Category Archives: Outdoors

Overbrook puts City Lake on warning status as blue-green algae bloom expected

Algae has begun to collect along the shoreline on the northwest side of Overbrook City Lake.

OVERBROOK, Kan. – Overbrook city officials have notified citizens that early signs of blue-green algae were discovered in the northwest corner of City Lake on Wednesday. According to the notification, Kansas Department of Health and Environment will be at the lake on Monday for testing. In the meantime, KDHE has recommended the lake be under watch status for this weekend, as there is a potential for a blue-green algae bloom.

During an algae bloom watch, people are advised to keep livestock and pets away from the water; use caution when contacting lake water and wash with clean water afterward; avoid areas of algae accumulation; don’t let people or pets eat dried algae or drink untreated lake water; and clean fish well and discard guts.

In case of harmful algae contact, it is advised to call a doctor or veterinarian if people or animals have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, irritated eyes, seizures, breathing problems or other unexplained illness.

Osage County sizzles in drought with scant rainfall, high temperatures

With Osage County and portions of Kansas under a state-issued drought emergency declaration, the federal government has authorized emergency grazing of some of the state’s Conservation Reserve Program acres. The governor had earlier authorized use of state lakes for water sources for counties designated in a drought emergency.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency announced today additional authorization of Conservation Reserve Program acres for emergency grazing for 44 counties in Kansas, including Osage County.

Earlier in the month, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer issued a drought declaration for the state, which included all 105 counties in drought emergency, warning or watch status; 50 counties are in emergency status.

The declaration allows individuals and communities in counties in emergency stage to be eligible for use of water from certain state fishing lakes and some federal reservoirs. Anyone needing water from the designated lakes must contact Kansas Water Office for a water supply request prior to any withdrawals.

Likewise, eligible producers interested in emergency grazing of CRP must request approval through their local FSA before grazing eligible acreage, and obtain a modified conservation plan from the NRCS that includes grazing provisions.

The governor’s declaration is in effect until rescinded by executive order; emergency grazing of CRP is authorized through Sept. 30, 2018.

Officials cited livestock water shortages, low flows at some reservoirs, and outlook of persistent drought as reasons for the statewide drought declaration. Some areas of Kansas are behind more than 15 inches in moisture for the year, and outlooks indicate continuing above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

Corps issues public health warning for Melvern Lake’s Outlet Park campground, swim beach

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday the existence of a blue-green algae bloom at the Outlet Park campground (River Pond) and swim beach downstream of Melvern Lake. Blue-green algae identification tests have confirmed the presence of the algae.

The most recent tests showed the presence of the toxin microcystin, but levels can increase or decrease on a daily basis. Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. Swimming is now prohibited at the Outlet Park swim beach, and all wading and contact with algae is highly discouraged.

Pet owners should be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Dogs are highly susceptible to algae toxins and frequently ingest concentrated toxins from shoreline areas. Pets that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom, or that eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill.

The present algae bloom is isolated to the Outlet Park River Pond and swim beach area below Melvern Lake. Boat ramps and lake activities are not affected. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment will continue to monitor these public waters and will update the status as conditions warrant. For more information contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Melvern Lake at 785-549-3318.

Operation Dry Water surveils for boaters under the influence

Heightened awareness and enforcement slated for June 29-July 1

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism game wardens will be on the lookout for boaters under the influence during Operation Dry Water, June 29-July 1, 2018. Operation Dry Water is part of a national effort to reduce accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol and educate recreational boaters about the dangers of BUI. While Operation Dry Water is a year-round national campaign, a heightened awareness and enforcement effort takes place around July 4th, a holiday known for the potentially deadly combination of drinking and boating.

KDWPT game wardens are responsible for patrolling the waters of Kansas and conducting boat accident investigations, boat safety inspections, BUI checks, safety programs, education classes and other boating-related activities. During Operation Dry Water, officers will be looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of 0.08. The weekend will include increased patrols, breathalyzer tests, life jacket checks and boater education.

Impaired boaters can expect to be arrested or face other serious penalties. In Kansas, the consequences for BUI include fines, jail and loss of boating privileges. During the 2017 Operation Dry Water in Kansas, game wardens issued 26 boating citations, 35 boating-related warnings and recorded two BUI offenses.

Kids can show off their water safety knowledge, win prizes in lake poster contest

The Melvern Lake Corps of Engineers is inviting kids to show what they know about water safety in this year’s water safety poster contest. Kids ages 6 to 13 are welcome to join the fun and create a poster promoting water safety.

