Dear MoBirders,
I wanted to update you on the rapidly changing situation in Kansas
regarding the reintroduction of the Black-footed Ferret. John Barnhardt is
a GOAS member whose parents own one of the reintroduction sites. I believe
that this is truly a Missouri bird issue as well as a Kansas issue.
 Below I have posted the text from a statement that John's sister Rebecca
made to the Kansas legislature yesterday. It's a beautiful piece,
reflecting back to her work long ago when she displayed a precocious
understanding of predator/prey relationships as a nine year old. It reminds
of why it is so important for us at ASM to encourage young people to share
their passion for the out of doors so that we can ensure that we continue
to have staunch supporters of wildlife, like Rebecca, among us. More
importantly, it conveys the urgency with which Audubon of Kansas, USFWS,
other conservation groups and us face in defending bird and mammals species
from the new "extinctionist" movement.
 If you have time, please take a moment to to write email letters and/or
make phone calls to Kansas state senators. They can be as simple as asking
each senator to vote "no" on SR 1711, or one can elaborate more fully on
one's personal or professional views. Many of us in Missouri have looked
upon the beauty of a Kansas Prairie Dog town, and experienced species like
Burrowing Owls and Ferruginous Hawks that depend upon them. So, it's a
Missouri bird issue, too.
 Text of Rebecca Barnhardt statement below. Apologies ahead of time to any
who feel this is an inappropriate post,
Good birding,
Greg Swick
Ozark, Missouri

Statement by Rebecca Barnhardt, Bucklin , Kansas

In Opposition to Senate Resolution 1711

February 14, 2013

Forty-two years ago, I prepared and presented a talk entitled “Predators
Need to Prey”for the Cowley County 4-H Days. It discussed the balance of
nature and how Mother Nature provided a method to control the population of
plentiful herbivores. Very simply, herbivores served as a food source for
the less-abundant predators. Although I was only 9 years old, I understood
this delicate balance that the earth had created. Sadly, a few residents of
Logan County, Kansas mistakenly believe they can totally“improve” Mother
Nature’s design and use the poison Rozol to not only control but also
ERADICATE the native prairie dog from the short grass prairie.

Logan County currently has a population of prairie dogs living on private
land. Prairie dogs are THE keystone animal in the prairie ecology, and many
prairie species rely on prairie dogs not only for food but also for
housing. Swift
foxes, snakes, Ornate Box Turtles, several species of toads, frogs and
salamanders, several species of reptiles including lizards and snakes, and
a diversity of invertebrates including tumble bugs use prairie dog burrows
at various times of the year. In the summer, Burrowing Owls nest and raise
their young in prairie dog holes, as do Swift Foxes when they modify the
burrows as dens.

Raptors, including Ferruginous Hawks, Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles, Swift
Foxes, Coyotes, Badgers, and yes, the Black-Footed Ferret, rely on the
prairie dog for food. Without the prairie dog, many of these animals will
become scarce or disappear altogether from some parts of our prairie

The prevailing attitude in Logan County is that poisoning with Rozol is the
answer to control the prairie dog population. It IS effective, but what
many people don’t realize is that Rozol is a second-generation poison. This
means that a predator that eats a poisoned prairie dog is also poisoned,
and many die the same excruciating death as a poisoned prairie dog. Federally
protected species such as Ferruginous Hawks, Golden Eagles, and Bald Eagles
have all been victims of secondary Rozol poisoning, as have been imperiled
species including Swift Foxes.

Black-footed Ferrets are THE MOST endangered mammal in North America. Kansas
is LUCKY to have a reintroduction site and private landowners willing to
host them. My parents, Gordon and Martha Barnhardt, along with Larry and
Betty Haverfield and Mrs. Blank are these landowners. They also want to
control the population of prairie dogs but want to do it without spreading
toxins throughout the environment. Black-footed Ferrets are an obligate
predator of prairie dogs—and part of the natural method of prairie dog
control that they prefer.

Neighbors are provided, at no cost to themselves, control of prairie dogs
that stray onto their land. Additionally, a variety of measures, including
special fencing, have been put around the BFF reintroduction sites to
substantially diminish movement of prairie dogs onto neighboring property.

Gordon and Martha Barnhardt are private landowners who have the right to
manage the prairie dog population on their property in the manner that they
choose. They did not introduce prairie dogs to this property. Prairie dogs
have lived in this area for millions of years.

