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Kansas officials oppose Nebraska river plan

Mankato Chamber discusses community garden, Halloween

 

Kansas officials oppose Nebraska river plan
To meet Nebraska's legal obligation to increase the flow of the Republican River into Kansas, the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District has proposed creating a connection in Nebraska between the Platte River Basin and the Republican River Basin. After entering northcentral Kansas, the Republican River feeds into Lovewell Reservoir and Milford Reservoir before joining the Kansas River near Junction City. The Republican River also connects with several other waterways in northcentral Kansas.
The State of Kansas opposes this project because invasive Asian carp and white perch in the Platte River could enter the Republican River (along with other nuisance species) if the two rivers are connected. As a result, the project could severely impact Kansas' sportfish and native aquatic species, water-based recreation, tourism and the state's fishing economy. There is no evidence those two species currently live in the Republican River.
Asian carp can grow to more than 40 inches long and weigh more than 50 pounds. One Asian carp species, the silver carp, is known to leap up to 10 feet in the air when boats or personal watercraft pass over. They pose a risk of serious injury to boaters and skiers who may find themselves surrounded by dozens of large, heavy fish leaping wildly from the water. Asian carp and white perch also compete with sportfish, so Kansas' $210 million recreational fishing industry would be at risk from declines of sportfish such as bass, crappie and walleye. Asian carp are filter-feeders that compete with other fish for food and space. They are prolific breeders, grow fast and can quickly become the predominate fish species in a lake or river. In other states, some lakes with Asian carp have experienced sportfish population declines of more than 80 percent with corresponding damage to their fishing and tourism economies.
White perch are native to the east coast of the United States, and they can produce overpopulated, stunted populations in reservoirs. Stunted white perch are too small to be sought after by anglers and can be so numerous that they can clog cities' water intakes if there is a die-off. In addition, these fish eagerly eat the eggs of other fish species.
Changes to the Republican River could also impact critical habitat for the shoal chub and plains minnow which are threatened species in Kansas. Both species release their eggs into flowing water where they would be susceptible to being eaten by white perch.
More information specifically about Asian carp, white perch and other harmful species can be found at ProtectKSwaters.org. Or, contact Chris Steffen, KDWPT aquatic nuisance species coordinator.

Mankato Chamber discusses community garden, Halloween
The monthly meeting of the Mankato Chamber of Commerce was held last Wednesday with 10 members. 
President Jason Ortman called the meeting to order. Monica Walker read the minutes of the June meeting. Sarah Reiter gave the treasurer's report. The minutes and treasurer's report were approved as read.
Sara Reiter gave a report on the Fun Run. Numbers of participants were up from last year. 
The Jewell County extension office will be contacted about some problems at the Community Garden this year. The garden is winding down. Brussels sprouts, green beans, cantaloupe and tomatoes are being harvested from the donation plots.
The chamber will be hosting a Highway 36 Garage Sale Mall once again. Dates will be Sept. 13-15. There was a discussion about redoing the signs that are put on the highway. Jason will look into options for this.
New pictures will be added to the website of Hometown Spirits and the Travel Inn Lodge (Dreamliner).
Matthew Kueker will be taking over the dentist office in Mankato. He is from Concordia and will see patients Fridays. There will be a ribbon cutting for him in the next few weeks.
The high school will be contacted about doing senior recognition again. Emma and Monica will work on it.
Downtown Trick or Treat will take place Oct. 31. There will be a backup plan in case of bad weather. There will be a pumpkin decorating contest again this year.
The chamber will donate $30 in Chamber Bucks to the Ute Theatre benefit.
Emma Menhusen talked to the group about attending the Dane Hansen workshop on Strategic Doing today (Thursday). James Berry made a motion to give Emma $50 to attend the meeting. Kenny Walker seconded the motion. Motion was carried.