High Plains Public Radio

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

NOAA / Flickr Creative Commons

The cloud patterns that surround planet Earth appear to be changing their formation, according to PrairiePublic.org. A new study attributes the shift to global warming. The study used satellite data dating back to the 1980s to track cloud patterns.

nature.mdc.mo.gov

In the past week, I met a garden neighbor.  Apparently, this blue/green juvenile racerunner lizard moved from his burrow or wherever his last digs were into my 12 x 18 foot raised-bed garden.  Our hilltop is too rocky to support an in-ground garden, so we had to create our own little haven for tomatoes, peppers, onions, and okra.  Mr. Psychedelic must enjoy the insects that also call the Salsa in the Makings Ranch home, and he is now dining al fresco under the tomato vines.

While I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds, this little character’s reptilian movements alarmed me to leap swiftly to my feet.  After all, we live on a sunny, rocky hilltop that translates into perfect snake habitat.  I have found it is best to be on the lookout since slithery things live here too.  After my brain settled and eyes focused, I realized the new garden guard was a cute little lizard called a racerunner.

Pratt Tribune

From Kansas Agland:

In spite of the wildfire that burned nearly 400,000 acres of grassland in Barber and Comanche counties, farmers and ranchers continue to look to better times and a renewed commitment to their farm and ranch operations.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has fallen 25% this year, reports The Wall Street Journal. The decline comes after the state’s efforts to curb the oil and gas industry’s practice of pumping wastewater from its underground operations.

Seth McConnell / Denver Post

There’s a new visitor overtaking Colorado’s front range this summer, reports The Denver Post. Black-tusked tussock moth caterpillars have spread across 25,000 acres of the state in a single year. Authorities have spent almost $300,000 on a helicopter chemical assault to stop them.

www.ourhenhouse.org

 Something’s been eating my strawberries. Yes, the luscious berries that we planted two springs ago and carefully nurtured so we’d have fresh fruit over our ice cream and cake or sliced to sweeten a fresh  spinach salad. Since they first began blooming in May, I’ve harvested about 15 scarlet bursts of flavor that hip hop on my taste buds. Last week, I went to pick some for supper and discovered I’m not the only one that likes this spring treat.

Luke Clayton

In this weeks show, Luke takes you with him to the wilds of northeast Texas on a hog hunt with Tim Smith, owner and publisher of Airgun Hobbyist Magazine www.airgunhobbyist.com and Tim's son Ben. Ben is an accomplished marksman but this was his first big game hunt. We were hunting Terry Tate's ranch. Tate makes the Professional Big Bore Air Guns www.pbbairguns.com. Ben was successful in harvesting two wild hogs, one with the .45 caliber PBB Airgun  shootine a Hunter's Suipply roundball and one with an arrow using a Sam Yang rifle designed to shoot arrows. Not that Ben has his first big game animal in the cooler, he's ready for a lifetime of hunting adventures...the journey has begun!

wikipedia.org

Although apricots should be a stable staple of the fruit basket on the High Plains, the cantankerous spring weather often found in Western Kansas often gives skimpy rewards.  But sometimes just the sight of their early colorful blooms makes them worth the effort.   

Luke Clayton

Jump in the truck with me and let’s head down to Lake Tawakoni, located about an hour east of Dallas. Tawakoni is a great fishing lake for many species but especially blue and channel catfish. We’ll join veteran catfish guide David Hanson (903-268-7391) and enjoy some fast paced catching in the shade of the brand new Two Mile Bridge. David is baiting the area with soured grain and cattle cubes and catching regular limits of good eating channel catfish in the 1.5 to 3 pound range.

Brad Nading / Garden City Telegram

The “Ask Hutch” column at The Hutchinson News recently tackled a question that many rural dwellers have wondered about: Can you really be struck by lightning while taking a bath?  As children, many High Plains residents were warned against bathing during thunderstorms. A group of meteorologists agreed that the odds of being hurt like this are extremely rare. But it’s not impossible.

Green Bean Therapy

Jun 29, 2016

Let's talk about the life cycle of green beans, learn a little history of the plant, and talk about my favorite variety.  I enjoy picking beans in the cool morning.  In the company of my cats, I let my mind drift to the past and search out the future, line out chores to be done, and sometimes I find lost perspectives.  Leave your day planner on the desk and come out to the bean row if you really want to put your life in order.    

Naveena Sadasivam / Texas Tribune

A new book by a member of a think tank in Texas insists that renewable energy creates “false hope,” reports The Texas Tribune. In a talk last week, Kathleen Hartnett White praised fossil fuels and called the advent of fracking “breathtaking.” White directs the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment. While she spoke, protesters outside the event did their best to make their displeasure at her message known.

Luke Clayton

Join me this week and let's discuss catching and eating an often overlooked species of catfish, the bullhead.

There are three species of bullheads, the black, brown and yellow/, black being the most prevalent.

The Guardian

This week The Guardian posted an incredible timelapse video of a supercell storm developing in the skies over Kansas. Watch it here.

www.xerces.org

    

Today, Skip talks with Anthony Zukoff, and gets his list of favorite plants to put in your pollinator garden.  They are: blazing star, bee balm, golden rod, and milk weeds.

