Date: 4/27/18 5:28 pm
From: Douglas Kibbe <mackenziegoldthwait...>
Subject: [cobirds] Re: Weld County Birding and Pawnee District Ranger Visit
Thanks for your summary of the Pawnee District Ranger talk. It was
enlightening and a bit frightening.

Good Birding

On Monday, April 23, 2018 at 10:13:15 AM UTC-6, The "Nunn Guy" wrote:
> Hi all
> Birded all around Weld yesterday ... saw 79 species with the following new
> spring birds:
> - Lark Bunting [Weld CR 96]
> - Ruddy Duck [Loloff Reservoir]
> - Swainson's Hawk [Beebe Draw]
> - Semipalmated Sandpiper [Weld CR 59] --Both Loloff, Weld CR 59
> probably had total of 20+ peeps collectively
> - Least Sandpiper [Weld CR 59]
> - Loloff had peeps as well heatwaves
> - Wilson's Phalarope [Loloff Reservoir and Weld CR 59]
> - Burrowing Owl-2 [Weld CR 59 south of marsh on west to south of
> flooded field corner alongside road]
> - Barn Swallow
> - Savannah Sparrow-2 [Weld CR 59]
> - Vesper Sparrows
> - Chipping Sparrow - few
> - Brown-headed Cowbird
> Here's the gist on my Pawnee District Ranger visit:
> - First, he was nice guy to talk with and open to hearing concerns and
> solutions but he is based in reality in terms of his annual program of
> work, limited budget and lack of human resources to perform the work
> - Office currently has only ~50% of staff (looks like 10 positions in
> total)--two Archeologists, a temporary biologist, and a Recreation
> Specialist (retires next month). Reality here is USDA is "guinea pig" for
> Administrative streamlining efforts. Hiring to fill needed vacancies has
> greatly reduced in terms of process and approvals
> - Budget is extremely tight and diminishes each fiscal
> year--stabilization not expected in next few Fiscal years
> - Multiple use of the resource is a balance--I heard "squeaky wheel"
> usually gets attention
> - Recreational shooting is exploding (no pun intended) in growth--they
> hear from rec shooters way-y-y-y more than birders
> - Constituency (Rec shooting) pressure from State, County and
> Recreational Shooting groups for access to these public lands
> - Talked of removing Pawnee Bird Tour signs due to $$$ cost of
> maintaining (replacing) due to vandalism and theft of displays
> - Talked of getting with birders on changing and designing a 21st
> century birding tour, identifying birding locales around the Pawnee and
> using RF, GPS, mobile tech as a "virtual birding tour"--already being
> studied. In both east and west sections (north to south, too).
> - Most shooting occurs in the SE section (lower half) of the PNG west
> section (ie, Weld CR 96)--he mentions
> - District Ranger came from an oil and gas background in Oklahoma
> - The recent oil and gas development decision (2012ish) prevents
> drilling surface of PNG for new permits after 2014
> - A drill will be drilled on south side of Murphy's Pasture
> soon--legacy permit (older than 2014). There are two more legacy permits
> planned on PNG I heard mentioned
> - In the PNG vicinity--third of all rights in private hands (surface
> and mineral holder same), third in mixed hands (surface owner different
> than mineral holder), third Federal govt hands
> - Grassland habitat and grassland birds are of great conservation
> concern not sure I heard that expressed during our conversation
> Thanks Gary Lefko, Nunn

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