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Hunting proponents

propose upland stamp

Two upland bird hunting enthusiasts have proposed establishing a federal upland stamp to conserve upland habitat.

Brian Koch, founder of Ultimate Upland, an online bird hunting community, and outdoor columnist Christine Cunningham have introduced a petition to create an upland bird stamp modeled after the highly successful federal duck stamp. Koch and Cunningham co-authored the article, It's Time for The Federal Upland Stamp, to voice concerns regarding the declining upland bird habitat in the United States and create an opportunity to highlight the cultural value of upland game species to broader audiences.

"The goal of the Federal Upland Stamp is to build a new program to reverse the losses of upland habitat and the resulting negative impacts to the numerous species of wildlife that exist in those spaces," Koch said. "We believe bird hunters should take charge of a new conservation measure that places an emphasis on stewardship."

The petition will survey wildlife enthusiasts on proposed stamp costs and how to utilize funds generated by an upland stamp managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If the petition is successful, Koch and Cunningham plan to work with federal agencies, members of Congress and conservation organizations to create the stamp.

"When we talk about the most serious threats to hunting today, the most critical issue hunters' face is loss of habitat," Cunningham said. "Grassland bird species have suffered steep declines over the last 50 years. Recent listings and the nationwide scope of the problem make conservation a priority. An upland stamp does not just provide funds toward conservation, it will highlight the value of upland birds to a wider audience."

More information is available at uplandstamp.org or on Ultimate Upland's Facebook page.

Upgrades at

Norfork hatchery

A five-month project to replace drain lines at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery will begin March 18, but the facility will remain open to the public.

The hatchery is below Norfork Dam, about 11 miles southeast of Mountain Home. Water from its raceways feed Dry Run Creek, which flows into the North Fork of the White River.

The hatchery's drain lines were replaced in 1984. In 1993, an additional aerator and water supply line increased the water flow from 18,000 gallons per minute to 22,000 gallons per minute and stress from the higher pressure causes the old lines to leak. As a result, the soil around the lines is eroding and some of the hatchery's roads are also collapsing.

The hatchery will continue to raise fish while the drain lines are being replaced.

Opened in 1957, Norfork National Fish Hatchery is a cold-water hatchery established to raise trout for restocking areas impacted by construction of dams, primarily in the tailwaters of Norfork and Bull Shoals.

White-nose syndrome

in Arkansas caves

Bats from a privately-owned cave in Independence County, a cave on the Buffalo National River in Newton County and a cave on McIlroy Madison County Wildlife Management Area have been confirmed to have white-nose syndrome or its associated fungus

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has confirmed bats from four counties have WNS. Since 2010, the AGFC and other public agencies around the state have closed most all public caves in the state to slow the spread of the syndrome.

"In spite of all efforts, nothing has been able to stop the spread of this disease since it was discovered in the United States several years ago," said Blake Sasse, the AGFC's non-game program leader

White-nose syndrome is believed to cause bats to use up their fat reserves rapidly during hibernation and affected bats sometimes fly out of caves during winter in an attempt to find food. Since the insects bats eat are seasonally dormant, the bats die of starvation. Bats play a key role in keeping insects, including agricultural pests, mosquitoes, and forest pests under control.

The AGFC advises against touching any wild animal and observations should be reported to the AGFC as soon as possible. Additional information on white-nose syndrome can be found at whitenosesyndrome.org.

Sports on 03/08/2015

Print Headline: Hunters propose federal upland stamp

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