing at the Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th St. North, Wichita, Aug. 25th. The afternoon session will begin at 1:30 p.m.; the evening public hearing will begin at 7 p.m.

The afternoon session will begin with reports from the Department of Wildlife and Parks on legislative interim committee assignments and department budgets for fiscal years 2006 and 2007. General discussion topics slated for discussion in the afternoon will include the following:

  • review of regulations being considered pertaining to exotic cat, mountain lion, bear, and wolf ownership;
  • the department's affiliation with the multi-state Wildlife Violator Compact;
  • status of the department's conversion to a new automated licensing system;
  • plans for the issuance of an outdoor recreation-themed credit card; and
  • an overview of wind farm development.

The afternoon session will also include discussion, in preparation for potential future regulatory action, of the following topics:

  • revocation of commercial guide regulations, in response to a law passed by the 2005 Kansas Legislature repealing requirements for guide permits;
  • proposed changes in boat registration fees from the current rate of $20 for vessels under 16 feet and $25 for vessels 16 feet or longer to $27 for a three-year registration for all boats propelled by motor or sail, regardless of length;
  • proposed changes in fish minimum length limits at Lake Wabaunsee, Smoky Gardens, and Jewell State Fishing Lake, as well as addition of Garnett-Crystal Lake to the list of designated trout waters;
  • preliminary recommendations for the 2006 spring turkey season, which would make no changes in unit boundaries, permits numbers, or season length; and
  • designation of approved nontoxic shot for waterfowl, coot, rail, snipe, and sandhill crane hunting.

The afternoon session will conclude at about 5 p.m. The evening public hearing will begin at the same location at 7 p.m. Following general discussion on the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and its implications for Kansas, the commission will consider recommendations for the following regulations:

  • the 2005 waterfowl seasons; and
  • the 2005 sandhill crane season.

Time will be set aside in both the afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on topics which are not on the agenda. If necessary, the commission will recess on Aug. 25, to reconvene at 9 a.m. Aug. 26 at the same location to conclude its business.

If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission of Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.