Fort Robinson has Trotters, Tubers, Shooters, Crafters, and Quasiquicentennial Celebrators
Working in unison, “The Trotters” equestrian group spent the last weekend of June performing for guests on the parade ground. The group also performed at the Sunday night rodeo. The performance was a favorite event of park attendees as the horse and rider maneuver around each other by orchestrated commands and in specific patterns.
A good way to cool down during the hot summer weeks of July is tubing down the White River. The hot weather heightens the lure of the water for adults and children alike. Those who venture into the river experience a true relaxing and adventurous experience and return with many stories from the journey and broad smiles from the experience. Tubing is also a good planned outing where the family gets to do something together to pass the time outdoors away from all the gadgets and televisions, computer games and just general stress from day to day life.
Held in the old veterinary hospital, the Western and Wildlife Art Show was a big success. Artists from around the country displayed and sold their goods at the three day event. The first night of the sale was accompanied by a catered meal for the Artists and buyers. This year an estimated 200 attendees were served up a good, hearty meal. The BBQ served more than 130 guests before the down pour had everyone scrambling for the cover of the indoor areas.
Despite one of the coolest Independence Day celebrations on record, campers were not hampered by the weather. Three campgrounds were filled to capacity.
Fort Robinson Joins the Parade for Crawford’s Fourth of July Celebration
Fort Robinson was well represented in the local Crawford Fourth of July Parade celebrations. The stagecoach was not only a big hit in the parade but was also transported to the Chadron Quasiquicentennial Celebration which proved a bit of a production with the required loading and unloading for the trip to and from the Chadron venue.
A print “The End of the Drive,” by Sheila Orr, featuring some of the Fort Robinson Longhorn herd, is one of the images included in the 2010 calendar for the Chadron Quasiquicentennial Celebration. Some of the animals featured were from photos taken of the Fort Robinson herd.
Chadron Main Street Lined with Longhorn Onlookers
The longhorn cattle drive, which began at the edge of the City of Chadron, traveled down highway 385, turning down 10th street to the college then turning down Main Street, reproducing the cattle drive that took place more than a century ago.
The cattle had to travel through a residential area before arriving in the downtown area. The downtown street was cleared of vehicles and replaced by the the sounds of the longhorns’ hooves clacking on the pavement as they ambled through Chadron’s Main street with the lead cow dutifully following the outriders.
Named ‘Trail Boss’ for the event, Superintendent’s Mike Morava and Dave Hewitt led the cattle drive safely to the Fair Grounds, where they were transported by trailers back to the Fort.
With spurs to flanks, the Wyoming Rough Riders spent two days at Fort Robinson mounting up for several shooting demonstrations and competitions. The riders came from a wide span of the tri-state area to wow the crowd with their sharpshooting skills.
It takes skill, marksmanship and a good horse to ride up the middle of the arena, taking aim and shooting the strategically placed balloons without having your horse spook out from under you or your aim being jostled just enough to miss that target during the competition.
Breakfast Buggy the Best
One very popular attraction at Fort Robinson is the horse drawn breakfast ride. The rides have stayed so busy that many times two vehicles are used to transport the guests to and from the loading point. The Breakfast Buggy is a way for the guests to relax, take in the view, grab a quick breakfast and experience the old fashioned horse dawn mode of transportation with the clopping of hoofbeats on the path and smell of a Nebraska morning in the air. It definitely helps the park goers imagine what it was like traveling the hills and bluffs in eras long gone.
What’s News at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park?
As of July 18, income was up $100,818.65 over 2009. Generating $441,350.75 as of July 17. July 11 thru July 18 proved to be the biggest week the pool had experienced to date with 12,919 bathers in a week’s time.
Eugene T. Mahoney – Park Maintenance and Up Keep
Sand Volley ball construction- Work continued on the construction of a regulation Sand Volley ball court located on the east side of the Family Aquatic Center and next to the Livers Picnic Shelter.
42” Flat screen TV installation- Work in ongoing for relocating electrical outlets for the installation of more than 100 Flat screen TVs that will be installed in each cabin, lodge room and conference room
Installation of new wireless Internet infrastructure – Installation of new receiver and distribution towers for the wireless Internet in the park. The new tower was installed on the water tower, and soon, we will install several other new towers in other areas of the park to improve the quality of wireless Internet service in the park.
Construction of a retaining wall – Construction has begun on a retaining wall located on the north west corner of the Kountze Memorial Theater. The wall will help with erosion and reduce mower maintenance in the area.