Posters can be entered into any of these categories:

  • Wear your life jacket: Why is it important to wear your life jacket or personal flotation device?
  • Swim with a buddy: Why should you never swim alone?
  • Boat safety: What can you do or what should you bring to be safe on a boat?
  • Open division: What does water safety mean to you?

Artists can enter more than one category, but only one poster per category. Posters can be created using pens, pencils, markers, colored pencils, paint, or crayons. Include name, age, category entering, and contact phone number on back of each poster.

An 11 by 17-inch poster paper to use will be provided at the following locations – these locations are also the drop off areas of finished posters. If an 11 by 17-inch paper (preferably poster or cardstock type) is already available to youth, they are welcome to use that. Entries not on 11 by 17-inch paper will be excluded from the contest. Pick-up and drop-off locations: Lyndon Carnegie Library, Melvern City Hall, Osage City Public Library,  Coffey County Library, Waverly and Lebo branches, and Reading City Hall. Finished posters are due by July 20.

The entries will be judged on displaying correct water safety practices and reasons why, creativity, and clarity of the safety message being conveyed.

County extends expiration date of burn permits for 4 years

The Osage County Board of Commissioners recently passed a resolution that extends all burn permit expiration dates to Dec. 31, 2022. This will ensure that there is a uniform date for expiration of burn permits. All newly issued and current permits are now valid until that date.

The resolution also authorizes Osage County Emergency Management to issue a burn ban when fire districts or fire resources are overwhelmed by a large fire or multiple fire incidents.

Corps closes 110 Mile Park campground at Pomona Lake

VASSAR, Kan. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced the permanent closure of 110 Mile Campground at Pomona Lake effective May 1, 2018.

The closure was blamed on underutilization and projected budget restrictions. According to a statement from the Corps, the camping area, equestrian area, and nature trail will close in an effort to improve other park operating efficiencies and provide quality recreation opportunities for the public.

The day-use boat ramp facility at 110 Mile Park will remain open with no operational changes. Equestrian camping and a day use parking lot has been moved to Cedar Park, positioning the equestrian area in the middle of Black Hawk Trail.

Along with Cedar Park, 110 Mile Park was one of the last two free federal campgrounds located in Osage County.

For more information, contact the Pomona Lake Project Office at 785-453-2201. 

Burn ban Monday: Strong winds, warm temperatures cause very high fire danger

Osage County Emergency Management has banned all outdoor burning due to very high fire danger today, Monday, April 30, 2018. A forecast of possible wind gusts of up to 45 mph this afternoon contributes to the rangeland fire index in the very high category for much of northeast Kansas.

A county burn ban means no outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended until 8 a.m. May 1, unless the burn ban is extended.

Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

The National Weather Service at Topeka forecasts today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 81; windy, with a south wind 20 to 30 mph, and gusts as high as 45 mph. In addition, NWS has issued a wind advisory that will be in effect from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Burn ban Wednesday: Strong winds cause very high fire danger

Osage County Emergency Management has banned all outdoor burning due to very high fire danger today, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. A forecast of possible wind gusts of up to 40 mph this afternoon contributes to the rangeland fire index in the very high category for much of northeast Kansas.

A county burn ban means no outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended until 8 a.m. April 19, unless the burn ban is extended.

Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

The National Weather Service at Topeka forecasts today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 58; windy, with a northwest wind 25 to 30 mph, and gusts as high as 40 mph.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Gardeners, lawn owners learn to fight moles on their own turf

“You’ll either learn to trap them or learn to live with them,” Charlie Lee, K-State’s wildlife damage control specialist, told the crowd gathered last Saturday morning at Peggy and Gary DeForeest’s home in rural Scranton, Kan., for a mole eradication workshop.

The Frontier Extension District hosted the workshop, which provided information to about 30 frustrated gardeners and homeowners. Damaged lawns make moles very unpopular, and with mowing season starting up, the creatures have come under fire.

The only successful way to rid your lawn of the insect eating mammal is to learn how and where to trap them, Lee said.

He discussed other eradication methods, noting that if you believe everything you see on TV or the Internet, you might have purchased repellants, toxicants, fumigants, ground shakers, or sonar devices to try to rid your yard of the pests. Almost all of those things are not effective, he said.

Moles prefer live, moving prey, which makes most poisoned food uninviting to them, the specialist said. Seeing mole holes by major highways indicates ground-shaking products are also ineffective.

