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BORN TO CUT CATTAILS IN AUGUST

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - After each recent rain, I have been up to my knees in our wetland, cutting cattails. I have been told that cutting below the waterline provides a good non-chemical control. A few cattails are great for wildlife, but if not burned, cut, or flooded, a small stand can quickly spread into a monoculture, sucking up available water and pushing out all other wetland vegetation.

Once I got over my fear of being sucked down into the muck and never heard from again, I enjoyed my task. I had a great pair of shears that allowed me to reach the base of the plants without too much stooping. I learned to use a mat of fallen cattails as a raft to stand on, like a wetland version of snowshoes. However, these "shoes" could suddenly tip, and then locomotion became a challenge -- a matter of extracting one foot from deep muck before the other foot lost its balance. Several times I had to hang onto uncut cattails to keep from falling; I did feel guilty when a few minutes later I cut down those very plants. Atonement (is it ever complete?) came in the form of a surge in biodiversity, with arrowhead, spike rush and smartweed taking hold in the cleared space, and frogs, snakes, and dragonflies moving in to fill the gaps.

Fathoming Our Oil Folly

SALINA, Kan. - Monday, Aug. 22, Kansas staged its own contribution to one of the most important national climate change discussions in decades, thanks to the Eisenhower Center and the KSU Institute for Civil Discourse. The topic: TransCanada's Keystone XL oil pipeline for Alberta tar sands oil. Final decision on XL's final leg is due soon from the U.S. State Department.

TransCanada (TC) wields a big stick: Canada is our single largest oil supplier, ahead of Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

The Aug. 23 Salina Journal story noted the strong audience response to one suggestion. The Kansas Legislature gift-wrapped a present of an estimated $50 million tax abatement that TC doesn't need -- and that no other states gave. When Jim Prescott, TransCanada's representative, insisted his company is a responsible, good neighbor, one citizen suggested TC's good neighbor policy should extend to gifting that $50 million to desperate Kansas kids and schools, where most of the taxes would/should have gone anyway. This reverse-gift idea received strong audience applause.

Prescott did not make that offer.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Green: July 2011. The next archive is Green: October 2011.

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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the Green: August 2011 section.

The previous archive is Green: July 2011. The next archive is Green: October 2011.

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