HPPR Environment

hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
fauna (wildlife)
climate change

Management & conservation
water conservation
soil conservation
wildlife protection
policies & regulations


Each year about this time, for the past 26 years, I have compiled a list of gift ideas for outdoor folks. As a full time outdoors writer and radio show host, I have the opportunity to review and put to use a great number of useful products. Some I consider a “must have” for any sportsman, others seem to wind up out in my storage building, never to be used again. Here are a few outdoor items, some costing a few dollars and others costing a few hundred that I use on a regular basis and highly recommend. Keep in mind that some of these products must be ordered via the company’s web site.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

On Nov. 19 Oklahoma regulators ordered two oil and gas companies to shut down four disposal wells near the town of Crescent. The directive came after a 4.0-magnitude quake was recorded earlier that day, according to StateImpact Oklahoma.

Andy Marso / Kaiser Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A task force that will make recommendations for how to fund the state’s water projects was unveiled Wednesday.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force is part of the 50-year plan to secure the state’s water supply that Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration rolled out last year.

Michael Pearce / kansas.com

Larry Haynes of Holyoke, CO, used to farm right through playa lakes in a field. He stopped that practice because in too many years, it was impossible to harvest crops that were flooded-out in the wetlands. He's a proponent of putting land to its best use. In his case, that meant developing those wetlands into wildlife habitat to benefit autumn and winter hunting.

OK's Sea of Juniper May Require Fire

Nov 23, 2015

Oklahoma rangeland specialists are warning of a slow-motion ecological disaster, reports inverse.com. Juniper trees are gradually stripping Oklahoma of its grasslands. They’re everywhere, eating up the plains. These trees destroy historical ecosystems and fill in otherwise productive rangeland. Two different species of juniper are causing problems: Ashe juniper and eastern redcedar.

Colorado Adopts Landmark Water Plan

Nov 23, 2015
Cyrus McCrimmon / Denver Post

Colorado adopted a landmark $20 billion water plan last week, reports The Denver Post. The new law hopes to accommodate rapid population growth in the state.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!

Today, I've been reflecting on what a treasure the outdoors is, and how the tradition needs to be passed on to the next generation so they will appreciate it as we do.  Take a listen, and then give yourself a little time to think about what you could do to teach someone how dear you hold the great outdoors.

In the Fields, a Search for Monarch Butterflies

Nov 20, 2015
Mike Tobias / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The population of monarch butterflies has declined so dramatically in recent years that the iconic insect is being considered for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list. In Nebraska and across the other areas of the Midwest, a stop on the monarch migration route, efforts are underway to determine the scope of the decline.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

Sandra Ladra, a resident of Prague, Oklahoma, was injured during a 2011 earthquake. Mounting evidence has shown that the earthquakes were caused by the injection of wastewater from fracking. So Sandra decided to sue the oil and gas companies that operate injection wells in her area.

The Wall Street Journal has published a debate about whether oil companies should be held liable for injuries caused by the quakes.

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland

MANHATTAN - A new study has found that over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer beyond its recharge rate peaked overall in 2006, while its rate of depletion in Kansas reached its highest point in 2010.

The Kansas State University study released Monday also projected the aquifer's use would decrease by about half over the next 100 years.

A Crazy Week for Weather on the High Plains

Nov 19, 2015
Severe Studios

it’s been a crazy weather week on the High Plains. You name it, we’ve seen it. The flatlands have experienced snow, rain, tornadoes, hail, and unseasonably warm weather.

Ongoing Orchard

Nov 18, 2015

Just when I should probably be cutting back on the size of my horticultural investments, and planning a smaller and more manageable homefront, I've decided to plant some more fruit trees!  After a summer of no fruit, due to late hard freezes last spring, and after taking a hard and realistic look at the fading health of the old trees, I couldn't face a future with no peaches or nectarines.  So now I'm filling in the gaps, extending the drip system, and getting ready to face some fabulous fruit in the future!  

Nasa HQ Photo / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith recently rejected the notion that he doesn’t believe in human-caused climate change, reports The Texas Observer. The chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology instead insisted he’s merely a “semi-skeptic.” Smith said he doesn’t know how much effect people are having on the climate. “I think the human component may actually be a small fraction of the contributing forces on climate change,” he said.

