HPPR Environment

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

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

Kansas to Preserve and Develop Lake Scott State Park

Oct 28, 2015

The State of Kansas has announced plans to preserve and develop Lake Scott State Park, reports Kansas Agland. During a ceremony held on Monday at the lake, Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison announced the formation of the Scott State Park Historic Preservation and Development Committee.


Diane VanLandingham owns ranch land near LaJunta, CO, and has permitted bird counters with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies onto her land to survey bird species and count their populations.

University of Michigan

What a difference a few months can make in the realm of public opinion. According to The Rural Blog, and The Guardian, the number of Americans who now accept global warming as fact rests at 70%, up 7 points from July.

A Look at the World's Windiest Communities

Oct 21, 2015
LatitudeStock / Alamy

High Plains residents are intimately familiar with wind. A recent Weather.com post listed Amarillo, Texas, as the windiest city in the US. Some High Plains communities have discovered how to harness the wind’s power. For example, after Greensburg, Kansas, was destroyed by a tornado in 2007, residents rebuilt the town as a green energy paradise. Its wind now generates three times more power than the town uses.

Some landowners are wary of the motivations of technicians gathering bird data on their land. The more accurate data provided by the bird census program can benefit private landowners, who often shudder when there's talk a bird or animal might be listed as threatened or endangered because of land-use regulations such a listing can bring.

StateImpact courtesy of KQED Radio / Flickr Creative Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing for oil and gas officials in Oklahoma to do more to prevent industry-linked earthquakes in the state, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. The federal agency has asked industry regulators to reduce injection volumes, among other changes.

    How is it that gun-metal skies, golden leaves, and russet milo fields can stun the eye yet cause eyes to swell, noses to run, and throats to itch badly enough that sufferers want to take a wire brush after them? Every fall, these irritating symptoms remind me that spectacular seasonal beauty comes with a price. I don’t even have to stand in a field of this attractive grain. Living in the vicinity is enough to drive me and others nuts.

Prepare for Fall Weather Hazards

Oct 16, 2015
Public Domain

Autumn on the High Plains means time with family, a return to school, and a crisp chill in the air as the sun sets over rippling fields. But it can also mean winds, droughts, and floods. As fall descends and winter approaches, here is a friendly reminder from NOAA that now is the time to prepare for upcoming inclement weather and hazards. Here’s what High Plains residents can do to prepare for the season:

1. Know Your Risk

One Oil Company Fights New OK Earthquake Regulations

Oct 16, 2015
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After Oklahoma issued regulatory actions to try to curb a rash of oil-industry-related earthquakes in the state, one oil and gas operator is challenging the ruling, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. The Marjo Operating Co. Inc.’s filing is the first effort on the part of the oil and gas industry to prevent regulation.

Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

The Oklahoman reports that oilfield goliath Halliburton is offering settlements to property owners in Duncan, Oklahoma, after the chemical compound ammonium perchlorate showed up in their private wells. The settlements have been a long time coming—testing found pollution from spent rocket fuel in Duncan’s groundwater four years ago. But as the trial date neared, Halliburton decided that settling with Duncan’s residents was a safer course of action.

How a Dry State Grows Plenty of Thirsty Vegetables

Oct 15, 2015
National Geographic

High Plains farmers seeking to grow vegetables with little water resources might consider looking west.

Gardening goes green

Oct 14, 2015

A review of some of the things the home gardener can do to be a part of the solutions to looming ecological dilemmas.  Some of the things we'll look at concern soil additives, use of aerial sprays, and the growing amount of plastic that has become a part of a gardener's world. 

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

Oct 12, 2015
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.