HPPR Environment

Science news

State Impact Texas

 A new study from the University of Texas shows the recent cluster of earthquakes are mostly caused by oil and gas extraction reported State Impact Texas

Cliff Frohlich is the Associate Director at UT’s Institute for Geophysics and lead author of the study. 

“The question we were looking at was, were quakes in the area linked to the disposal of hydrofracking waste?” said Frohlich. 

Tomato Diseases

Aug 29, 2013
blogs.cornell.edu

 A look back at my past gardening challenges brings up the myriad of difficulties one faces when trying to grow tomatoes.  These most popular fruits of our gardening labors require consistent record keeping, as you don't ever want to plant them in the same space within a three year period.  Tomatoes can suffer from a wide variety of soil-borne and airborne illnesses, as well as being the target of a horde of insects that can eat or infect the foliage of your prize plants.  After years of fighting against blight, viruses, unpredictable weather patterns, and beastly bugs, I've decided that perhaps the best solution to my tomato problems is found in the adage about 'safety in numbers'.   

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

This group's mission is to sustain vibrant natural and human communities of the Republican River Basin by promoting good stewardship of its land, water and wildlife. The group addresses three aspects of long-term landscape sustainability: economics, education and conservation.

Amarillo: May Hailstorm Damage Total Is In

Aug 26, 2013
spotted.amarillo.com

The hailstorm that hammered Amarillo on May 28 resulted in $500 million in insured losses according to Claims Journal.  The final figure was released recently by the Property Claim Services of the Insurance Services Office (ISO).  The ISO is responsible for tallying catastrophic weather losses across the country.

Luke Clayton

  Folks, I have to tell you, I have had enough of trying to teach Cindee to fish.  I'm headed up to the mountains of Colorado for the next three weeks for some peace and quiet.  My buddy Larry Large and I guide hunts, and I am looking forward to the trip.  Take a listen to the audio.  I called in and chatted with Cindee about a typical day in camp.  It might not be what you expect.  I'll be in touch.  

Lawn Lamentations

Aug 21, 2013
jeinc.com

Although buffalo grass is still my lawn of choice for the dry and windy area we call the Southern High Plains, this summer it has been hard pressed to bounce back from our third year of ongoing drought and high temperatures.  As our area of the world seems to be turning more desert-like, even this native of the short grass prairie will need occasional water and maybe a shot of nutrients to do its best.  But it still offers the best alternative when planning a lawn that can stand up to all the challenges our climate has to offer.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Habitat conservation requires local support, collaboration and leadership. When landowners, community leaders and resource managers work collaboratively to conserve natural resources, that's when the majority of habitat work takes place. We examine what local conservation partnerships are - and why they're important.

Die Fly!

Aug 16, 2013
paqwak.com

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.

nebraskapassport.com

Folks, to this point, I’ve taught Cindee about bait, how to rig her pole, and where to look for catfish.  Today, I’m going to give her a tip that is a sure fire way to catch those cats.  

Little Blue Stem

Aug 14, 2013
nativesoftexas.com

In a continuing investigation of landscape plans utilizing grass gardens, this week we'll look at Little Bluestem.  This hardy 'bunch' or 'clump' grass is of a more manageable size than it's bigger relative, the Big Bluestem of the tall grass prairies.  Little Bluestem can serve as an eye-catching accent plant, or as a seasonal backdrop for wildflowers or other blooming plants.  And in its native habitat it provides forage for grazing animals and shelter for various birds and wildlife.

National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

The High Plains are continuing to benefit from a stalled weather front along lower sections of the central Plains, which is serving as a focus for continued precipitation.  As a result, the monthly drought outlook map from the Climate Prediction Center (see first slide above) shows improvement across the HPPR coverage area though August.

Earl Notingham, Texas Parks and Wildlife / flickr

Drought conditions are long familiar to the Texas Panhandle and are now becoming well known to other parts of the state.  The most recent drought report from the Texas Water Development Board shows that 97 percent of the state is now experiencing some level of drought.

tgreybirds.com

This raptor migrates from its winter home in Argentina into western North America and breeds as far north as Canada. It's fate is tied to the amount of open rangeland left in the western prairie, and lots of habitat has been lost in the 20th Century after range land was broken out and farmed. The bird helps producers by eating insects, mammals and reptiles considered by producers to be pests. Conservation Reserve Program-enrolled land provides the type of habitat the bird can thrive in.

kansasagnetwork.com

Art Gomez of Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams discusses his job "selling" producers and landowners on permitting 30-year or permanent easements on wetlands such as playa lakes. Darryl Birkenfeld discusses his work as director of the Ogallala Commons at Nazareth, TX. The organization's mission is education and community support.

