HPPR Environment

10:58 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Current Drought Conditions on the High Plains

Lead in text: 
The High Plains Regional Climate Center, based in Lincoln, Nebraska, released its updated report ending May 30. Read the status reports directly from the source, as well as links to the seasonal drought outlook, the drought impact report, and individual state statistics.
Large amounts of rain fell in the eastern portion of the High Plains Region this past week. This rain continues to aid in the drought recovery in the Region.
Environment
8:01 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Keep Important Documents Safe During Storm Season

The spring storm season is in full force across the high plains, and one thing to cross off your worry list is your important documents.  The official federal government website, USA.gov, recommends that you keep one copy of vital documents in an off-site location, such as a safe deposit box, and another in a fire and water proof container at home for easy access.  You also may want to consider digitizing documents so they can be placed on a thumb drive.

Here is a partial list of documents to be included for safe keeping:

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
5:35 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Full Moon: All is Still

Necessity is the mother of invention, and that is certainly true for Don Gresham.  He had a problem with feral hogs tearing up his ranch, and decided to try a new approach to catching them.  He began using a portable pen, a feed broadcaster, and a wildlife camera.  He and his son discovered that even with evidence of a previous night's hunt, the animals still came into the pen.  They thought they could be onto something that would help other ranchers dealing with the same pest, and started to market it.  A buddy of Don's developed an ap for smart phones to monitor the trap from any location, and Goin Fencin was born. 

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

Rainwater Basin Conservation: Landowner Story

Credit Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

Laurel Badura, wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, found incentive funding allowing ag producer Bart Jacobson to renovate and conserve a rainwater basin on grassland that's grazed by cattle and sheep under aggressive management.

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Playa Country episode
8:01 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Rainwater Basins and Playa Wetlands: What Are the Differences?

Credit Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

A 21-county area of south central Nebraska is home to thousands of rainwater basins. These basins are identical in function to the wetlands of the southern plains known as playas, but different forces formed rainwater basins and playas.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

Conservation Easements: Preserving Ranching Heritage in Central Kansas Hill Country

Credit ks-mo-hunt.org

Chester Peterson, Jr., of Lindsborg, Kansas, owns grass and cropland on the western margin of the Flinthills, a rolling landscape of tall- and shortgrass prairie largely unchanged since settlers crossed it in the 1860s.

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Playa Country Episode
1:12 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Conservation Easements: Water Conservation in Northeast Colorado

Credit colorado open lands

When Denver physician and sportsman Kent Heyborne bought land in northeast Colorado, his intent was to leave it undeveloped as bird habitat. But working with Ducks Unlimited along the South Platte River, he created a water-conservation project resulting in neighboring farms gaining additional irrigation credits.

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HPPR Environment
3:45 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Who's on the hook for nearly $17 billion paid to farmers?

The extent and degree of 2012 crop losses is clear in this map of crop insurance policy payouts.
Credit USDA Risk Management Agency

Nearly $17 billion has been paid out to farmers in crop insurance indemnities to cover the losses from the catastrophic drought of 2012, the government reported this week.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Ogallala Aquifer Conservation: Playa renovation on the Grissom Ranch

Credit Playa Lakes Joint Venture

Southeast Colorado rancher Grady Grissom and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory manager Seth Gallagher discuss renovation of a playa on the Grissom Ranch. The wetland had been "pitted," and a flat playa bottom was restored, which normalized plant-life, then birdlife, around the playa.

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Oklahoma Panhandle
11:32 am
Sun March 24, 2013

What’s Next for ‘Lake’ Optima, the Reservoir That Never Filled?

