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Strip Pit Reclamation in Cherokee County - KOAM TV 7

Strip Pit Reclamation in Cherokee County

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, KANSAS -

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has been improving strip pits in the state for decades.

"Over the course of 20 years, we've spent around 30 million dollars for improved safety, improved habitat, better fishing access," says David Jenkins, a wildlife area manager with the KDWPT. 

On Monday, the department discussed their latest strip pit project in Cherokee County with the public. They plan on spending a million dollars on Unit 24, a strip pit near Columbus, Kansas, between NW Lawton Road and NW Center Star Road. Improvements will include 5 new boat ramps, better parking and trail access, and something that's sure to excite fishing enthusiasts.

"We're going to raise the water level in one strip mined lake 4 feet, which is going to add diversity to the existing fish habitat," said Jenkins.

Officials with the KDWPT are confident their strip pit improvements won't disrupt the natural habitat, but there are some concerned citizens.

"I like the idea of new boat ramps. I do not like the idea, and a lot of sportsmen don't, going into a section that is wildlife habitat and dozing roads, making wider access roads and bigger parking lots. They're nice, but they get rid of some of your habitat," said concerned citizen Les Welch.

Others are unhappy about the removal of some trees during the strip pit work, but the KDWPT says any habitat they have to alter that's not related to roadwork, will be replaced with native grass and wildflowers.

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