Final Leg of the Special Olympic Event Finds Runners at
Mahoney and Arbor Lodge
The final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the National Special Olympics came to the front steps of the mansion at Arbor Lodge on July 16. More than 100 friends and family members welcomed the 20 runners, both athletes and law officers, as they reached the finish line up the brick drive to the entrance of the mansion. A brief ceremony was held to celebrate the accomplishments of the runners.
Eugene T. Mahoney SP was also involved in part of the Special Olympics USA National Games. The Flame of Hope entered Nebraska on the evening of July 11, and then traveled throughout the state for one week. The Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg Team held their finale picnic at the Open Air Pavilion at E.T. Mahoney State Park.
The Final Leg Team (110 members strong) was comprised of law enforcement runners, Special Olympics athletes and support team members. Law Enforcement Officers were from Torch Run Programs all over the United States. Nine Special Olympics athletes were also selected to be a part of the Final Leg Team.
E.T. Mahoney State Park was proud to have the team come out to the park as many of the team members had never visited Nebraska. Comments and compliments were received from numerous family members, support staff and teams members.
Niobrara State Park
Niobrara State Park had 5.5 inches of rain on July 21. We had flooding in the area, and water was running over the east end of the Railroad Bridge Trail, including one washout. There are lots of repairs that need to be completed. The road to the east end of the trail is closed at this time.
Bill and Jan Sixta, camp hosts, received an award for their quick response and adhering to Niobrara State Park’s emergency procedures in getting park staff and an ambulance to the scene when a young man began having seizures.
Swimming lessons started and the little tadpoles were really enjoying their swimming experience. Like all youngsters, these swimming students make the best of their summer time enjoying the water, making new friends and learning how to swim safely.
Niobrara SP Staff tore off the wooden shakes and shingled new wooden shakes on the Interpretive Shelter and cabins 6 and 13 were painted. Motacek Construction replaced windows in cabin 12 and the park office. They also put windows in cabin 10 to finish up the 309 project.
Calamus and Sherman Boat Ramps Hopping for the Holidays
July starts off with a bang in the district beginning with the Independence Day holiday. July is also the first full month of summer and the district’s two main reservoirs, Calamus and Sherman, see high visitation. Sunday’s boating traffic fills those two areas boat ramp parking lots to well past capacity on any given Sunday.
The Republic River proved a great location for some competitive volleyball matches. Keeping cool under pressure is easy when your feet are in the current of a slow moving, sandy bottomed Nebraska river bed.
Since the last report date of June 25, District 6 officers have checked 4,200 park permits and 530 boaters for required boater safety equipment. They have received 32 complaints from the public ranging from improper boating practices to illegal operations of motor vehicles on state property. As a result of these complaints and personal observation by the individual officers, 56 citations and 93 warnings were issued.
Rex Amack, director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, has been awarded the The Phillip W. Schneider Lifetime Achievement Award at the Summer 2010 meeting of the WAFWA held on July 19 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Based on recognition from peers, employees and partners, the Phillip W. Schneider Lifetime Achievement Award acknowledges individuals who have demonstrated stewardship and commitment to fish and wildlife conservation. Recipients of this award have fostered a vision for the future preservation, conservation and use of fish and wildlife and have demonstrated the ability to affect change toward that vision.
Amack’s contributions to conservation efforts in Nebraska and nationally have been considerable.
- Initiated the production of the NGPC’s nationally recognized outdoor magazine, “NebraskaLand.”
- Developed the “Know Nebraska Tours.”
- Compiled interactive outdoor education tools to encourage fishing, hunting and parkland experiences, which evolved into the creation of the state’s first award winning recreation television show, “Outdoor Nebraska.”
- Orchestrated the completion of “Platte River Park/Resort Complex” known as Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. ($30 million complex -constructed primarily through private funding)
- Created the “First of State” waterfowl stamp featuring Nebraska’s own federal waterfowl stamp artist, Neil Anderson, with all proceeds going to the preservation and restoration of Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin wetlands.
- Won Congressional support for the “Teaming With Wildlife” initiative, which helped the CARA legislation finally achieve a status of funding that continues today.
- Secured the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit -pursued for 15 years through to approval.
- Worked alongside current U.S. Senator Mike Johanns to effectively champion federal Farm Bill issues, which provide multiple benefits nationally for fish and wildlife conservation.
- Secured Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson’s support for Senator Reid’s 2005 legislative bill reaffirming states rights to regulate wildlife within their borders.
These efforts were well ahead of their time and examples of Amack’s ability to raise funds, secure legislation, think outside the box, and deliver effective ways of educating Nebraskans about conservation while motivating them to discover the benefits of life in the great outdoors.
