HPPR Environment

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

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

Darryl Birkenfeld / Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

A new program for counting birds relies on random data-collection-points across a landscape -- some on public land, some on private. Ranchers shudder when there's talk a critter might be listed as threatened or endangered; rules sometimes are imposed that impact or impede operations.

A List of the Most and Least Efficient States

9 hours ago
Creative Commons

The website wallethub.com has published a list of America’s most and least energy efficient states. The site measured the efficiency of car- and home-energy consumption in the continental US. Researchers took into account both home and car efficiency.

Luke Clayton

My wife and I are making the annual trek to Galveston Bay for some fishing.  This year it's about red fish and trout.  I'm going out with Captain Mark Gonzales, he's with Captain Mike's Galveston Fishing Guides.

I'm sending you this audio postcard for a little taste of the great time I'm having, although I'm telling you, it's not as good as the red fish with lemon and butter I'm grilling for supper tonight.

Stay tuned.  Next week I'll have another adventure!

roy.luck / Flickr Creative Commons

In light of recent earthquakes, officials near the oil hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, are considering a worst-case scenario plan. According to the Journal Record, 11 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have been recorded near the Cushing oil hub since April. If one tank were damaged in a quake, oil companies could easily respond. But if all of the storage tanks were damaged by large earthquakes, first responders would be overwhelmed.

In NW Kansas, Fear of Worsening Drought Conditions

Oct 8, 2015

A dry late summer in Northwest Kansas has raised concerns about a potential return to drought conditions. The latest US Drought Monitor listed the region’s drought status as “moderate,” reports Prairie Farmer.

Much of Kansas has seen enough rain to rescue wheat yields and nourish fall crops. But the stubborn northwest region has seen diminished yields of corn and soybeans. And some analysts are beginning to have concerns about next year’s winter wheat crop. 


This week we'll visit about companion planting, and more specifically about what's probably the most famous coupling of a threesome of vegetables.  Based on an ancient Native American technique called the Three Sisters, we'll explore the support system provided when you plant beans, corn, and squash together.  And we'll throw in a couple of extra 'sisters' for good measure.   


A group of Oklahoma state energy officials and oil industry experts issued a primer last week on how the state should handle earthquakes caused by oil and gas activity. The report was compiled by a group called StatesFirst, according to StateImpact Oklahoma.

Heartland Conservation Services

The association formed in 2006 and covers Roger Mills and Beckam counties. The group addresses the four common reasons people do not use prescribed fire: liability, training/experience, labor, and equipment.


Well Folks,

Today it's all about setting up to hunt whitetail deer in the geographic center of the United States- Lebanon, Kansas.  We just finished up our elk hunting in Colorado, and on the way back to Texas, made a loop to stop by my buddy's farm to get ready to take a big grain-fed deer.

The deer in northern Kansas are much bigger than the ones down in Texas.  My friend, Mark Balette and I have seen some pretty good deer sign, so I think our blinds are placed well.  We've got some mobile ground units we can move if we need to make some adjustments.

A New Colorado Water Law Is Put to the Test

Sep 30, 2015
Geoff Elliott / Grand Environmental Services

A groundbreaking 2013 Colorado law allows water rights owners to allocate water to a river during times of low flow. And now that law is being put to the test, reports National Geographic. The law is important because it challenges the old “use-it-or lose-it” rule of water conservation.

Allison V. Smith

The discovery of chronic wasting disease in Texas in June has sent nervous tremors through the state, reports The Texas Tribune. It’s the second instance of the disease in Texas, and it represents a potentially serious blow to the Lone Star State’s $2.2 billion hunting industry.

Oklahoma Grazing Lands Conservation Association

Oklahoma State University's Dept. of Natural Resource Ecology & Management is researching effects of limited prescribed burning or "patch burning" to create a mosaic of patches across the landscape. Early research findings indicate better forage grasses and increased biodiversity.

Drought Monitor: Overall US Drying Trend Continues

Sep 28, 2015

the overall drying and warming trend continued recently, according to the most recent US Drought Monitor. Despite plentiful spring rains, drier weather over much of Texas during the summer resulted in rapidly deteriorating conditions. Showers and thunderstorms have continued to spread through northern Texas and western Oklahoma, areas mostly devoid of drought at this time. On the Plains, many farmers are awaiting more rain before planting winter wheat.

Luke Clayton

Well, folks this is the last installment from Elk Camp for this year.  I'm sending you this last post card on a rainy morning from inside our guide "hut" which is actually a cattle trailer we've partitioned into three separate living areas for the three of us guides.

Before you get to feeling too sorry for ole' Luke, it's warm, dry, and it's off the ground, and that's way better than an old tent.

Our hunters stay in a nice little cabin about 60 yards away.