Be prepared for tornado emergencies, know these local warning siren facts

By Bryce Romine
OCEM Director

As we approach the spring tornado and severe weather season, here are a few facts about tornado sirens:

  • Tornado sirens are an outside warning system only.
  • When you heard a tornado siren go inside, take cover, and tune to local media for more information.
  • It is a good idea to have a second means of receiving warnings such as a NOAA weather radio or sign up for alerts at Osage County’s website (under Osage County Emergency Management or the sheriff’s office at www.osageco.org.)
  • Osage County tornado sirens are tested at 1 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of month, unless there is inclement weather.
  • Sirens are not used to give an all clear – if you hear a second warning take cover. All clear information is broadcasted by local media.
  • Osage County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for activation of the tornado sirens. During a real event the tornado sirens are activated following a warning being issued by the National Weather Service.

Burn ban Friday: NWS issues wind advisory, warns of very high fire danger

Osage County Emergency Management has banned all outdoor burning due to very high fire danger today, Friday, April 13, 2018. In addition, the National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory in effect until 1 p.m. for northeast Kansas.

A county burn ban means no outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended until 8 a.m. April 14, unless the burn ban is extended.

Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

The NWS forecasts the strongest wind speeds are expected through the morning hours today. Winds will be southerly and range from 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40-50 mph. Light weight lawn furniture or garbage cans could be blown around by the strong winds. Driving high profile vehicles will be difficult.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Burn ban Thursday: Windy conditions continue, cause very high fire danger

Osage County Emergency Management has banned all outdoor burning due to very high fire danger today, Thursday, April 12, 2018. In addition, the National Weather Service is advising that strong winds and very high fire danger will continue into Friday in northeast Kansas.

A county burn ban means no outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended until 8 a.m. April 13, unless the burn ban is extended.

Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort.

The NWS forecast says today will be sunny, with a high near 81, and breezy, with a south wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Burn ban Wednesday: Windy conditions cause very high fire danger

The National Weather Service at Topeka has issued a wind advisory for today, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, and Osage County Emergency Management has banned all outdoor burning due to very high fire danger.

The burn ban means no outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended until 8 a.m. April 12, unless the burn ban is extended. NWS has forecast that strong winds will continue into Friday in northeast Kansas.

Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort. A wind advisory means that sustained winds of 30 mph or gusts to 45 mph are expected. Steps should be taken to secure any lawn furniture or light weight objects and use extra caution when driving.

The NWS forecast says today will be sunny, with a high near 78, and windy, with a south wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph in the afternoon. Wind gusts could be as high as 40 mph.

The current wind advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. this morning to 7 p.m. this evening for Osage, Morris, Lyon and Coffey counties.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Health advisory, safety tips issued during Flint Hills burning season

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is reminding Kansans that springtime is when large areas of the state’s Flint Hills rangeland are burned. These burns help preserve the tallgrass prairie, control invasive species such as eastern red cedar and sumac and provide better forage for cattle. Prescribed burning minimizes risk of wildfires and is effective in managing rangeland resources. Smoke from the burns can influence the air quality of downwind areas. The use of smoke management techniques is vital to reduce impacts.

KDHE activated the Kansas smoke modeling tool on March 1, prior to widespread burning in the Flint Hills. On average there are approximately 2.3 million acres burned in the Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma each year.

For burns to be safe and effective, weather and rangeland conditions must be ideal. Many landowners will burn at the same time when such conditions are met. Air pollutants from the burns can affect persons in the Flint Hills and can be carried long distances to more populated areas.

“We encourage ranchers and land managers to take advantage of this smoke modeling resource to spread out their burns more effectively and mitigate potential air quality impacts,” said Douglas Watson, KDHE meteorologist.

Spring Aboard: Boaters urged to be educated before boating season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The temperature may still be cool outside, but it is a perfect time of year to start getting prepared for the boating season. Boating safety advocates are urging boaters to enroll in a boating education course prior to the main boating season. Spring Aboard – Take a Boating Education Course campaign is a nationally coordinated effort during the week of March 18-24, 2018, to increase the awareness of taking a boating education course.

“We know that an educated boater is safer on the water,” said Tom Guess, president of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and lead organization for Spring Aboard. “If a boater has taken a boating safety education course the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater for them as well as their passengers. There’s no reason to head out on the water without knowing what you’re doing, and spring is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”

Burn ban Friday: Gusty, dry conditions cause extreme fire danger

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for north central and east central Kansas for this afternoon, including Osage County, as conditions develop for extreme fire danger. Additionally, Osage County Emergency Management has extended a burn ban currently in effect and all burn permits are suspended for today, Friday, March 16, 2018.