Weston Storer, biologist at Beaver River, Optima, and Rita Blanca Wildlife Management Areas points toward Optima Dam and what's left of the reservoir.
Credit LOGAN LAYDEN / STATEIMPACT OKLAHOMA

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built more lakes in Oklahoma than any other state. Some of those reservoirs struggle to fill, especially during drought, or end up holding more silt than water. But none have been a bigger failure than Lake Optima.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Playa Health: The Importance of Buffers

Credit Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory

Research indicates that a buffer surrounding a playa lake, consisting typically of native grasses and forbs, prevents migration of upland topsoil and farm chemicals into lowland wetlands such as playa lakes and rainwater basins. The buffers are important to rangeland playas, but are vital when playas are situated in fields under crop production. This story is part three of a four-part series on playa health. It originally aired on HPPR Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Playa Sedimentation: Causes and Fixes

Credit U.S. EPA

Playa lakes are effective vectors for groundwater recharge and water filtration, but that assumes they're in a healthy state.

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Harvest Public Media story
7:12 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Drought raises stakes on Republican River

The Republican River in Hitchcock County completely dry on July 25th, 2005.
Credit Melissa Widhalm, NDMC

There’s a border war going in the Midwest and it’s over water. Kansas and Nebraska have been battling for years over the water in the Republican River, which runs from Colorado to Kansas, through Nebraska.

Farmers in all three states depend on the Republican River to irrigate their fields and with agriculture such a prominent industry in the Midwest, the water battle amounts to a big deal. Kansas and Nebraska’s current dispute will eventually head to the U.S. Supreme Court. And with many farmers dealing with drought and planning for water restrictions, the battle is heating up.

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Playa Country Episode
1:12 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Ogallala Aquifer Conservation

Credit sitename.com

The USDA promotes Ogallala Aquifer conservation with NRCS money for cost-share projects, and a significant report published by the National Academy of Sciences stresses the need to conserve groundwater, and the state of Kansas changes water-rights laws to foster a culture of conservation rather than consumption.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Providing Biodiversity in the Plains

Credit Texas Cooperative Extension

Scientists are increasing their understanding of how playas contribute to the landscape. They’ve learned these temporary lakes are a major source of aquifer recharge, but there's another aspect - the abundant bio-diversity playas create.

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Playa Country Episode
4:22 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Recharging the Ogallala Aquifer

Credit Texas Parks and Wildlife

We grew up on the High Plains thinking of those occasionally muddy pasture depressions as "buffalo wallows," "rainwater basins" or "mud holes."

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Prescribed Burning: success stories

Prescribed Burn
Credit Kansas Pheasants & Quail Forever

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.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

The Benefits of Burning

Prescribed Burning
Credit Heartland Conservation Services

Native Americans used fire to manage rangeland for thousands of years, but a 100-year burning hiatus followed settlement by Europeans of the North American heartland. Those decades of fire suppression allowed invasive plants to negatively alter the landscape.

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Playa Country Episode
12:04 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Final episode of Invasive Species on Playa Country

Eastern Red Cedar
Jim Mason

On Tuesday at 6:44 pm central time, we will hear the final episode of Invasive Species on Playa Country. This report covers woody shrub invasions and control efforts in Nebraska. Biologist Kirk Schroeder of Grand Island enumerates particular weeds invading Nebraska: phragmites is a growing problem in waterways and riparian land, Russian Olive and Eastern Red Cedar (ERC) are invading uplands. Tom Hartman of Grand Island manages the family ranch at Scotia, NE, and faced an onslaught of ERC. He and neighbors have been controlling with mechanical removal followed by fire.

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Playa Country Episode
12:01 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Invasive Species series continues on Playa Country

Oklahoma Historical Society

The second in the three-part series on invasive species airs this week on Playa Country.  On Tuesday at 6:44 pm central time, Biologist Gene Miller describes the problem with invasives along the banks of the Canadian River in the Texas panhandle and western Oklahoma. He and NRCS rangeland manager Clint Rollins created the consortium the Canadian River Cooperative Weed Management Area, a group of agencies, non-governmental organizations and landowners conducting invasive weed control efforts.

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Playa Country Episode
11:20 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Playa Country returns to HPPR

Starting Tuesday evening during All Things Considered, Playa Country returns to the air. Playa Country features stories from experts in the fields of conservation, wild life management, farming, ranching and land management. All focused on the future of one of our area's most important resources, the Ogallala aquifer.

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