It is important to keep and preserve examples of the different native
bio-types. The short grass prairie is the one at hand. We have a
responsibility to future generations to keep some examples of native North
America as close to how it originally existed as we can. Buffalo herds are
gone, replaced by cattle as the large grazers. Prairie dogs are the small
grazers, and more importantly, the keystone species that many other species
of conservation concern depend on.

It would be foolish and shortsighted to drive prairie dogs to extinction,
which appears to be the goal of the Logan County Commissioners, the Kansas
Farm Bureau, and some local politicians. The loss of the prairie dog will
result in the loss of much of the richness of wildlife on the short grass
prairie as we know it. And future 9-year- olds will no longer be able to
see Mother Nature’s ingenious design at work.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John Barnhardt <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Subject: Senate Resolution Threatens Credibility of the State of Kansas
To: Greg Swick <[log in to unmask]>

Hi Greg,

Thank you for forwarding the last alert from Ron Klataske. I don't know if
you received the update or not, but just in case, I am forwarding it to
you. They are truly moving fast and by the dark of night on this. I found
out tonight that my Dad was not aware that this was happening. He was not
surprised as he expected it, but he did not know it was happening now. Like
many in their generation, my parents don't exactly live on line. They do
get email, but I think they check it semiannually. I hope that as the light
is turned on to what is going on in Western Kansas, support will pour in to
the KS Audubon and they will successfully put a stop to this bill. Maybe
they can even get the horrible law overturned in KS that you have to poison
prairie dogs on your property. If we can get the ferrets established, the
poison won't be necessary, and the secondary killing of foxes, eagles,
owls, etc will stop as well. Be sure to click on the link and read the
statement written by Ron Klataske. He is doing a wonderful job on a very
divisive issue in the state of KS.

Thank you again!

Take care,

John Barnhardt

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      *Feb 18, 2013*

Senate Resolution Threatens Credibility of the State of Kansas

 *Audubon of Kansas Action Alert*

February 18, 2013

A resolution designed to undermine the efforts of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, private ranch landowners and other conservation partners
to re-establish federally endangered Black-footed Ferrets on two specific
Logan County sites in western Kansas was pushed out of committee and to the
full Kansas Senate on Friday, February 15. Advocates of Senate Resolution
1711 are trying to have it approved as soon as possible, in part to
diminish the time citizens who support wildlife conservation have to
contact senators to urge them to vote against the resolution.
[image: One of the released ferrets on the Maxine Blank property, October
of the released ferrets on the Maxine Blank property, October 2008

Audubon of Kansas is urging members and other conservation partners who are
concerned to write their respective state senators, and ideally all state
senators, to express their views on the subject.  A list of all state
senators and their respective email addresses and phone numbers is provided
 A number of people have sent letters already to members of the committee,
but now other senators need to hear from folks-maybe with the exception of
Senator Larry Powell R-Garden City and Senator Ralph Ostmeyer R-Grinnel who
are the proponents of the resolution, and apparently not much interested in
other views. They are pushing a fast track for this resolution and even
want to have it sent it to other states to undermine the efforts of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service elsewhere.

Email letters and/or phone calls can be as simple as asking each senator to
vote "no" on SR 1711, or one can elaborate more fully on one's personal or
professional views.  As an example of the latter, AOK Trustee Evelyn
Davis's letter written earlier today is provided

Senator Marci Francisco was able to make a couple changes in committee to
try to improve the resolution (one of the amendments successfully removed
the WHEREAS that claimed the reintroduction was "expensive and
unsuccessful"), but the resolution is still a systemically horrible and
intentionally destructive instrument of propaganda.  Please see the
presented to the committee on Friday for
a list of some of the misinformation in the resolution that is still intact.

*Senate Resolution 1711 Threatens the Credibility of the State of Kansas.*

 [image: One of the first ferrets returned to Kansas, December 17, 2007 on
the Barnhardt property]<>
of the first ferrets returned to Kansas, December 17, 2007 on the Barnhardt
property Although the anti-wildlife conservation resolution--promoted by
the Kansas Farm Bureau--is specific to the Black-footed Ferret
reintroduction project, the negative consequences for the credibility of
the State of Kansas are much greater.  If passed it would undermine the
arguments of Kansas agencies (especially the KDWP&T and the Kansas
Department of Agriculture) in their efforts to try to reassure the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (and other stakeholders) that the Lesser
Prairie-chicken will not need to be listed as a federally threatened
species because the state will implement management plans to provide and
improve sufficient habitat to recover the species from its downward
population spiral.

