Thursday, May 26, 2011


Biologists will help improve pheasant, quail, and lesser prairie chicken habitat
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) have announced the addition of two new Farm Bill wildlife biologist positions in Kansas. Kirby Calhoun will cover Dickinson, Clay, Ottawa, and nearby counties, while Mark Witecha will cover Ness, Lane, Hodgeman, and nearby counties. The positions were created in partnership with the Kansas division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

PF's Farm Bill biologists provide-on-the ground technical assistance to farmers who implement federal Farm Bill conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Reserve Program. They also assist farmers with various programs and practices recommended by PF and partner organizations.

"I am really excited about the additions to the growing Kansas Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever team," said Steve Riley, PF and QU Farm Bill wildlife biologist manager. "They come with some great experience, and both are just finishing up their master’s degrees. They will definitely help us achieve our habitat goals."
Calhoun will complete his master’s degree in wildlife management from Texas A&M University this year. Previous to this, Calhoun spent 2010 working for the U.S. Forest Service as a wildlife biologist. He has four years of military experience and is a decorated Army veteran. Calhoun will work out of the NRCS Center in Abilene and can be reached at 785-263-1351.

Witecha previously interned at the Aldo Leopold Foundation near his home in southcentral Wisconsin. He will join Pheasants Forever in early June after finishing his master's of science degree at Texas A&M, Kingsville, where he has been studying the effects of wildfire and drought on the abundance, movement, and species richness of small mammals. Witecha will be based out of the Ness City Service Center and can be reached at 785-263-1351.
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