A second Emporia location will provide the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) with additional storage, laboratory and office space, affording Emporia Research and Survey staff the ability to scale future research efforts. KDWP purchased the former Dynamic Discs building at 3601 W. Sixth Ave. earlier this fall. The agency’s location at 1830 Merchant St. will remain its full-service office for public services such as fishing and hunting licenses, boat registrations, and park permits.
Currently, 14 full-time employees with specialties related to fisheries, furbearers, migratory birds, wildlife disease and upland game animals operate out of the agency’s approximately 4,250-square-foot Merchant Street location.
In addition to larger employee working quarters, the newly-acquired office space will benefit KDWP research programs – such as increasing federal grant opportunities related to invasive species – allow staff to house large equipment, and create room for a dedicated laboratory space.
“Our laboratory is currently housed in our compound across the interstate from King Lake,” Koch explained. “It’s a salvaged maintenance shop from the 1970s, so we’re really looking forward to having a modern lab facility that will meet current and future needs of our biologists.”
The new facility won’t just meet the needs of the state agency. KDWP staff hope faculty and staff from nearby Emporia State University (ESU) will be regular visitors of the new lab facility, added Koch.
“The partnership between KDWP and ESU has always been a very positive one, which we very much hope to continue,” said Koch. “Our expansion, combined with ESU’s new Prophet Aquatic Research and Outreach Center (PAROC), will create a top-notch learning and research environment for many years to come.”
KDWP and ESU entered into a cooperative agreement in the 1980s – when KDWP’s building at 1830 Merchant Street began operating – and fortunately for both parties, that partnership has only grown stronger with time.
“We deeply appreciate our partnership with KDWP,” said Brent Thomas, dean of ESU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Our partnership with KDWP has helped our faculty provide students with a diverse array of research opportunities, internships and hands-on applied learning. In addition, many new and exciting collaborations are forming now that we have opened the PAROC facility and hired Dr. Rachel Bowes as our new endowed professor of aquatic sciences.”
KDWP’s Emporia Research and Survey office at 1830 Merchant St. is open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on weekdays. The front desk can be reached at (620) 342-0658.
To learn more about KDWP, visit ksoutdoors.com.