Along that same line of advocacy, a "Black-tailed Prairie Dog Conservation
& Management Plan" was developed in 2002 by the Kansas Department of
Wildlife and Parks, with the involvement of many stakeholders.  The idea
was to implement practices and policies that would convince the federal
government to not list the Black-tailed Prairie Dog as a threatened
species.  It helped make the case, but the State of Kansas has not lived up
to the commitments made or its obligations.

Interms of on-the-ground conservation objectives, the Kansas Conservation
Strategy articulated five population and colony complex objectives in that
document.  One was to *"Maintain one (prairie dog) complex greater than
5000 acres."*   The three ranch landowners who have property included in
Haverfield Ranch Complex are meeting that objective.  For the benefit of
the Kansas plan, and for the public interest in the plan, this property is
the ONLY property that comes close to achieving ANY of the state
conservation objectives-and it is also the most important Black-footed
Ferret reintroduction site in the state.

*Audubon of Kansas believes that we all owe those three landowners a debt
of gratitude for their commitment to these conservation initiatives.  *None
of the other objectives have been met by the State of Kansas, and it is
disappointing that state officials have not applauded the actions of these
landowners-and/or offered to do more to partner with them to enhance
prospects for all aspects of success.

Further, it is disappointing that the State Legislature has not repealed
the century-old antiquated eradication statutes which violate private
property rights and undermine conservation initiatives.  Those statutes are
being used by some county officials to push prairie dogs toward the status
of threatened in Kansas, along with several species which depend upon
prairie dogs and their burrows for prey and habitat. Most Kansans want to
do better.  (See website link and results of a survey below for more
specific details on the high levels of support for recovery of endangered

Kansas Residents' Opinions on Threatened and Endangered Wildlife and
Actions to Protect Wildlife by Responsive

*"An overwhelming majority of Kansas residents (91%) agree that the
Department should continue to identify and protect habitat critical to the
existence of threatened and endangered wildlife."

"A majority of landowners would strongly or moderately support the
reintroduction of a threatened and endangered wildlife species to its
historical range if that range was near or adjacent to the landowner's
property: 66% would support."*

The Kansas Farm Bureau has several lobbyists working their anti-wildlife
agenda at the state capitol.  Unfortunately they were able to get the
Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) to testify in favor of the
resolution with misinformation, and keep the Secretary of KDWP&T from
strongly supporting restoration of our state's wildlife heritage, as he
should have done.  (By the way KDA also opposed creation of the Tallgrass
Prairie National Preserve!).  And, Aaron Popelka, a lobbyist with the
Kansas Livestock Association is also promoting the resolution with

Separately, Aaron Popelka got a bill (H.B. 2362) introduced on Friday in
the Kansas House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and National
Resources designed to eviscerate the state Nongame, Threatened and
Endangered Species Act passed in the mid 1970s so that developers of
corporate-scale feedlots would not have to consider or mitigate damage to
state threatened and endangered species or their critical habitats. (On
that subject, we are urging members to write to members of that committee,
but hopefully there will be some time before a hearing is scheduled.)

It is tragic that state senators and representatives are being pushed, like
never before, by these special interests to undermine wildlife conservation
measures in Kansas.  They apparently want to replace the 20th Century gains
of conservationists accomplished between the 1930s and 1990s with actions
more akin to the market hunters who killed Bison, Eskimo Curlews and
Prairie Chickens without regard for the consequences.  They could better be
described as "extinctionists;" they were certainly not "conservationists."

The State's credibility is being totally undermined by a combination of
these entities, some elected officials and a couple politically appointed
agency administrators. *

Ron Klataske
Executive Director
Audubon of Kansas

                *Please Help With this and Other Important AOK Conservation

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keep Audubon of Kansas on the front lines undeterred by controversy or
the absence of other conservation organizations in the trenches, working
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strive to protect prairie landscapes and ecological values, pushing
agencies to change operational paradigms and go beyond their comfort
zones. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

To donate online, simply click
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Audubon of Kansas
210 Southwind Place
Manhattan, KS  66503

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*Greg Swick, Co-Director*
*Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE)*
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*I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in nature, which, if we
unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright*. ~Henry David Thoreau

*Greg Swick, Co-Director*
*Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE)*
*[log in to unmask]*

*I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in nature, which, if we
unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright*. ~Henry David Thoreau

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