HPPR Environment

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

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

High Plains States Tackle Water Shortage

Aug 31, 2015
Vonoth Chandar / Flickr Creative Commons

High Plains states are working to combat the water shortage, reports Beef magazine.  

Evil Edibles

Aug 29, 2015

Let's set the table and see what's on the menu, weedwise.  Today we'll discuss weeds that can function as spring tonics, or green and leafy vitamin pills.  And some of the things I commonly toss on the compost heap could become the makings of a soup or salad course.      


Nothing is more enjoyable than sitting outside on a cool Kansas evening listening to live music and watching the sun set. That is until a couple days later when you realize chiggers showed up at the same party you attended. Over 48 hours, music and breeze-induced peace and relaxation turns into itchy torture. The hungry, invisible insect larvae ruin family picnics, exciting baseball games, plum picking, and a thousand other pleasurable summer activities.

NASA Scientist Sounds Water Shortage Alarm

Aug 27, 2015
Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

A NASA scientist has sounded the alarm on America’s water shortage, reports Beef magazine.  In a recent TED talk, Jay Famiglietti called for a massive shift in the way citizens and governments manage water. Famiglietti suggested the need for more efficient irrigation and better crop selection, including more saline-tolerant and drought-tolerant crops. He also called for improved pricing models, and the institution of national and global water policies.


A recent Standard & Poor report maintains that Oklahoma will face sharp economic consequences in the future as a result of man-made earthquakes.

In Oklahoma, Bees are Vanishing

Aug 25, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma lost a greater percentage of its honeybee colonies than any other state last year. As a result, beekeepers, scientists, and farmers met in Oklahoma City this month to create a plan to help pollinating insects survive. As reported by StateImpact Oklahoma, the meeting  focused on ways to balance the use of pesticides with an understanding of the chemicals’ dangers to pollinators.  

Cimarron National Grassland to Eradicate Salt Cedar

Aug 25, 2015
Public Domain

Residents of southwestern Kansas can expect to see some changes in the coming months. The Cimarron National Grassland will soon begin a project to eradicate salt cedar, reports Kansas Agland. The project will chemically treat 191 acres of the invasive species, also known as Tamarisk. The plants will be eradicated using nontoxic chemicals, by means of spray equipment, during September and October.


The Thompson Farm and Ranch straddles the Kansas-Nebraska line. Drought in this region is entering its fourth year. The Thompson family uses no-till practices to grow dryland wheat and corn and also run cows.

ewan_the_moomintroll / Flickr Creative Commons

America is losing groundwater at unsustainable rates. Although groundwater loss is underreported and poorly documented, it’s becoming a serious global problem, notes Beef Magazine.

Wild Hog Mexican Stew

Aug 21, 2015

Well, hello Folks!  

This week, I'm sharing one of my cooler weather recipes.  Fall's coming on, and if you have wild pork in your freezer, this is the perfect use.  If not, this is still the best fall stew you'll ever have.

As in most of my cooking, I seldom add exact quantities of any of the ingredients.

As Water Dwindles, Beef Producers Try to Stay Afloat

Aug 20, 2015
cenix / Thinkstock

Water is in short supply these days, and Beef Magazine is reminding beef producers to do their part to conserve water. There are multiple ways for ranchers to conserve water.

First and most obvious: Stop the leaks. Turn off all hoses.

The next method is a bit more complicated. It involves recycling. The place to start is with feed yard retention ponds. Ranchers should consider developing a system that cleans the water and makes it acceptable for livestock use.

Grasses as Grinches

Aug 19, 2015

Broadleaf weeds are sometimes a walk in the park compared to controlling unwanted grasses.  Our six-part series on weeds moves from flowerbeds to lawns as we look at some of the better known bad boys that can take over a front or back yard in a single season if given half a chance.  We'll also discuss the dangers of some grassy grinches that can cause real trouble for man's best friend.     


Playas benefit from practices that result in good soil health. Improving the health and quality of the soil is one of the easiest and most effective ways producers can increase crop productivity - hence profitability - while benefiting wildlife and improving the environment.


The National Drought Mitigation Center’s latest Drought Monitor has been released, and areas of southern Kansas and eastern Colorado were 2-4 degrees above normal for the week. Above-normal precipitation was confined mainly to portions of northern and eastern Kansas and western and central Nebraska, with departures of up to 3 inches above normal observed over north central Kansas. With the cooler conditions and recent rains, most of Nebraska and northwest Kansas was no longer classified as “abnormally dry.”

Die Fly!