NWS issued a red flag warning for today due to expected strong gusty winds, low relative humidity levels, and dry fuels. The conditions also will also cause extreme fire danger in other portions of the state, roughly along and south of a line from Minneapolis to Ottawa. Southeast winds will become southwest and gusty today in the warning area.

The burn ban issued for Osage County means no outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. The burn ban is in effect until 8 a.m. March 17, but could be extended depending on conditions.

Extreme fire danger means any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.

NWS forecasts south winds today at 15-25 mph with gusts of 25-35 mph, becoming southwest this afternoon and eventually becoming northwest tonight. Relative humidity will be around 20 to 25 percent through the early evening hours, increasing to near 60 percent by midnight tonight. There is a small chance for a few strong to severe storms this afternoon.

Under these conditions, outdoor burning is not recommended. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Frontier Extension to show how to rid moles from your yard

Information meetings to be at rural Scranton, Garnett

Tired of seeing those dirt mounds and mole runs in your yard? Want to know how to get rid of those pesky moles? The Frontier Extension District will be hosting informative meetings on moles on April 6 in Garnett and April 7 near Scranton.

The Osage County meeting will be at 10 a.m. April 7, 2018, at Gary and Peggy DeForeest’s home at 280 E. 197th St., Scranton. Go just north of mile marker 133 on Highway 75, north of Lyndon, and turn east on 197th Street. The DeForeests live in the first house on the north side of the road.

The April 6 meeting will start at 6 p.m. at Robert and Jodi Steele’s home at 22760 NW 1750 Road, Garnett. From Highway 59 Hwy go to Fourth Street and turn west; keep going until you reach the stop sign and then continue on west for a half mile. They will be the first house on the south side of the road.

At the meetings, discussion will be about mole behavior and how to get rid of moles, and Charlie Lee, K-State’s wildlife damage control specialist, will give a trapping demonstration.

NWS issues new fire weather warning for Thursday evening and Friday

The National Weather Service at Topeka has issued a new fire weather warning for the remainder of today and Friday, covering Osage County and Ottawa, Dickinson, Geary, Morris, Wabaunsee, Lyon, Franklin, Coffey and Anderson counties.

A red flag warning remains in effect until 8 p.m. this evening, due to low relative humidity, gusty winds and dry fuels. In addition, the red flag warning has been extended to 10 a.m to 8 p.m. Friday, March 16, 2018.

Wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph are expected to occur this afternoon and again late Friday morning into Friday afternoon. Humidity will remain in the 20 to 25 percent range across the area this afternoon, and will fall into the 20 to 25 percent range across the area Friday afternoon.

Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended. A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Burn ban Thursday: Gusty winds, warm temps, low humidity causes extreme fire danger

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for north central and east central Kansas for this afternoon, and declared extreme fire danger in other portions of the state, including Osage County. Osage County Emergency Management has extended a burn ban enacted yesterday and all burn permits are suspended for today, Thursday, March 15, 2018.

NWS’s red flag warning is in effect from 1 p.m. this afternoon to 8 p.m. this evening for north central and east central Kansas due to expected strong gusty winds, low relative humidity levels, and dry fuels. The conditions also will also cause extreme fire danger in other portions of the state, including Osage County.

The burn ban issued for Osage County means no outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. The burn ban is in effect until 8 a.m. March 16, but may be extended depending on conditions.

Extreme fire danger means any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.

NWS reports the combination of increasing southeast winds of 15-20 mph gusting up to 30 mph along with low relative humidity in the 20-25 percent range will lead to the extreme fire danger conditions across much of northeast Kansas this afternoon. Forecast is a sunny day with a high near 74. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Burn ban Wednesday: NWS issues red flag warning due to high winds, low humidity

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for north central and northeast Kansas for this afternoon, and all burn permits in Osage County are suspended for today, Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

NWS’s red flag warning is in effect from 1 p.m. this afternoon to 7 p.m. this evening due to expected strong gusty winds, low relative humidity levels, and dry fuels.

The burn ban issued for Osage County means no outside burning is allowed and all burn permits are suspended. The burn ban is in effect until 8 a.m. March 15, but may be extended depending on conditions.

The red flag warning covers the following Kansas counties: Republic, Cloud, Clay, Riley, Pottawatomie, Jackson, Jefferson, Ottawa, Dickinson, Geary, Morris, Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Douglas, Lyon, Osage, Franklin, Coffey and Anderson.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. Today’s forecast includes wind gusts of 25 to 32 mph in the afternoon, with humidity falling to 16 to 20 percent across much of the area.

Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

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