HPPR Environment

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

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

Cindee Talley

This week it's Matt Lutz's turn to give a 'favorite five' for a xeric garden.  He decided to highlight shrubs that will thrive in a near-desert climate.   


No-till farming alone won’t build soil carbon.  Recent research revealed that conservation tillage practices don't have any advantage over conventional practices reported Adele Phillips for the Center for Rural Affairs.

Powdermill Nature Reserve

How do scientists get the data they need to study birds? A lot of data is collected by volunteers, "citizen scientists," through bird surveys and bird banding.


For weeks, I eye-balled a dead deer lying in a nearby wheat field. Each time I passed, I saw carrion eaters had whittled the carcass further. When I first spotted the broken body, I hoped a highway crew would clean it up, but after observing how many meals it provided not only to crows and magpies, but also to other scavengers, it served a better purpose where it was.

Cindee Talley

Horticulturalist Don Lonnberg gives us five of his favorites that will do well in a low-water, high-heat garden.


The Environmental Protection Agency announced its plan to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants nationwide.  States will decide how to meet the goals set by the EPA according to the Kansas Health Institute.


The drought is hammering fields, pastures, the Ogallala Aquifer, and Galveston Bay?  StateImpact Texas reported researchers suspect drought is causing the massive fish die off.  Millions of shad have washed ashore recently.


Increased methane levels in Texas water wells cannot be linked to nearby drilling activity according to a report released by the state’s oil and gas regulator said a recent article from StateImpact Texas


Oklahoma experienced very wet weather recently.  That seems to have improved drought conditions, but only in the southwest according to the latest updates from The U.S. Drought Monitor noted a recent article by StateImpact Oklahoma


Living in the same region and sharing roads, doctors, schools, and hair stylists doesn’t mean people see a common experience from the same perspective. Everything that’s happened to individuals prior to those events colors their interpretations. It’s true of two kids who grow up in the same house with the same parents but tell two different stories about their upbringing. People spin their own explanations. 


Howdy Folks!

Axis deer are a big deal down here in Texas. They came to the area on exotic ranches. Some of those rascals got loose, and now they free range across the state.


Thomas County had the most rain in the state of Kansas this month, but overall, it’s not alleviating the drought according to the Garden City Telegram.

Are the vast seas of corn and soybeans killing bees?


Today Skip begins a series on xeriscaping by introducing some people who will be our guides as we travel down the road to survival during the dry times.

Scott Bauer / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Western Kansas is a semi-arid region, with yearly precipitation at 17-19 inches. Progressive farmers understand their biggest challenge is capturing and holding every drop of moisture they can.


 This week begins a series about xeriscaping.  Sometimes our growing conditions leave us feeling as if we’re living in the desert.  Today, Skip will teach us what kind of landscaping thrives in heat without much water.  

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Mark Hilliard of Hale County, Texas, says, "This is cotton country. It's rare to find a pristine playa lake."


Millard Fowler is a centenarian from the panhandle of Oklahoma.  He remembers the 1930s when he was a young, newly married farmer. 


The fire outlook for Colorado was recently released by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control.  The document shows the areas with the greatest potential wildfire danger are the plains of Eastern Colorado reported Laura Palmisano for KVNF


Increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation may not be cyclic.  Dr. B.A. “Bob” Stewart recently released an analysis of data from 1895-2013 for the Texas High Plains.  He found the area is getting warmer and drier, and the recent drought is not a temporary state according to a study by Dr. Stewart for WTAMU.


This week GHP looks at the best way to insure success with shade trees, starting at the very beginning with good ideas on planting.  We've turned to Master Gardener and long-time tree grower Shirley Buller to line up some simple tips and techniques to get your trees started down the right road to a long, healthy, and shady life.


The depleting of aquifers and endless drought has spurred discussion, debate, and even court cases about who owns the water.  Groundwater and rain are familiar disagreements, but in Texas wastewater has stepped on stage. 


Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill this week that tells the U.S. government it has no authority to regulate prairie chickens within the state of Kansas.  The bill also threatens lawsuits against federal conservation efforts in an escalating dispute over reversing the population decline of the lesser prairie chicken according to a recent article from the Topeka Capital-Journal.


A huge wildfire swept through Hutchinson County Sunday and Monday.  About 100 houses were damaged or destroyed.  The bulk of the damage was at the Lake Meredith Harbor subdivision reported the Amarillo Globe-News.

Michael Pearce / kansas.com

McPherson County landowner Dale Schmidt bought ground he intended to farm, but often it was too wet to plant, or to harvest.


Typically, when you see wild turkeys, you see them in a flock. If they are seeking a morning breakfast of grasshoppers and other early rising insects, several dine together.  At night, they gather in  large groups to roost in a big tree that provides each bird its own branch.  However, they perch close enough to one another for the turkey equivalent of The Walton’s “Goodnight, John-boy” evening song.


Palo Duro Canyon is No. 1 on Fodor’s America’s 10 Best State Parks reported the Amarillo Globe-News.


Amarillo residents are not conserving water.  The city’s water usage goal is 52 million gallons per day.  Every day this month has exceeded that amount reported the Amarillo Globe-News.

Chris Coleman / StateImpact Texas

Forecasters say it looks like El Niño will reappear this fall.  That usually means more rain for Texas, but one meteorologist says it will have mixed results in the Lone Star State reported StateImpact Texas.



If you're looking for ways to cut energy costs in your home or business, don't just look inside.  Turn your gaze outside and consider planting some shade trees to help cool your abode in summer and keep it protected and filled with the warmth of natural sunlight in winter.