You may think that we’ve had good rainfall in recent weeks.  Or you might feel it’s been as dry as ever.  Across the High Plains either situation could be the case.  While the latest drought maps shows general improvement across the region, a closer look shows a very hit or miss picture with the percentage of normal precipitation varying widely from locale to locale. 

Howdy Folks.  This week I'm still trying to make Cindee into a fisherman- to be more specific- a catfisher. 

Last week we talked about how cats like deeper water this time of year- 22-24 foot deep.  If you can find shade over a ledge or cavity, or a creek feeding into the lake, you have a good chance to find catfish.  

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.  

Grass Gardens

Aug 7, 2013
penick.net

This week's show introduces elements of a landscape plan that promises to be more efficient and effective in an environment that seems to be moving toward the hotter and drier side of gardening.  Ornamental grasses can offer a rich variety of size, texture and color to a planted area or in a series of containers.  And they can provide visual interest almost year round, as many grass gardens can show off fall colors and wintertime backdrops when other plants have been put to rest.

planetofbirds.com

The Mountain Plover is a shorebird that spends little time on the beach and lives on the open Plains and nowhere near mountains. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory offers financial incentives to farmers of the southwest Nebraska panhandle to till around their nests - which often are in crop fields.

fishingalways.blogspot.com

  Folks, today I called Cindee to give her an answer to the question, "What am I going to fish for on a hot, summer day?"  The answer is... catfish, and today I'm going to tell you where you can find them.

Catfish are just like us.  They like a cool place with plenty of oxygen.  This time of year, the spawn is over, and oxygen seems to be plentiful in about 22-24 foot of water.  So, you're going to have to fish a little deeper than you've been earlier in the season.

Over decades, my students have written many essays detailing results of getting between young animals and their mommas. Mothers aren’t only tender. They’re tough when necessary, and one look at a momma cow with her calf clearly states you don’t want to mess with her baby. Years ago, a family of fledgling wrens reminded me how moms fuss over their babies and that I should stay out of their business.

Gardening Exercise

Aug 1, 2013
athletico.com

Gardening season can offer a great alternative to going to the gym in order to find physical fitness.  Various activities like pushing a lawnmower, digging a new flower bed, or transplanting perennials can all add up to feeling and looking better through at least three seasons of the year.  If you are working on weight loss, in addition to counting calories, try counting metabolic equivalents or METs,  to meet your goals.

smithsonianmag.com

The Burrowing Owl is North America's only raptor that nests below ground. This bird's fate is tied to that of the prairie dog, and dog populations are in sharp decline.

texastribune.org

Barry Smitherman, the head of Texas’ oil and gas drilling regulatory agency, does not believe in global warming according to a recent piece by State Impact Texas.  Smitherman says before dismantling the electrical power generating fleet, there should be certainty about the role of CO2. 

southwestdisk.com

My ole buddy, Mark Balette, and I have been hunting out on Mark’s ranch for axis deer.  We came home with a nice doe.  Tonight, we’re cooking it up.

Texas Parks and Wildlife

Revenue and visitors are increasing at Palo Duro Canyon State Park according to the Amarillo Globe-News.  Total park revenue increased to $4 million.  Here are the percentage increases:

  • Total park revenue- 13%
  • Activity fees and concessions- 11%
  • Entrance fees- 8.3%
  • Facility fees- 17.1%

Improvements:

High Plains Drought Outlook

Jul 24, 2013
cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Recent rains across the High Plains gave hope that the drought’s grip may be lessening.  However, that was quickly extinguished by the extended forecast released by National Weather Service

At a glance, the forecast map shows drought conditions will persist or intensify across the listening region.  The only exception is the extreme western portion of the Texas Panhandle.  The seasonal drought outlook is valid through October 18.

Prairie plants help restore farmland soil

Jul 24, 2013
Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The world’s soil is in trouble, even in the fertile Midwest. Some experts warn that if degradation continues unchecked, topsoil could be gone in 60 years. That has implications for agriculture and the broader environment.

Skin Cancer Rates: Texas is best

Jul 21, 2013
skincancer.org

Summertime heat is bearing down on the high plains, and the sun can be intense.  It can also be deadly.  Nationally, 19.4 people out of every 100,00o have an incidence of melanoma.

Texas surpassed Kansas to become third in the nation in sunflower production, Texas-based magazine Country World reports.

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