Setting his sites on reorganizing the NGPC for the 21st century, Amack is overseeing the creation of a 20-year plan to Recruit, Develop and Retain (RDR plan) with the purpose of engaging youth and their families in the myriad of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Outdoor Education is but one of the items on the list of his legacy contributions after 44 years of service to Nebraska and our nation’s natural resources. Amack and the Commission also recieved the “Commission of the Year Award” during the annual meeting.
Special Recognition Award Goes to Zuerlein
Gene Zuerlein, assistant division administrator in charge of the Environmental Services Section, received a Special Recognition Award from WAFWA for his work on Nebraska’s rivers and streams. In addition to his contributions to instream flow efforts on Long Pine Creek, the Platte River, and now the Niobrara River, Gene represents the agency and sometimes the state on several committees aimed at restoring the Missouri River to a more natural condition. Because of his grant-writing abilities, the agency obtained property at Elk Point Bend on the Missouri River; N.P. Dodge Park in Omaha improved its marina; and the Nebraska Environmental Trust funded Niobrara River instream flow studies.
Amack Recieves the “Spirit of the Shack” Achievement Award
Awarded by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the “Spirit of the Shack” Achievement Award is given to an individual who has contributed to conservation in a superior way. The recipient of this award is an individual who epitomizes stewardship and dedication to fish and wildlife conservation and exemplifies the ideals of the great conservationist and educator, Aldo Leopold the father of wildlife management. Kirk Nelson accepted the ”Spirit of the Shack” plaque on Amack’s behalf in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 28.
More information and historical documentation on Aldo Leopold’s “Shack” is an interesting read and can be found at these resources:
- Wiki Article on Aldo Leopold’s Shack and Farm
- Great Selection of Images of the Location Surrounding and the Inside of the Shack
- Aldo Leopold Project – Pheasants Forever
Merit Award Received by Wildlife Division Staffers
Division staff members Lucas Negas and Scott Wessel were presented with the 2010 Merit Award from the Nebraska Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Negas and Wessel shared the award with Bekah Jessen, the Coordinating Wildlife Biologist stationed in Royal, for their collective work improving public and private land management practices in northeast Nebraska.
Remembering Officer Wiebe
In late July, a small memorial service was held in Brown County to pay tribute to the late Conservation Officer Eric Wiebe. Officer Wiebe had been a Conservation Officer with the Commission from December 1987 to November 2009. Officer Wiebe was stationed in the Ponca area and covered Dixon, Dakota and Thurston Counties. Family and friends along with an Honor Guard from the Law Enforcement Division gathered along Pine Creek in Brown County where a service was held and the ashes of Officer Wiebe were scattered. Officer Wiebe was an exceptional officer and he will be missed by everyone.
Habitat Tour Conducted
On June 30, a habitat tour was conducted in the Southwest Nebraska Focus area for 39 landowners and resource professionals to kick off the new habitat initiatives as part of the statewide Focus on Pheasants program. Additional tours were conducted on July 14 in Johnson County, attracting 21 participants, and on July 22 in Franklin County, attracting 23 USDA staff from six counties. The tours highlight habitat improvements and the benefits they provide for upland game, as well as mid-contract management activities necessary on mature CRP lands. Participants were also informed about the upcoming general CRP sign-up and how to maximize wildlife benefits of the program.
Simplifying Fisheries Regulations
Changes in the Fisheries regulations for 2011 began this year by considering proposals to simplify fishing regulations. The Fisheries Division compared Nebraska’s regulations to those of surrounding states and attempted to make changes that would:
- Eliminate special regulations that are either archaic or have not produced significantly better fishing than statewide regulations or other special regulations.
- Reduce or eliminate special regulations by creating statewide regulations that strike a balance (compromise) between production of quality fish populations and increased harvest.
- Standardize regulations across lakes within areas containing multiple lakes.
- Standardize regulations on fish species novice bank anglers are most likely to catch (largemouth bass, panfish, catfish, and trout). Regulations pertaining to fish species more likely to be sought by avid anglers, usually fishing from boats (e.g., walleye, wiper), were not the emphasis.
In addition to letters being sent to individuals, groups and organizations, proposed changes were also published on the agency Web site and email comments were solicited. A total of 84 emails were received, including two from fishing organizations (supportive). Only one of the proposals (an attempt to “civilize” fishing at night along the dam at Lake McConaughy during the walleye spawn) had fewer comments in support (1) than opposed (7). Most emails contained suggestions about other existing regulations or Game and Parks operations not related to Fisheries regulations. A total of 23 comments were received supporting all of the proposals, with one not supporting any of the proposals. The Board of Commissioners will consider the proposals at the August Commission meeting in Ogallala.