US Drought Monitor: Great Plains Experiencing Relief

Nov 17, 2015

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has released the latest US Drought Monitor update. Things are looking up for the Great Plains. Kansas has experienced beneficial light-to-moderate precipitation, and Colorado saw some precipitation fall as snow. While parts of Eastern Kansas and Oklahoma are experiencing abnormally dry conditions and even moderate drought, the western plains areas of those states seem safe for now.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Hunters and birders have more in common than might be assumed. Both support the conservation of wetlands and other bird habitat. Some people even identify themselves as both a hunter and a birder, as well as a conservationist. Yearly purchase of the Duck Stamp is an excellent way to actively support bird conservation.

USDA Continues to Invest in Ogallala Relief

Nov 16, 2015

The US Department of Agriculture will invest $8 million next year toward helping farmers and ranchers conserve water from the Ogallala Aquifer, while still maintaining and strengthening agricultural operations, reports Agri-Pulse.

Environmental Group Pushes Support for New Biofuels

Nov 12, 2015
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

U.S. energy policy that effectively promotes corn ethanol is holding back a generation of more environmentally sound fuels according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

To grow corn for ethanol, farmers have been plowing up new land and fertilizing big crops. Some research says that means corn-based ethanol can have a larger carbon footprint than traditional fuel.

In Oklahoma, the Battle Over Water Continues

Nov 11, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s battle over water continues to rage, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. In fact, water rights have dominated the recent legislative study discussion of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp is the best kept secret in bird conservation. Buying the annual stamp is a simple, direct way for people to contribute to wetland and grassland conservation. This episode presents seven reasons to buy a stamp.

Earthquake Concerns Continue at Cushing, OK, Oil Hub

Nov 9, 2015
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Government and oil-industry officials continue to be concerned about the prospect of earthquakes near the massive Cushing oil hub in Oklahoma, reports StateImpact. A 4.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded near the hub on October 10. After an inspection, no damage was found. But the incident troubled authorities. The U.S.

Texas Confronts Continuing Drought

Nov 9, 2015
StateImpact Texas

Texas is being forced to make some hard choices about its water use, reports StateImpact Texas. In 2011, Texas endured the worst single-year drought in its history. The current drought began in 2010.

StateImpact Texas has built an impressive interactive page on the drought, which you can view here.


One of my favorite features of winter is being able to see bird nests in leafless trees. I like to figure out what species lives in a particular area so I can look for it when days lengthen, temps warm, and foliage hides those cobbled together nurseries.

Creative Commons

From Kansas Agland's "Watchdog":

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is considering increasing fines for people ignoring the state’s mandate to report annually the volume of water they pump from wells or for exceeding limits on water use.

That’s a no-brainer. An even better stick would be to revoke their water rights altogether.

Andy Marso / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Bill would give Department of Agriculture oversight of ‘noxious weed’ designation.

The rows of grapevines at Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery near Paola are withering, with dying leaves and shriveling fruit.

But that’s expected this time of year.


A search for fall foliage color doesn't always have to be high in the trees.  This week we'll lower our sights and investigate a succulent plant that brings many of the colors of the rainbow during its three growing seasons of the year.  Sedum seems to have so many positives for growing in sometimes difficult zone 5 gardens, and it definitely thrives in a zone 6 habitat.  Low water demands and a preference for slightly alkaline soils make it a winner, even without the striking rusty red color that comes around in autumn.   

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Updated at 11:30 a.m. with comment from USDA

A senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a whistleblower complaint on Wednesday accusing the federal agency of suppressing research findings that could call into question the use of a popular pesticide class that is a revenue powerhouse for the agrichemical industry.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

If you think the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamp, the "Duck Stamp," is just for waterfowl hunters, think again! Whether you hunt, bird, photograph wildlife and scenery, collect stamps or conserve habitat, you'll want to purchase this stamp.

Luke Clayton

On this week's show, I'm making chicken fried wild pork cutlets for a couple buddies coming over.  Take a listen, and give it try!

Larry Weishun

As a kid, I lived 11 miles from Disneyland. I took for granted that I’d visit the happiest place on earth several times a year. And I did. Due to immaturity, I didn’t understand why my out of state cousins were so excited to visit Southern California and the Magic Kingdom. They were giddy about meeting Mickey and exploring Adventureland, and their enthusiasm for something so commonplace as Disneyland escaped me. After all, it was just a big amusement park with a bunch of costumed characters walking around waving at folks.