You can ask Anthony questions by searching for "Friends of Sand Sage Bison Range" on Facebook or by emailing him at: AZukoff@gmail.com

Troglodyte Miscue

Jun 17, 2016
learner.org

Kids love to find words that get under the skin of siblings or enemies. This term  gains power due scatological or other socially inappropriate connotations. For me, the word troglodyte, meaning knuckle-scraping Neanderthal, carried great import.. What could be more insulting?

Andrew Cullen / Reuters

Everyone knows that CO2 emissions are wreaking havoc on our atmosphere, leading to climate change. But there’s another gas causing even more trouble, and it gets less attention because it’s colorless and odorless. That gas is methane, and it’s a climate change powerhouse. In fact, methane is more than 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

J. Michael Lockhart / USFWS

35 endangered black-footed ferrets are being returned to Wyoming, reports The Topeka Capitol-Journal. The species was for a time believed to be extinct. Then, 35 years ago, a few of the critters were rediscovered in the wild on two ranches in the western part of the state. The Wyoming ferrets are just a few of the 220 captive-bred ferrets that will be released this year across the High Plains. Besides Wyoming, ferrets will be released in Montana, Colorado and Kansas.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!  It's your ole buddy, Luke Clayton, and I tell you, if you were to tell me 20 years ago I'd be fishing on Lake Fork for sand bass, I'd say you were absolutely crazy.

But, time changes everything, and today that's exactly what I'm doing with my buddy, Larry Large.  So, grab a glass of iced tea, put your feet up, and jump in the boat with us.

Swarm Season has beekeepers hunting for new hives

Jun 9, 2016
Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Late spring is swarm season, the time of year when bees reproduce and find new places to build hives. Swarms of bees leave the nest, flying through the air, hovering on trees, fences and houses, searching for a new home.

kshs.org

Today we'll talk with Anthony Zukoff.  He's an expert in Ecology, Zoology, and Entomology.  We'll get to know a little about the man, what took him from his roots on the East Coast to the High Plains of Southwestern Kansas.  

You can ask Anthony questions by searching for "Friends of Sand Sage Bison Range" on Facebook or by emailing him at: AZukoff@gmail.com

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Two years ago Oklahoma was experiencing a devastating drought. Then came 2015. Last year was the wettest year ever in Oklahoma. And the rain keeps coming. The state has breathed a collective sigh of relief since the drought’s end. But many climate scientists are now saying “not so fast,” reports StateImpact.

Tanner Colvin / AP photo

Roughly fifty tornados were sighted in Kansas last week, according to The Wichita Eagle. The most powerful was an EF-4 that grew to a half-mile wide. The twister was on the ground for 90 minutes and its roar could be heard two miles away. This sort of activity is par for the course in Tornado Alley. Bryan Baerg, a meteorologist with the Topeka branch of the National Weather Service, explained: “It’s late May, so it comes with the territory.”

noaa.gov

The Washington Post recently published this video of a Haboob descending on the airport in Lubbock on May 29.

A haboob is a massive and intense dust storm.

Watch here:

Colorado Ski Country USA, Jack Dempsey / AP photo/ CPR

Though it may seem like summer to most, in the mountains of Colorado it’s still winter. Two prominent Colorado resorts have extended their ski seasons well into June, reports Colorado Public Radio.

About 120 acres of terrain will be opened to skiers and snowboarders this weekend at Aspen Mountain. Aspen also offered bonus skiing on Memorial Day weekend.

Luke Clayton

   In the 26 years that I have been writing this weekly outdoors column, I’ve come to learn thatmost of us that enjoy hunting and fishing also like to learn new ways to put the fruits of our outings to good use. We all have our special recipes and favorite ways to cook fish and game.

About six years ago, my friend Mike Pullen with Frisco Spices (www.friscospices.com) instructed me in the simple process of canning venison. Mike shipped me a jar of his Au Jus Base with instructions for making some of the tastiest canned venison imaginable.

Sandy and Chuck Harris / Flickr Creative Commons

From Harvest Public Media:

Monarch butterflies are disappearing. Scientists agree that in the last 20 years, populations of the black and orange insect have been in precipitous decline. But there's much less certainty on what’s causing them to vanish.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

If you didn’t know better, you might think Western Oklahoma was in the midst of an aviation renaissance. Of late, there’s been a rush to register private airstrips in rural areas, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. But these new landing areas aren’t planning to attract travel. They were created to keep wind turbines out.

Sentry Siren / New York Times

May and early June are the busiest time of the year for tornados on the High Plains. And that means many flatlanders are used to the sounds of tornado sirens in their neighborhoods. In our highly technological era, it might seem like tornado sirens have outlived their usefulness. But, as The New York Times reports, the sirens are still putting an old technology to good use.

Luke Clayton

Luke discusses fishing reports this week and how best to "glean" reliable fishing information that will help you catch fish on your next outing. Luke also shares a bit of humor concerning a fishing trip earlier this week when he thought he "had em' figured out!"

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