Wildlife Reports Recent Flooding Damages Considerable
Recent flooding resulted in substantial damage to the Gracie Creek Pond at the Calamus Reservoir Wildlife Management Area in Loup County. Flood waters washed out a portion of Highway 96, as shown in the accompanying photo, which served as a dam structure for the pond. The embankment and water control structures were not only damaged, but the pond also filled in with silt, which was deposited by the flood waters. Estimates to rebuild the water control structure and remove the silt are more than $300,000. Funding assistance will be sought from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
USDA Announces a General CRP Sign-up
In late July, USDA announced a general CRP signup from August 2-27, 2010. Nationally, USDA is looking to enroll more than 5 million acres. Because the last general signup was in 2006 and more than 8 million acres of recently expired (last fall) and expiring (this fall) CRP are eligible to be offered, this is expected to be a very competitive signup. Partners Section staff are working with state and county FSA offices to help landowners increase their chances of getting enrolled. Earlier in July, USDA announced the new Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Improvement Program and a request for proposals from states and tribes (due August 23) for $17 million to provide additional public access to privately owned lands.
Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program $3.25 million USDA Grant Awarded
A significant Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) grant was awarded to the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture this month. This $3.25 million USDA grant was one of only five awarded nationwide, and Commission staff were integral in writing the successful proposal. This WREP option allows center pivot irrigation systems to cross restored wetlands as a “reserved right” to this easement program. With 70 percent of the historic Rainwater Basin wetlands intersected by pivots, this program will be critical to meeting Joint Venture habitat objectives.
Participants Provide Valuable Feedback on Nebraska Natural Legacy Project
Revision of the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project continued in earnest. Public input meetings and conservation practitioner workshops, each held in 10 towns across the state, were completed this month. More than 200 participants provided feedback on the project. Also, wildlife experts from across the state were assembled in a series of meetings to revise the lists of Tier I and II at-risk species. The final updated version of the Legacy Plan is due in late 2010.
Project Completed in Pine Glen WMA in Brown County
A forestry management project was recently completed on Pine Glen Wildlife Management Area in Brown County. The purpose of this project was to remove heavy stands of eastern red cedar and ponderosa pine that have invaded this area. Removal of these invaders will reduce the threat of crown fires in the forest stand and will promote diversity of other desirable plant species. Tree removal was designed to allow establishment of firebreaks for future prescribed burning on the area. Prescribed burning is a useful tool in controlling invading trees and brush and in promoting a diversity of plant species. The Game and Parks partnered with the Nebraska Forest Service to plan, design and fund this project. Additional forest management will take place on this area in the fall of 2010.
Wandering Fawn Ends Up In Window Well
Conservation Officer Jeff Jones was instrumental in helping rescue a fawn deer that lost its way and fell into a window well. Rescues like this are not uncommon for conservation officers. They range from the “abandoned” fawn deer to the wayward clutch of wood duck ducklings “rescued” by the well meaning but misguided citizen.
Disturbing Dumping of Deer
Conservation Officer Dudley Sorensen assisted with an investigation of a mountain lion sighting near Wellfleet, Neb. He placed a trail camera out in the area of the suspected sighting but was unable to get any documentation of a mountain lion on the camera and was not able to determine if a lion was actually in the area. Another report between Hershey and Sutherland of a deer killed by a lion is being investigated.
Katie Stacey processes an application for an archery/muzzleloader deer hunter to enter a drawing for access to the Gifford Point Wildlife Management Area on the edge of Bellevue, Neb. To date, the office has processed more than 150 Gifford applications.
Projects and Activities for Park Landscape Services
Forest management continues at Chadron SP and began at Wildcat Hills SRA and Smith Falls SP. Recently, staff of the Parks Division have tapped into cost share grants from the U.S. Forest Service, administered by the Nebraska Forest Service, to perform forest fuel treatment thinning projects at three park areas to help prevent wildfires. Park Managers anticipate thinning of park woodlands will also help with sustainability, since thinning of over stocked woodlands is the best defense against disease and invasive insects.
Our outdoor season is well underway with staff working on several major projects:
- Landscape maintenance around the Game and Parks Headquarters in Lincoln
- Continued maintenance of nursery stock at Landscape Nursery at Branched Oak SRA.
- Contractual thinning project completed on 12 acres near Wildcat Hills SRA, Visitor Center. Project inspected and payment initiated for contractor.