Supermoon Eclipse is Sunday

Sep 25, 2015

Fall is right around the corner and if you’re a stargazer this is good news.  The nights are longer, the temperatures cooler and the bugs will soon be gone. This month is a great time to get out and observe one of nature’s best events - a total lunar eclipse.  

Study: Crop Diversity Has Declined in US

Sep 24, 2015
US Census of Agriculture

A new study indicates that the diversity of crops grown by American farmers since 1978 has declined, reports The Rural Blog. The study was performed at the county level. It discovered that the lowest crop diversity was found in the upper Midwest states. States in the West and South fared better.

Areas with high crop diversity tend to be more resistant to disease, pest, and crop failure. But there is room for swift positive change. Unlike natural ecosystems, croplands are replanted yearly. Thus, they can recover from stagnation more quickly.

Today is the September Equinox. The number of hours in the day and night are equally balanced all over the world- that's about 12 hours. The change in tilt causes the seasons. Here in the United States, the fall equinox is usually characterized by huge variations in temperature. The leaves are changing color, and an increase in low pressure usually brings in more rain, and maybe snow.

In Oklahoma, Continued Tilling Could Bring Trouble

Sep 22, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Tilling and planting on the same land in Oklahoma for generations has left the soil in poor shape. And StateImpact Oklahoma warns that if farmers don’t change the way they grow crops, there will be trouble.

Nathan Rupert / Flickr Creative Commons

Conservationists are upset by a new Colorado Parks and Wildlife effort to kill mountain lions in order to boost the mule deer population for hunting season. On the Huffington Post blog, a professor at the University of Colorado called the plan a “kill-kill” proposition.


Burning is a cost-effective method of controlling invasions of Eastern Red Cedar, but there's more to burning than simply touching torch to ground. Prescribed burns follow a precise, multi-page "prescription" to ensure efficacy and safety.


Oklahoma is considering installing a gun range in the state’s largest and oldest state park. NPR member station KGOU reports that state tourism officials are weighing plans for an outdoor sports shooting complex, which would be built at Lake Murray State Park. The proposal has generated complaints that the gun range could disturb the park’s ambience.

Luke Clayton

It's Elk Camp season, and I'm in the Rockies with the crew.  I'll be sending you audio postcards.  This show we're getting settled in, you'll hear from the ramrod of our outfit, and my partner Larry Large.  It's going to be a great time.  Listen to the audio, and enjoy the sounds of Elk Camp in the Rockies.

Food Companies Show Concern About Farm Runoff

Sep 18, 2015
Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The federal health reform law known as the Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from considering pre-existing health conditions when setting premiums for consumers. But they are able to consider age, location and tobacco use.

Wes Jackson has headed the Land Institute since it was established in 1976. Next year he plans on stepping down from his leadership position.

Flood waters from the Brazos River encroach upon a home in the Horseshoe Bend neighborhood, Friday, May 29, 2015, in Weatherford, Texas.Credit Brandon Wade / APEdit | Remove

Roger Mills, Prescribed Fire Association

Biologist Peter Berthelsen of Pheasants Forever took action to educate land managers how to burn and created burn trailers stocked with all the hardware required to safely conduct prescribed burns. Scotia, Neb. rancher Tom Hartman talks about using fire to control an Eastern Red Cedar invasion.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

last month Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin finally acknowledged the oil industry’s culpability in the state’s recent spate of earthquakes. Meanwhile, on August 3rd the state imposed strict new limits on how much waste fluid companies can pump. These cuts are the state’s latest effort to stop the earthquakes, reports NPR member station KOSU. The new regulations require the amount of waste fluid to be cut by 38 percent by October.


Friends of ours who ranched along the Saline River found elk sheds buried in a bank when they were working cattle years ago. My first response was, “Impossible! We don’t have free-roaming elk in western Kansas.” After examining their treasures, it was clear the creature that lost these antlers inhabited this country over a century earlier. The ungulate that’d sported this rack had grazed native grasses and forbs before white men began tilling rich bottomland and running herds of cattle where buffalo once roamed.

Power Company to Invest in West Texas Solar Energy

Sep 11, 2015
Andreas Demmelbauer / Texas Tribune

the biggest power company in Texas has plans to harness sunshine. Luminant, a Dallas-based company, announced Tuesday that it would tap 116 megawatts of West Texas solar energy. That’s enough to power almost 60 thousand homes, reports The Texas Tribune.

Flower Power

Sep 9, 2015

We'll finish out our special series on weeds with a look at plants that could sometimes be mistaken for regular residents of a flower bed or border.

Their blooms can be colorful, but for the most part they will ultimately try to take over your garden space.  They also sometimes grow to ungainly proportions, so best to stay with basic well-known blooms and keep these interlopers out of your flower beds.