What Does It Do?
One of the most important activities of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is protection and management of threatened and endangered species. The checkoff has been able to fund dozens of projects that assess the status of threatened and endangered species and other animals on the state's Species in Need of Conservation list. The checkoff has assisted with many nongame habitat efforts. Since 1985, the checkoff has sponsored the Backyard Habitat Improvement Program. Besides providing information and assistance to people for improving their yards for wildlife, a certification program is offered to recognize those people who have done the necessary or exemplary things for wildlife in their own backyards. The Chickadee Checkoff has supported hundreds of research and surveying projects to help determine the status of nongame species. Nearly 300 projects have been funded through the 40-year history of the checkoff to better understand nongame wildlife of Kansas.
Perhaps the most value of the checkoff has been its role in supplying match funding for the larger federal State Wildlife Grants Program (SWG.) While the checkoff has supplied over 4 million dollars through the years, much of this money has been used as leverage for much larger amounts from the SWG program. Major projects funded through this matching of dollars have included the two major on-line atlases for reptiles, amphibians and mammals, natural area evaluations in Northeast Kansas, support for prairie re-establishments, and major survey work for sensitive aquatic species.
Even though a meager portion of our state wildlife agency's total budget, the Chickadee Checkoff has made a big difference. Forty years ago, there was very little information being pursued about nongame wildlife. Today, with the additional support of match funding with SWG, there have been major strides made for the conservation of all wildlife, but particularly those nongame species of which so little is known.
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