- Contractual thinning project at Smith Falls SP underway, which began July 19. Planning and development of educational exhibits to interpret the project also underway. First thinning project approximately 50 percent complete. Worked with contractor to provide orientation and supervision as project began. Established permanent photo points for future documentation of Forest Enhancement Project.
- Developed first quarterly report of progress as required by the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the Smith Falls Forest Enhancement Project.
- Hazard tree management performed at Two Rivers SRA and Louisville SRA to trim or remove trees damaged by recent flood events
- Work begun on landscaping the newly constructed mini-lodges at Ponca SP: finish grading, seeding and installation of erosion control blankets.
- Inspected damage to trees at Bridgeport SRA after tornado struck at the end of June. Provided recommendations to Superintendent McKeehan and Roger Kuhn on how to handle hazardous trees.
A 13 acre contractual thinning project was completed adjacent to the Wildcat Hills SRA Vistor Center. Before and after thinning of ponderosa pine forest around the Wildcat Hills SRA Visitor Center can be viewed in the photos below.
On July 19, a 17 acre contractual thinning project began at Smith Falls SP and will be completed in August of 2010.
Bighorn Herd Being Monitored
The bighorn lambing season is concluding, and we are monitoring survival of 81 of this year’s offspring. Although lamb mortality was low through the end of June, some potential signs of pneumonia began appearing in July in at least one herd. Given last year’s heavy lamb losses, disease problems in 2010 could significantly delay herd recovery.
The Nebraska Chapter of the Safari Club International donated $10,000 to the Game and Parks’ Bighorn Sheep Program.
If You Missed the Least Tern Web Cam – Check Back Next Year
This year for the first time, a nest camera was placed on an Interior Least Tern nest near the Loup River in Nebraska. The solar-powered camera gave us a bird’s eye view into the lives of two endangered Least Terns following their instincts to nest, incubate and raise young. This project was made possible because of support from the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Onlookers watched from the convenience of their personal computers as three chicks, affectionately named Winkin, Blinkin and Nod, hatched successfully and fledged the nest. The partners plan to have the nest camera up and running next year as well. (photo courtesy of Courtney McCusker)
Wildlife Monitoring, Reporting and Relocation
- Canada goose banding and relocation activities in eastern Nebraska concluded in July. Approximately 1,300 geese were banded, and an additional 450 birds banded in previous years were recaptured. Finally, an estimated 300 goslings were removed from the Lincoln and Omaha areas and relocated to western Nebraska, bringing the total geese captured in 2010 to more than 2,000. Recaptures and hunter recovery of bands will help us determine goose movements, harvest rates and the effectiveness of early hunting seasons.
- A considerable amount of time was spent preparing staff recommendations for the July Commission meeting, particularly with regard to waterfowl hunting season. Kirk Nelson and Mark Vrtiska attended the Central Flyway Committee and Waterfowl Technical Committee meetings, respectively, in preparation for our season-setting process.
Focus on Pheasants Project
A variety of work on the southwest Focus on Pheasants project continued this month. With pheasant crow counts and northern bobwhite whistle counts completed, the only survey work left to complete is the August Roadside surveys which will be done between August 1 and August 15. We are starting to work on enrolling acres in the program, and there are landowners with interests in multiple practices. We could possibly have 650 to 1,000 acres enrolled soon, with some “conventional harvest” stubble ranging from 15 to 17 inches in height and some “stripper-head harvest” stubble ranging from 20 to 22 inches. We also have some interest in the milo stubble incentive and rangeland work. We will be adding access acres, with some new CREP and CRP acres being added, along with some access opportunities looking likely on wheat stubble, milo stubble, rangeland, and other “odd pocket” areas.
Fisheries Research Section meeting
Fisheries Division’s Research Section held its first ever section meeting July 20-21 in O’Neill. During the first day, Steve Schainost, Keith Koupal and Keith Hurley of the Research Section and Gerald Mestl (Environmental Services Section) made presentations on their activities. In addition, fisheries professors conducting research for the Game and Parks Commission (Mark Pegg, UNL; Kevin Pope, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Casey Schoenebeck, UNK; and Dave Willis, South Dakota State University) discussed their research projects.
On the second day, all those in attendance explained and discussed their top five candidate research projects for the future. Fisheries administration will determine which of the best projects we can do ourselves and which ones we will need to contract.
The Rain, the Rivers and the Reunion
The second annual Game and Parks “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” kayak workshop got off to a stormy start. Pouring rain and wild water in the rivers might have caused some rescheduling but didn’t deter the womens’ resolve to ride the river. On the first morning the group was to have kayaked in the Niobrara River but because of the heavy rainfall they decided to travel to Ashfall Historical Park for an educational and entertaining layover as they waited for the weather to cooperate.