Aug 16, 2015

If curses and death wishes worked, a fly couldn’t survive, let alone buzz in anyone’s ear or crawl on their flesh, near my house. In the last two weeks, I’ve thought or said, “Die fly,” at least a 10,000 times. Unfortunately, wishing these creepy crawlers into the afterworld has had absolutely no effect. It’s time for an attack plan.


Today, I'm sharing a recipe from my book, Kill to Grill.  It's a variation of a dish my grandma and mom used to make.  I modified it to take less time, but still taste just as wonderful!  

Creepy Crawlies

Aug 12, 2015

A look at perennial and annual weeds that vine, twine, and torment gardeners throughout the HPPR region.  These creepy crawlers require almost daily purging, whether by hand weeding or a healthy spritzing of weed killer.  And still they often return, like the cast of a bad horror flick!  

Clean Power Plan Adds More Doubt to Holcomb Expansion

Aug 11, 2015
Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

From Kansas Public Radio:

The Clean Power Plan recently announced by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by almost one-third over the next 15 years. And, as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, tucked into the plan’s thousands of pages is language that makes it even less likely that a new coal-fired power plant will ever be built in southwest Kansas.

Dale Daniel

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says there are four principles to improving soil health: 1) keep soil covered as much as possible; 2) disturb the soil as little as possible; 3) keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; and 4) diversify as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Aug 10, 2015
Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don’t plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

A few years ago, we replaced the windows in our house. I expected dust, noise, flies, and suffering through hundred degree plus July days, but I didn’t expect an Oscar quality actor to make an appearance. One thing about living in the country, something unexpected always happens. Because of our remodeling project, I faced one of my most dreaded fears—a snake in the kitchen.  

Luke Clayton

 Well, hello folks!  Today, Cindee sat down with me and we talked a little about how hogs came to the United States.  They're aren't a native species.  They've been brought to the area in multiple waves, starting back as far as the Spanish explorer, Desoto.

Take a listen, you just might learn a thing or two.

The rains have turned brown back to green once again, but in terms of the aquifer, it's not enough.

In a Changing World, Texas Expands Solar Usage

Aug 6, 2015
Portuguese_eyes / Creative Commons

As the second-largest state and one of the hottest. Texas leads the US in solar energy potential, reports The Texas Tribune. But up to now, Texas has squandered that opportunity as lawmakers provided few incentives to encourage solar expansion. Solar energy still makes up a tiny percentage of the state’s power supply.


Last week we visited about a weed called nutsedge that was relatively new to me until I put in a garden fountain and thus created an ideal world for this water loving bad boy.  Today, we'll begin to revisit a series of stories about weeds- those pesky, prankish guests who come to the garden party without an invitation and can wind up taking over the entire  homestead.   Though originally aired 4 years ago, I think you'll find most of those bad boys of the garden world are still around and still causing headaches for gardeners. 

Slideshow: Amarillo Residents Concerned About Flooding

Aug 4, 2015

Overnight storms in Amarillo this week broke the record for year-to-date rainfall. Amarillo.com reports that the city has seen almost 27 inches of rain this year. This brings the total past the previous record, set in 1960. In neighborhoods around Amarillo’s playa lakes, flooding has become a serious concern. Citizens near the 77th street neighborhood have been stacking sandbags around their houses.

Texas Observer

The Texas Observer has reported on a new study which found that greenhouse gas emissions could cost Texas billions if left unchecked. The report, by the Risky Business Project, studied many factors, including rising energy costs and heat-related deaths. Texas is expected to be most affected by extreme heat and rising sea levels. Hot temperatures could have a debilitating effect on agriculture, and the encroaching ocean will lead to significant property damage.

Oklahoma Lags Behind Nation in Solar Usage

Aug 3, 2015
U.S. Department of Energy / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

In Oklahoma, oil and gas are king. The state is also a powerhouse when it comes to wind energy, ranking fourth in the nation.  But when it comes to solar energy, the state has some catching up to do, according to StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR stations. Oklahoma’s deficiencies in the area of solar energy have nothing to do with the sun, and everything to do with state policy.

Creative Commons

Texans are being asked to curb their electric usage as demand has reached record-breaking levels, reports The Texas Tribune. The operator of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which covers most of the state, is asking Texas consumers to use less electricity wherever possible.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!

Here's my view this morning.  As I sit here, waiting for the feeder to bring the fish to this corner of my pond, my thoughts are running to how I got to this place in my life.  Why is my life about the outdoors?  The answer came to me relaxing on this dock.  Being outdoors gives me space to think.  There's a tranquility I can't find anywhere else.  Take a listen, you'll hear the crickets, the birds, the peacefulness of it all.  I'm encouraging you to spend a little time in the stillness of the country, away from people, traffic, and noise before summer's over.  You might discover something about yourself you never took time to find.

Until next time, enjoy the great outdoors.