Eagle Days scheduled Saturday and Sunday

A bald eagle was on display during Eagle Days in January 2020 at the James P. Davis Hall at Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st and Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, Kansas. The event is scheduled this year for Saturday and Sunday at the Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Library and the Davis Hall at Wyandotte County Lake Park. (File photo by Steve Rupert)

The annual Eagle Days will take place Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 15 and 16, at Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st and Leavenworth Road.

The annual event is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, according to a news release from the Board of Public Utilities, which is one of the event sponsors.

Events will take place at the Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Library at the lake, and also at the James P. Davis Hall at the lake. There are some changes to the event format this year due to COVID-19 protocols.

The free family-oriented program will provide those who attend with an opportunity to see eagles and birds of prey at each location. There are educational programs in connection with the viewing. Birds of prey from Operation WildLife Rehab Center will be on display.

Hours for Saturday are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Masks will be required.

Spotting scopes will be available outside for birdwatching around the lake. Visitors should bring binoculars and cameras to take advantage of the scenic views and beautiful winter landscapes.

This year, there will be reservations for the live bird presentations, and reservations can be made online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fl-schlagle-library-eagle-days-live-bird-viewing-tickets-195997964187. For more information, call 913-295-8250.

According to information from the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library, the program will offer 15-minute live bird viewing this year with species such as owls, hawks and a bald eagle instead of a one-hour formal presentation.

Each guest will need a free ticket to view the live birds at both the Schlagle Library and Davis Hall, according to library information. The ticket will allow a 15-minute time slot to take pictures, ask questions and enjoy watching the birds of prey indoors. There will be different bird species at both buildings and those who attend may reserve a time slot at both buildings.

Those who arrive without a reservation ticket will have to wait until there is a vacancy, according to the library information. While they wait, people may participate in crafts, wild bird spotting stations and outdoor activities.

Those who attend may re-enter the live bird viewing area more than once during the event as long as there are spots open, according to library information.

Eagle Days at Wyandotte County Lake are offered in partnership with Operation WildLife, the Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Library; the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities; the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library; Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools; the Unified Government; and Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City.

For more information, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fl-schlagle-library-eagle-days-live-bird-viewing-tickets-195997964187 or https://kckplprograms.org/2021/11/16/eagle-days-20th-anniversary-celebration/.

To see a flier about Eagle Days, visit https://kckplprograms.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Eagle-Days-2022-Flyer.pdf.

Kansans will pay more for natural gas this winter

Your natural gas bill will increase this winter as supply issues drive up market prices.

by Brian Grimmett, Kansas News Service

Wichita, Kansas — Your natural gas bill is going to go up this winter.

Natural gas prices run nearly double what they did a year ago and experts predict the increased prices to last at least through the winter.

Utility companies pass the cost of natural gas directly on to their customers. As the price of wholesale natural gas increases, so will the fee your utility charges every month.

For Kansas Gas Service customers, that fee this month is $5.67 per thousand cubic feet of gas used. Last October it was only $3.76.

Other large gas utilities have made similar increases.

The Atmos Energy gas purchase fee this month is nearly $1.50 more than last year. At Black Hills Energy it’s more than $3 more.

“Right now, what we see is a relatively tight market, and higher prices signalling that more (gas) supplies are needed on the market,” said Richard Meyer, vice president of the American Gas Association that represents natural gas utilities.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency said a few things are causing strain on natural gas supply that contribute to higher-than-normal natural gas prices.

First, the amount of gas in underground storage is lower than normal. That’s partly caused by February’s winter storm that set record cold temperatures for much of the central U.S. It’s also caused by increased usage by gas-fired power plants during a particularly hot August.

Hurricane Ida also cut natural gas production and supplies.

While the EIA expects many of those supply issues to get resolved, it said the price will likely remain high all winter.

If it does, the average Kansan could see a monthly bill increase as much as $100 higher than last year.

Kansas Gas Service spokeswoman Dawn Tripp said the company has several tools to help keep the cost of gas down even as market prices rise.

The company has purchased and stored large amounts of gas this summer when prices were generally lower. It also will enter into long- and medium-term contracts to try to lock a price in and hedge against future increases.

“By doing that, we’re able to place a price cap on a portion of our winter supply,” Tripp said.

Increased natural gas prices will also greatly impact Kansas farmers. Natural gas is the main ingredient in nitrogen fertilizers. When the price of gas goes up, so does the price of fertilizer.

“Fertilizer is the largest direct cost (for farmers),” said Mark Nelson with the Kansas Farm Bureau.

Higher fertilizer prices will mean thinner profit margins, he said.

Last year the price to put fertilizer on no-till corn was $60 an acre. Nelson said many people are preparing for that cost to double.

“That’s a lot of money just for that one cost input,” Nelson said.

Brian Grimmett reports on the environment, energy and natural resources for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @briangrimmett or email him at grimmett (at) kmuw (dot) org. The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.
Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.
See more at https://www.kcur.org/news/2021-10-13/kansans-will-pay-more-for-natural-gas-this-winter.

EPA awards $469,924 in project funding in KC area

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that $469,924 will be awarded in funding for three sustainable materials management projects in the Kansas City area.

The announcement was made at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Unified Government will receive $95,000 in funding to conduct a feasibility study for an organic material composting facility, including a site evaluate, feedstock and processing technologies evaluation, concept design and financial evaluation, according to the EPA.

The Mid-America Regional Council was selected for $174,924 in funding for a project to address food waste reduction in the nine-county Kansas City region through a Regional Food Waste Reduction Action Plan, food system mapping and an educational campaign.

Kansas State University Pollution Prevention Institute was selected for $200,000 in funding for a project in Johnson County that will work with industry and community partners to provide on-site technical assistance, identifying and documenting opportunities for food and solid-waste (packaging) source reduction, diversion and recycling.

“By working to reduce the waste going to landfills and stopping pollution at the source,” said acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Edward H. Chu, “these sustainable materials management projects will help the Kansas City area become an even stronger and more environmentally friendly community.”

“The UG remains committed to improving air quality and ensuring clean, safe water for Wyandotte County and the surrounding region,” said Mayor-CEO David Alvey, Unified Government. “An organic composting facility could help reduce unnecessary waste going into area landfills, decreasing emissions harmful to the environment, and turning waste into composted materials that can be used for land applications such as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. We appreciate the EPA’s grant assistance to study the feasibility of this project, and value this partnership to improve the quality of life for our community and the region through sustainable materials management.”

“This grant allows MARC to convene regional partners and stakeholders to address food waste in a holistic way through prevention, rescue and composting,” MARC Executive Director David Warm said. “These strategies will get more fresh food to those in need, reduce the financial burden to individual households, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the region’s disposal needs.”

“This new funding will accelerate our solid waste reduction work with Kansas schools, industries and communities,” said Paul Lowe, associate vice president for research and director of PreAward Services at Kansas State University. “It will divert millions of tons of waste from the landfills in Kansas, helping the state and Johnson County meet their solid waste reduction goals while acting as a model for future industrial and community partners.”

Sustainable Materials Management is a systemic approach to using materials more productively and finding new opportunities to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources, and reduce costs over a product’s life cycle. EPA’s SMM program supports efforts to help build community health by reducing the use, release and exposure to toxic chemicals; using life-cycle approaches to reduce the health and environmental impacts of materials use; and employing upstream solutions that reduce the need for and cost of environmental cleanup and pollution management.