HPPR Environment

Awareness:
geography
geology
hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
flora
fauna (wildlife)
climate
weather
ecosystems
climate change

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

Dale Daniel

A functioning playa provides water to recharge the aquifer. There's also a whole community of wetland plants and invertebrates that need the very shallow water found in a healthy playa. These plants and invertebrates provide food for migrating birds. But when a playa has a pit, it is like "pulling the drain in a bathtub" and it no longer holds water very well. Rehabilitating playas by filling pits restores natural function to those wetlands.

Luke Clayton

Curing and smoking ham at home is very easy. Pictured here are the hams from a 50 pound porker I took on a recent hunt. You can do this yourself!

Here how:

Order a packet of maple sugar cure from Frisco Spices www.friscospices.com. You will actually receive two packages of cure which is plenty for even a couple of ten pound hams. 

Mix a packet of cure with two quarts of water to create the brine. Place hams into the brine and place in refrigerator.

The Perfect Houseplant

Feb 25, 2015
greenacres4u.com

A trip to the supermarket produce section can result in great beginnings for growing your own bromeliads.  This week's Growing on the High Plains looks at a popular tropical plant that doesn't take a lot of care and pays off with beautiful blooms for weeks on end.

Wickipedia Creative Commons

The Sierra Club is calling on Kansas lawmakers to protect Kansans from earthquakes and pollution linked to fracking.  

The environmental group is backing two bills at the Statehouse. One would set new requirements for wells using hydraulic fracturing. The other would make drillers provide a risk pool to pay for damages caused by the industry. Until that pool is established, there would be a moratorium on new injection disposal wells in Harper and Sumner counties, where earthquake activity has been unusually high. The Sierra Club’s Joe Spease says the KCC has passed the buck to the legislature—which has shown no interest in taking action.

What Are Playas?

Feb 23, 2015

 We grew up on the High Plains thinking of those occasionally muddy pasture depressions as "buffalo wallows," "rainwater basins" or "mud holes." Turns out, scientists are learning those playas play a significant role recharging aquifers such as the Ogallala.

Luke Clayton

I recently wrote about how much there is to do in the outdoors this time of year. Well, last week, I took my own advice and brought my words to fruition by first joining goose guide Rick Hrncir with Family Affair Guide Service for a Conservation goose hunt south of Corsicana and later in the week, did some fishing down in east Texas. So, relax in your easy chair and let me recap both outings with you. Hopefully you can find time this week to get out and enjoy some late winter activities.

Winter Catfishin

Feb 13, 2015
Luke Clayton

The dead of winter is prime time for catching giant blue catfish. The listening area of High Plains Public Radio encompasses some of the very best catfishing waters in the country. In today's show, Luke highlights some of his favorite catfish waters and discusses a big catfish tournament down in Texas that is scheduled later this month, details at kingkatusa.com.   

Derek Ramsey/Wikimedia

A new report from the environmental group The Center for Food Safety says a Monsanto herbicide is to blame for a vast decline in the monarch butterfly population.

The Glyphosate herbicide, commonly known as Roundup, destroys weeds, including the common milkweed. And that’s a problem for monarch butterfly caterpillars, which only eat the plant.

As milkweed has disappeared from Midwest farms, there’s been a steady decline in the number of monarchs overwintering in Mexico.

Orchids 101

Feb 11, 2015
wikipediacommons.org

Growing your own orchids can be challenging unless you plan ahead and consider investing some time in learning what makes these tropical flowers so special to so many floral fans.  Today we'll talk about air, water, light, and growing mediums.

wikipedia.org

Kyle Dillard, a Milnesand, NM, rancher is taking advantage of an NRCS program. He's a cow/calf man in eastern New Mexico - right in the middle of a large Lesser Prairie-Chicken population.

wsj.com

No-till farming is a practice where plant material is left to shield the soil and to decay.  A process that produces valuable nutrients.  It also increases production and water content in soil, and requires fewer input costs says Scott Ravenkamp.  He’s a farmer from the eastern Colorado town of Hugo. 

This report comes from Kansas AgLand.

Lance Feikert no-till farms near Bucklin, Kansas, southeast of Dodge City.  He estimates only about one-fourth of the land around him is no-till.

J.N. Stuart/Flickr Commons

The lack of fire as a management tool on the Great Plains has permitted indigenous and foreign woody plants to encroach on prairie grasslands, reducing Lesser Prairie-Chicken habitat. Through the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative, NRCS can help producers and range managers remove woody invasive species – through burning, cutting and spraying. We tell one Oklahoma Panhandle rancher's experience participating in the NRCS initiative.

PARTICIPANTS:

Jordan Shearer
Beaver Co. Rancher
Slapout, OK

kansasagnetwork.com

Feral hogs are expanding their range, and now reside in more than 40 states.  They cause about $1.5 billion in damage every year reports Kansas Agland.

Charlie Lee is a wildlife management for Kansas State University Research and Extension.  He says the pigs damage crops, can kill young livestock and wildlife, destroy property, damage plant communities, and can carry diseases that threaten livestock.

That’s why the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, wants to reduce feral hog damage on a national level.

thewildbeat.com

This week, Luke discusses some of his views on hunting on HIGH PLAINS OUTDOORS. It's important for hunters to show respect for the animals and birds that they hunt. Granted, wild hogs are a problem for many in the south and southeast but swine, for many decades have been a staple food source. Even though wild hogs present problems to landowners, they are still animals and, as wild hogs, game animals. They should be treated with respect by hunters.

Houseplant Basics

Jan 28, 2015
countrysideindustries.com/

A look at some of the most popular and easiest houseplants to keep you in greenery for the cold season.  Skip looks at the four basics needs of a healthy houseplant, and how to create a suitable environment in often overheated winter homes. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Healthy rangelands help the long-term sustainability of the landowner and the Lesser Prairie-Chicken.