The 25 women from Kansas, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, and Nebraska had signed up for the two day event. The next morning staff from the Niobrara SP dropped the participants off at Sunshine Bottoms where they boated on the Missouri River to Lazy River Acres, about a six hour trip. The kayakers got a refresher course before launching their kayaks from NGPC boating instructor Herb Angell.
During their event, in addition to the fabulous imagery of Nebraska storm clouds building on the horizon, the women also enjoyed the beauty of the bluffs, the tranquility of floating on the river, five eagle sightings, a fawn, and the camaraderie of other women in the outdoors.
Participants all agreed that the location was ideal for this type of workshop. There are two different rivers to access, both very different types of river experiences. The Niobrara has sandbars and people can get out and play in the river on their way to the Missouri, which offers a great flow, faster float, but few sandbars along the way.
The residents of Niobrara went out of their way to make the kayakers feel welcome. Mark Rettig opened up his home to some of the campers after the storm. The women indicated that the landowners in the area were fantastic; cooperating by letting them gain easy access to the rivers. Sharla Hanzlik from Niobrara contributed her knowledge of the area’s history and some quick tips on finding fossils. Jeff Barta and Herb Angell provided lots of support for the women during the workshop as well.
Tom Brunz – Recognized for 30 Years Teaching Hunter Education
Officer Dudley Sorensen was pleased to assist Education Coordinator Mike Streeter in presenting Tom Brunz his award for teaching Hunter Education in the North Platte and Sutherland area for 30 years.
More than 3,000 Experienced the Naturalist Programs
Eugene T. Mahoney SP’s Naturalist Program has had more than 3,657 visitors attend the programs from May 23 – July 24. The program has distributed 66 junior naturalist badges. To qualify, junior naturalists must attend five naturalist programs and perform a park service project to complete their requirements.
Homemade Scat a Hit
with the Kids!
Jo Momsen conducting a Project Wild presentation with scat (made from chocolate) and foot prints for children 5 – 12 years-old at the Little Dragons Daycare/Summer School in Gretna, Neb.
Officers Provide Training and Public Relations
Conservation Officers Jon Reeves and Jeff Clauson gave boating law instruction to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
RDR efforts are ongoing within district 6 through 12 months of the year. Thirty one programs were offered during the first four weeks of the month in the district. These ranged from talks to youngsters about general wildlife topics to giving out bobbers to individual youngsters on a fishing outing with their parents.
“Nebraska’s At-risk Wildlife Guide” Available
“Nebraska’s At-risk Wildlife,” a pocket field guide detailing the state’s rare and declining species, was completed this month. Copies are now available for distribution to the public and natural resource professionals.
New Interactive Web site to Launch in September
The Nebraska Bird Library is nearing completion. This interactive Web site features species accounts for the 438 birds, which can be found in Nebraska including images, range maps and sounds. The Web site will “go live” on September 1, 2010.
The 11 women who participated in the BOW event received instruction in archery, kayaking, GPS, and fishing activities.
AFWA Conservation Education Strategy
A meeting was held in Omaha bridging the gap between state fish and wildlife agencies and formal physical education and agricultural education professionals. The meeting was held to develop strategies that will institutionalize outdoor skills programming in our schools physical education and agricultural education classes. The effort is part of the Outdoor Skills Committee of the Conservation Education Strategy team. The NGPC Outdoor Education team will continue to lead this effort.
UNL Cooperative Extension
NGPC Outdoor Education assisted with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Shooting Lab helping Dr. Hygnstrom teach safe and effective shooting skills to wildlife professionals. Wildlife professionals from across the country attended this workshop.
On July 13, the Ainsworth and Bassett public libraries teamed up with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for the finale of their summer reading programs at Keller Park SRA.
The theme of the reading program was “Make a Splash – Read!” The kids from each library kept track of their time reading about anything water including fishing and weather. The program’s finale day was a trip to Keller Park for fishing.
Bekah Jessen, wildlife biologist with the Northern Prairies Land Trust, put on the Project Wet and Project Wild Aquatic programs. She took the kids on a nature walk and talked about aquatic habitat and riparian areas. Jessen used nets to capture snails and insects from the water. The kids liked touching and learning about them. Jessen also took the kids for a walk into the trees and showed them plant life with names like toilet paper (Mullen Plant) and snot weed (Spider Wort).
After the presentation by Jessen, the kids tried their fishing skills learning to bait and cast their fishing rods. The day was quite warm and only one fish was caught. The morning ended with a meal of barbecued hot dogs, chips, baked beans, vegetables, fruits, and rice crispy bars. There were 18 kids and 16 adults that volunteered their time for this endeavor.
