Community Fisheries Assistance Program recognized by American Fisheries Society
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) is one of five state fish and wildlife agencies recently honored by the American Fisheries Society (AFS). KDWP received the AFS 2009 Outstanding Sport Fish Restoration Program Projects of the Year award, along with agencies in Alaska, Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina,

KDWP was recognized for its Community Fisheries Assistance Program, which works with communities to improve fishing access and opportunities at community-owned lakes. Bob Curry, president of the AFS Fisheries Administration Section, will present the award at the March 11 meeting of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission in Topeka.

"I am very proud of the work of biologists Jessica Mounts, Tom Lang, and Kyle Austin on this project," said Doug Nygren, KDWP Fisheries Section chief. "They are responsible for the creation and implementation of this nationally-recognized fishing access program that has guaranteed there will be no additional fees to fish from the shore or by boat on 238 small community lakes."

Using matching funds from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and motor boat fuel, KDWP leases fishing rights to those 238 community lakes, removing local fishing and boating fees for anglers on approximately 13,000 acres of water. The program is 100-percent reimbursable. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides reimbursement for 75 percent of the program cost, and local communities' normal lake operating expenses are used for a 25 percent match.
Community lakes enrolled in the program benefit from enhanced fisheries management and stocking. KDWP targeted community lakes because of their popularity with anglers, convenience to anglers who wish to fish closer to home, and diverse locations.

Other states' projects receiving the honor include gathering fishery resource data, conserving sportfish species, removing barriers to salmon migration, and teaching people how to fish.

For more information, visit the Community Fisheries Assistance Program on this website.