Practices that bolster the bird's habitat  are also good for ranching, and can lead to improved rangeland health. NRCS provides technical and cost-assistance for grazing management programs under the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative.

PARTIPANTS

Christian Hagen
Science Advisor
NRCS LePC Initiative
Bend, OR

Jon Ungerer
Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative Coordinator
NRCS
Marysville, KS

There’s a new study that says antibiotics used to treat livestock and antibiotic-resistant genes that pose a threat to humans can be carried by the wind from large livestock operations reports Politico.

Researchers at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University say they found six veterinary antibiotics in dust samples downwind from 10 large beef cattle feedlots in Texas. 

Kansasagland.com

The Kansas Aqueduct Committee recently met in Salina to discuss the viability of taking water out of the Missouri river and diverting across the state to Western Kansas.  This report comes from Kansas Agland.

The conversation flowed smoothly until Committee member Tim Rhodd, expressed disapproval of the concrete-lined ditch.  Rhodd is the chairman of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.  He says the project will push his region into the same water crisis facing the western part of the state. 

Luke Clayton

"What's for supper tonight, Luke?"    Give me twenty minutes and we will be eating gumbo!

This week, Luke tells divulges his quick and easy method of making  "Instant Gumbo"!

Begin cooking a couple gallons of gumbo stock which contains all the baiscs, ie.  tomaotes, okra, celery, bell pepper and onion. This can be preserved by canning in quart jars or freezing in quart freezer bags.

wikipedia.org

Bonsai is an ancient, living art form that never is completed.  It requires focus, balance, and composition.  Bonsai live for a hundred years, so many times plants are passed from one generation to the next.  Bonsai are never centered, but always placed to one side or another.  The plants are trained to an asymmetrical balance. 

This kind of gardening teaches patience, introduces the glories of solitude, and opens the mind to thoughts about size and scale, and the importance of a single leaf or action.

lawnpatiobarn.wordpress.com

Thank goodness for houseplants. Without them, gardeners might have a hard time making it through the hard times of winter.  Jade is a natural-born houseplant perfect for busy people who want a bit of winter greenery, but don’t want to take on a major houseplant commitment.  

Lori Potter / Kearney Hub

The NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program targets funds to priority resource concerns such as a lack of wildlife habitat, erosion control, water quantity, and water quality. Partners, like water conservation management districts, submit proposals to help producers install and maintain conservation activities in select project areas. These proposals often included innovative or experimental approaches.

Luke Clayton

Hello Folks!

The last buck of the season brought a big surprise to this ole boy.  I was set up in my ground blind, the last day of deer season, the last hours of the day, when movement caught my eye.  And, there was a big ole tom bobcat.  I thought he'd just look around, and then go on his way, but the rascal headed right for the door of my blind.  He was about six feet away when I shut the door.  There simply was not enough room for ole Luke and that cat in the blind.

That really got me going!

cdc.gov

Already, flu and pneumonia have been a factor in more than 500 deaths in Kansas reports KPR’s Bryan Thompson.

 People older than 64 or younger than five are being hit the hardest. The CDC is advising people with chronic conditions, pregnant women, senior citizens, and small children to take antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, if they become infected. Dr. Mike Munger, at St. Luke’s South Primary Care, in Overland Park, says the drugs need to be taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms to minimize the severity of the flu.

farmingthedream.com

Organic farming may be just as healthy for the farmers who practices it as it is to their consumers reports the Center for Rural Affairs.

Researchers at the National Institute of Health recently completed a 20 year study on the connection between pesticides and depression in farmers.

A long-lived garden

Jan 7, 2015
goinghometoroost.com

This was the year that keeps on giving when it comes to the garden, except for the beets that I replanted three times with no results.

I'm hoping to have a few last salads in the New Year with my remaining tomatoes. 

oklahomafarmreport.com

Producer Joel Bergman of Loomis, Nebraska, talks about how he switched from labor-intensive canal and gravity irrigation to pivot and underground drip systems on his 1500-acre operation. The Bergman farmstead prevents one pivot system from sweeping 360 degrees, bypassing the pie-slice where the farmstead is located. Bergman proposed putting in a wiper center pivot and 20-acres' worth of underground drip irrigation.

Getting off the chemical treadmill

Jan 4, 2015
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Farmers engaged in an epic struggle with “superweeds” – weeds that don’t die even when sprayed with herbicide – are looking for help from a new super chemical that’s about to hit the market.

Currently the last line of defense against weeds not felled by other herbicides, the new chemical could be defeated if it is overused and farmers could be left in even worse straits.  

Pigweed Problem

Herbicide-resistant Pigweeds are marching north into soybean and corn fields across the Midwest from the southern U.S. where they choked cotton fields so completely that the land cannot be farmed They can grow up to seven feet tall and produce more than half a million seeds per plant, per season.

Quentin Hope

A report on water use for fracking in Texas finds that it is not the only or even the most significant contributor to the longstanding problem of water use in Texas. 

The policy brief by The Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at Texas A&M University is based on a study that looks closely at water use in the Eagle Ford Shale formation in south Texas where fresh groundwater aquifers are overdrawn by nearly 2.5 times their recharge rate.  Hydraulic fracturing operations there make up the third largest use of groundwater, well behind irrigation, the primary use.  However, hydraulic fracturing does requires large amounts of water, roughly five million gallons, for each well.

Kevin Rolle flickr/creative commons

The Kansas Biological Survey at KU has been awarded a $2.1 million contract to play an essential role in the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan, a program resulting from the bird being listed as an endangered species in May of last year.  Companies that enroll in the plan, pay mitigation fees and follow recommended conservation measures are exempted from provisions of the Endangered Species Act and protected from penalties.

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