Three hours and 23 Benches Later…
Grant to fund fishing equipment for the needy
Larry Pape recently applied for and received a $2,389.20 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase 260 fishing kits (containing a rod and reel, stringer, hooks, sinkers, jigs, and bobbers) that will be given away to children who attend Family Fishing Night events, demonstrate a genuine interest in fishing, and whose family may be financially limited. While not a huge grant, Larry is excited and anxious to see huge smiles on 260 young faces.
Law Enforcement – Boating Incidents and Accidents
The July 4 weekend began with a boating accident in the Gavins Point Tailwaters. Two boats collided with one boat going over the top of another. One child was badly injured and was life-flighted to Sioux Falls. The driver of one of the boats was issued a citation for negligent operation of a motor boat. No one else was injured in the accident.
Also on July 4, an individual jumped from the Yankton bridge on Highway 81. No one had seen the individual come out of the river, so a search was conducted by Conservation Officers from Nebraska and South Dakota. The did make it out of the river and turned himself into the Yankton Police Department several days later.
During the month of July, another individual jumped from a bridge on the Elkhorn River. Officers Zimmer, Krause and Williams all assisted the Nebraska State Patrol and Norfolk Fire and Rescue in searching for the individual. Two days after the individual went into the river, a body was recovered. The incident was ruled a swimming accident.
July was not without its tragedy in District 6. A local fisherman from the Thedford area fell from his boat while fishing and drowned. His body was recovered within 24 hours at the entrance to Buckshot Bay at the Calamus Reservoir by the Burwell volunteer dive team and District 6 officers.
Officer Dierking, Krause, and Jones attended the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers annual meeting and training in Pennsylvania with more than 200 officers from the United States and Canada.
Officers Attend Training Sessions
District 6 Officers Gress and Jones attended a three day Tactical Tracking School in Lincoln in late July. District 3 Conservation Officers attended several different types of training during the month. Officer George attended motorcycle operation school; Officers Krause and Davis attended tracking school.
Law Enforcement Activities:
July is always a busy month. Water recreation and camping go into full swing. All of the State Recreation Areas in the districts have been very busy with boating, fishing and water sports. The July 4th weekend was no exception. Camping was brisk at Johnson Lake. Most of the other Recreation Areas were not as active with camping as usual but heavy with boating and water recreation. Fishing success was good on most lakes with some over bag cases made by officers.
On July 3, officers ran a special detail on Johnson Lake using patrol boats to patrol the Johnson Lake fireworks. This has been done for several years and safety has been greatly improved. Another boating detail called “Floatation Rotation” was run by Officers Dierking and Sorensen along with Boating Officer Eveland on July 22-25. This detail was set up to work boating safety and inspections on several of our southwest lakes including Swanson, Enders, Medicine Creek, Jeffery and Johnson. The detail was very successful with officers checking nearly 300 boats, five fishermen and 50 miscellaneous contacts. Several boat safety and issues were addressed. Quite a few fish were inspected including crappie, white bass and catfish.
New faces in Fisheries
Three vacancies in the Fisheries Management Section were filled recently, one in District 1 and two in District 5.
W. Drew Lane, who received his Master’s Degree from Oklahoma State University, was selected for the Alliance position, while the vacancies in District 5 were filled by Tony Barada and Jordan Katt. Tony had previously worked on the Missouri River research crew. He received his Master’s Degree from UNL and was coordinating the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit’s angler creel survey project, being conducted for the agency. Jordan served as a temporary employee for the Game and Parks from 2003 through 2007. From 2007 to 2009, he worked as a graduate assistant and earned his Master’s Degree at UNK.
Another New Hire
Caleb Morgenson, Park Supt III-Two Rivers SRA, 7-19-10
Budget and Fiscal’s Kumpula Gets Manager of the Year
Jolene Kumpula, Buyer III in Budget and Fiscal was selected as the Manager of the Year. She began her career with the agency 38 years ago (as a mere infant). Her experience from positions held in Engineering, Budget and Fiscal and Wildlife divisions over the years has proved invaluable in her role as the agency’s top buyer. While she concentrates on service contracts she also supervises the commodity side. Not one to back down from a challenge, Jolene has helped the agency through many difficult purchasing processes. Her goal is to get the divisions what they need within the sideboards put in place by Statutes and regulation. She maintains good working relationships with State Material Division staff while presenting our side of the equation. Jolene’s knowledge of state and agency procurement policies and procedures and her ability to work with individuals and groups to meet a common goal has made her a part of many agency successes. We’re glad to see her recognized for her many accomplishments.
