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      Save Imperiled Wildlife
      Biodiversity Center Aims To Save Imperiled Wildlife

      The Kansas Aquatic Biodiversity Center (KABC) was opened this month in southeast Kansas as part of a program to propagate imperiled aquatic wildlife for reintroduction into areas where they have had a population decline.

      The center is located at the Farlington Fish Hatchery and is being operated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

      Dan Mosier II, hatchery manager, said the opening ceremony for the facility was on Aug. 16. The center will be a holding facility for wildlife considered to be in immediate risk due to a decline in the quality of their habitat.

      Mosier said they plan to work with species ranging from freshwater mussels to minnows to turtles.

      He said they will first work to propagate common and non-imperiled species to develop procedures and get the rearing systems up and running.

      “We’re working right now with some common aquatic species to make sure that all of our systems will function properly before we move to any of the imperiled species,” Mosier said.

      He said once the systems are ready, staff will begin working with a few select species that have been determined by the state agency to be important to restoring existing populations.

      The center is the only facility of its kind in Kansas and other states are considering implementing similar programs.

      Mosier said their facility has agreed to work on a research program on alligator snapping turtles with researchers at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

      “They are working to determine what the northern range of the turtle is and what their activity level is in northern climates,” Mosier said. “They are going to have some of those turtles here with monitors on them in one of our ponds and they’ll monitor their movements through the wintertime to see how active they are.”

      He said the facility could have an impact by raising and releasing aquatic animals at their facility that are currently on a threatened or endangered species list.

      Mosier said the program will capture individuals out of the current wild population and propagate those species to increase their numbers before releasing them back into their habitats. In addition, they will work to track them after they are released to determine the success rate.

      “Federal hatcheries are doing work on these kinds of species as well and they have for quite awhile but they aren’t doing a lot of numbers of any given species,” Mosier said. “This facility was built to do full propagation of them as opposed to just experiential releases.”

      The facility was built in collaboration of various state and federal agencies. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment contributed to the $853,000 construction cost.

      The Farlington Fish Hatchery is located at 101 Hatchery Road in Farlington, Kansas, which is below the Crawford State Fishing Lake Dam in Crawford County. The center will not be open to the public, but tours are available by making prior arrangement by calling 620-362-4166.

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