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Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation
Pools Resources with
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

Kansas sagebrush prairie photo

 

Comanche Pool logoOver the past three years, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Kansas Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has been involved in a partnership with state and federal agencies in both Kansas and Oklahoma with the common goal of improving and protecting our vanishing prairie resources. What makes this partnership unique is that it centers around a local, landowner-driven, non-profit resource foundation called the Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation, known locally as The Comanche Pool.

Comanche Pool site location map

The Comanche Pool was founded by a group of landowners located in the mixed-grass and sand-sage prairies encompassing approximately 5.4 million acres in south-central Kansas and North-central Oklahoma. This area includes two Fish and Wildlife Service Regions, two Natural Resources Conservation Service Regions, two State Wildlife Agencies and numerous local Conservation Districts.

prairie habitat photo in the Comanche Pool areaThe Comanche Pool is dedicated to providing for the regeneration and protection of natural resources, the education of ranchers, local citizens and youth on the proper management of the rangeland ecosystem and enhancement of the socioeconomic well-being of the rural community.

The partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Comanche Pool began in 1998 when the Service’s Oklahoma Field Office and the Western Governors’ Association, along with the High Plains Resources, Conservation, and Development; the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife; and the Natural Resources Conservation Service hosted Rancher Conversation Meetings in western Oklahoma. These meetings generated landowner input and interest in a new direction the Service was taking toward candidate species conservation. This led to the development of the High Plains Partnership, an effort geared toward the conservation of species at risk in portions of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. Several Comanche Pool board members were in attendance at the initial meeting and expressed an interest in being involved in this new program.

stream photo in the Comanche Pool areaIn Kansas, it was decided that the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program would be the best mechanism for completing habitat projects. Contact was made with the Comanche Pool in early February of 2000, and a partnership was developed.

Projects are geared toward habitat restoration and protection for the lesser prairie chicken, black-tailed prairie dog, ferruginous hawk, burrowing owl, plains minnow, red spotted toad, and Arkansas darter. However, the overall emphasis of the partnership is on good rangeland management. Some of the habitat improvement practices include grazing management plans, fencing, water development, control of woody invasives, and native plant restoration.

prairie chicken photos

The Comanche Pool has also received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the FMC Corporation for additional habitat restoration projects and has worked diligently to secure a Range Specialist position, jointly-funded by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Comanche Pool. This position will act as a point of contact for the Service and provide technical assistance to landowners looking to improve their rangeland habitat in both Kansas and Oklahoma. So far,  this position has been responsible for completing grassland inventories and grazing plans on over 46,000 acres in four Oklahoma Counties and six Kansas Counties.

The partnership developed with the Comanche Pool and others like it are what has made the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program a successful endeavor throughout the United States. Working with local, landowner-driven organizations is critical to the to the success of a habitat restoration program on private lands, especially in a state like Kansas which is 98% privately owned.

prairie grasses photo in the Comanche Pool area 

For more information about the partnership contact the Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation at (620)582-2211 ext. 3 or the Kansas Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program at (620)486-2393.

 

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