Steve Satra, a Fish and Wildlife Program Specialist with the Game and Parks, was selected as the agency’s Employee of the Year. Steve coordinates our motorboat and angler access projects, makes sure new reservoirs contain fish and angler “friendly” features, and keeps consultants and contractors involved with our Aquatic Habitat projects on their toes.
SERVICE AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Aaron Krause, Fisheries, 8-1-10
Graham West, Parks, 8-19-10
Gary Liesemeyer, Operations, 8-1-10
Daniel Kumm, Operations, 8-1-10
Steven Riley, Division Asst. Admin, Wildlife, 7-2-10
Kent Zaiger, Landscape Architect, Parks, 7-31-10
Scott McCreath, Accounting Clerk I, Budget & Fiscal, 7-12-10
Emily Munter, G&P Wildlife District Manager, Resign 8-13-10
Carol Boot, Laundry Supv, E.T. Mahoney State Park, Resigned 7-5-10
William Christensen, Park Supt. I – Enders SRA, 8-22-10
Wondering Who is Getting One Year Older in August?
Stop by and wish these employees a Happy Birthday.
CHAD TAYLOR -8/1
DAVID TUNINK -8/2
GARY WILLIAMS -8/2
STEVEN BREY -8/2
JEFFREY JACKSON -8 /2
DONNA WALLER -8/3
JON HIGGINS -8/3
RUSS WILKIE -8/4
DEAN STUDNICKA -8/7
DONALD LANNING – 8/8
DEBRA DOUT -8/8
ROBERT HUGHES -8/8
AL HASTINGS -8/9
RODNEY LOOS -8/9
AARON KRAUSE -8/9
JON FARRAR -8/10
KRISTI STRIZEK – 8/11
GREGORY WAGNER -8/11
LINDSAY ROGERS -8/11
PATRICK GEORGE -8/12
WAYNE BRANDT -8/13
KAREN BECKER -8/14
MARK PINKERTON -8/15
BRETT BRUNKEN -8/16
NEAL VANWINKLE -8/17
STEPHEN WILHELM -8/17
MATTHEW STEFFL -8/17
E. DEAN ROSENTHAL – 8/18
RICH M. ROUTH – 8/20
TOM DEGROFF – 8/21
GERALD MESTL- 8/21
MARK PORATH – 8/21
CORY KRAUSE -8/22
SUZANNE RIDDER -8/23
JENNIFER WOLFF – 8/24
WILLIAM GARVEY JR. – 8/24
SEAN MCKEEHAN – 8/26
ROBERT BLAISE – 8/27
PATTY WITHROW – 8 /27
THOMAS ZIMMER – 8/30
PAMELA BUHRMANN – 8/30
LIZBETH BOSLER – 8/31
RYAN L. RUSKAMP – 8/31
Do you have something you would like to share with other NGPC Staff? Send your recipes, tips and tricks, funny stories, kudos and invites to the News staff and we will post it here to share with everyone.
Did You Know?
— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers transferred management authority on 31.46 acres of land on Hamburg Bend to Game and Parks. The narrow strip of land lies on the riverward side of a federal levee and will become part of Hamburg Bend Wildlife Management Area.
— Leo Benes of Firth won the Nebraska Super Tag lottery. His name was drawn by Gov. Dave Heineman. The permit is valid for one elk, one antelope, one deer, and two turkeys. There were 1,714 applications.
JUST TRY IT – Recipes
Kit Ham’s recipe for Pulled Pork:
Boston butt roast is preferred.
Trim off fat.
Use a dry rub over outside.
A mix of: Garlic salt, Seasoned Salt, Black pepper, Chili powder, Red pepper flakes, and sometimes brown sugar is what I prefer. You can really use anything you like.
Sear meat on all sides in oven (400 degrees), frying pan or on grill.
Wrap meat in double layer of heavy foil.
Place in oven or on grill at 300-325 degrees for about 3-3-1/2 hours.
Use an oven thermometer in a grill
When temperature hits 185 – 190 degrees it is done.
The bone should pull out easily, and the meat should shred with a fork.
Nice thing about this meat is it is difficult to overcook or dry out.
Serve as is or on a sandwich with or without BBQ sauce.
Mark Your Calendars
Applejack Fine Art Show
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is getting prepared for the annual AppleJack Fine Art Show. The event is scheduled for September 18 -19. Billed as a celebration of fine art, the Applejack Fine Art Show will feature artists from Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and South Dakota who have recieved a special invitation based on their accomplishments on a state or national level.