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A Chance to Support Native Aquatic Vegetation

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

We are sharing (with his ok) a recent message from Ned Kehde to his Finesse Fishing News Network (FNN) last week:

Dear FNN members in northeastern Kansas:

As we were working this afternoon on putting the finishing touches on the January 2023 guide to Midwest finesse fishing, in which we were writing about the virtues of fishing around and across shallow-water patches of submerged aquatic vegetation during the heart of winter, we received an email from Nick Kramer.

He is the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks’ Northeast Kansas Regional Habitat Coordinator and Perry District Fisheries Biologist. His email focused on his noble and important quest for cultivating aquatic vegetation in the community, federal, and state reservoirs in northeastern Kansas. For many years, a goodly number of members of the Finesse News Network in northeastern Kansas have been hoping that our reservoir managers and fisheries biologists would begin to manually cultivate and maintain aquatic vegetation in our reservoirs.

Posted below is a copy of his email. We are hoping northeastern Kansas FNN members will write and send letters to Nick Kramer, telling him that you support this grand, wise, and delightful project. Perhaps some of us can volunteer to help him in this wonderful and much-needed endeavor.

Many thanks and best wishes,

-Ned Kehde


The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is preparing to submit a grant application through Friends of Reservoirs and the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership to construct a greenhouse structure at Perry Reservoir for the propagation, rearing, and eventual transplant of native aquatic vegetation throughout Northeast Kansas. The initial destination for these transplants will be Banner Creek Reservoir, located in Holton, Kansas but in subsequent years, any federal, state, and community owned impoundment open to public fishing could receive transplants. The aquatic plants that this greenhouse produces will provide benefits to those who enjoy our area lakes on a variety of levels:

  • The sediment stability brought on by increased desirable aquatic vegetation will ensure the longevity of our Kansas impoundments by slowing lakeshore and shallow area erosion.

  • The uptake of nutrients by aquatic plants will limit the unsightly, difficult to fish, and potentially hazardous algal blooms (both filamentous green algae and blue-green cyanobacteria).

  • Establishment of native aquatic vegetation prevents the spread and colonization of less desirable, non-native plants.

  • Most native aquatic plants are more easily fishable than the dense pockets of non-native plants.

  • The increased vegetation brought on by this project will provide a plethora of nursery habitat for larval and juvenile fish to utilize during early growth stages.

  • This habitat will also be beneficial for aquatic insects which in turn will provide prey to early and adult life stages of fish.

In preparation of submitting the grant application we are seeking letters of support to accompany our proposal. We would be very appreciative if you would provide a letter supporting this proposal by February 14, 2023. In your letter, feel free to note your concerns over any of the issues listed above but also think of examples of lakes where the benefits can already be observed. Simply having your support will strengthen our proposal but if you would also be willing to support the project by pledging to donate materials or labor associated with the construction of the greenhouse, rearing of plants, or transplanting the plants we would be very appreciative. The materials include nursery pots and trays for raising the plants, a variety of items associated with plumbing the greenhouse structure, and materials associated with concrete and electrical work. I have attached a list of opportunities for donating time and can provide a more detailed list of materials if interested.

Your donation would also greatly increase our chances of being awarded the grant. The estimated cost of the entire project is nearly $85,000, of which the grant will cover half. The remaining $42,500 must come from KDWP or in-kind donation of labor, materials, or equipment so long as there is no federal tie to those funds. By donating material or labor, you are limiting the amount of funds we (KDWP) would have to pull from other projects; basically, stretching our dollars to do more conservation work.

Of course, if you are not able to donate time and resources in all those areas, we’d graciously accept a simple letter of support. The application deadline for this grant is February 14, 2023, and we would be very appreciative if we could secure your support before then to strengthen our application. We understand this is somewhat of a short notice and would still be appreciative to receive your support after the application deadline. If you are donating time in the form of labor, we do not need a firm commitment at this time, just that you are willing to help. The anticipated start date for this project, if we are successful in obtaining this grant, is April of 2024 as that is when funds would become available. Any work completed before that is unable to be used as match.

If you have any questions about this project, feel free to contact me using any of the methods below. I would be more than happy to talk with you about this.

Thank you for your time,

-Nick Kramer


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