HPPR Environment

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

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

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.


Drought and a late April freeze could produce the worst wheat harvest in decades for the western part of Oklahoma history reported The Oklahoman


Skies over southeast Colorado have cleared of the choking dust propelled by high winds, but the effects are evident.  Prowers County residents are dealing with the aftermath of fallen trees and dumpsters scattered like bowling pins.  More about the storm and its lingering effects are available from the Prowers Journal.

  There is a great deal of information available on most aspects of wild hog hunting but the art of using calls to attract porkers within shooting range is one that is often skirted around, probably because of lack of factual information. Through the years, I’ve had very limited success using calls to attract hogs. The lion’s share of my failures I attribute to lack of skill on my part and possibly the fault of the calls I used to perfectly duplicate the sounds made by wild hogs.

The Texas Tribune

Texas is the nation’s biggest beef-producing state, and as the state enters the fourth year of drought, ranchers, consumers, and grocers are feeling the effects reported The Texas Tribune.


New hiking and mountain biking trails open at Lake Meredith this weekend according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Skip Mancini

 Last week Skip told you about the efforts to attract great horned owls to her home, and the enjoyment watching these wonderful birds gives her.  This week, she shares owl facts, separating fact from fallacy.  

If you'd like to learn how to build a nesting platform for these magnificent birds, or if you'd like to see the family residence at Skip's, simply drop her an email using this link.


The high winds plaguing the High Plains this week moved real estate ranging in size from bits of soil to the Chase Tower located in downtown Amarillo. 


Drought conditions expanded in the central and southern Plains where winter wheat is struggling to grow according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report released this week.


One of my favorite novels to teach is John Steinbeck’s The Pearl. I love his use of landscape, the very human ways the main character Kino and his young wife Juana face ills that befall them, and truths about human nature the author unfolds in quotes that spill from memory at odd times. One of those instances occurred recently.

J.N. Stuart/Flickr Commons

It's prairie chicken mating season!

Still, it's tough being a lesser prairie chicken these days. This type of grouse once spanned an enormous area, though now they survive mainly in pockets of Oklahoma and Kansas. Their numbers are plummeting; in 2012, the population dropped by half.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

Today, we wrap up our visit with Milo Hanson.  Milo has the world record typical whitetail, and he's made the record book again with the rack shown in this picture.  

The world record changed the lives of Milo and his family, and it also affected his community.  At one point his wife said she'd "like to beat the record with a hammer."

Take a listen.  This man is a great story teller. 

Dale Daniel

Playas are those big ponds you see dotting across the High Plains.  They provide habitat for amphibians and points for aquifer recharge.  A study from Oklahoma State University suggests the Federal Conservation Reserve Program does have a positive impact on the health of the playas, but does not restore them reported The Environmental Monitor.


Amarillo is in the fourth year of drought conditions, yet residents continue to exceed city water usage goals.  During the month of April, there have only been three days when water use was below the goal of about 44 million gallons.  This past Monday, residents used almost 60 million gallons according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Skip Mancini

 Years ago the resident architect joined up with the family environmental engineer to create a very special abode.  They spent the weekend fashioning a nesting platform for great horned owls, in hopes of providing the perfect honeymoon cottage for the pair that spent the previous year in the shelterbelt.  Ollie and Big Owlberta moved in and set up house.  Their struggle to survive in this sometimes brutal land has taken the architect and the engineer on a rollercoaster ride of joy, grief, and worry.  

Oklahoma Conservation Commission

Scientists are increasing their understanding of how playas contribute to the landscape.

Amy Bickel / kansasagland.com

Even if you had no idea western Kansas was in the midst of a long-term drought, the scars are hard to miss.  Corrals and roads are drifted with tumbleweeds.  Irrigation ditches are bone dry.  Fence rows are filled with drifted sand, and grass in the pastures has disappeared according to a recent article from Kansas Agland.  


 There’s an old song, “Everything old is new again.”  This year a portion of Skip’s vegetable garden will be on the cutting edge of the latest culinary style.  In addition to featuring some heritage tomatoes and watermelons from the 1800s, she’s decided to add some kale seeds to the patch of greens that traditionally provide the makings of her summer salads.  If you haven’t been to the produce section recently, here’s an update on what’s hot and what’s not.

Unlocking prairie secrets from a sod house

Apr 15, 2014
Jackie Sojicko for Harvest Public Media

Ecologists in Nebraska are trying to find out what the Great Plains looked like when homesteaders settled there in the 19thcentury. To do that, they’re working with a team of archaeologists and historians dissecting a sod house, a house built out of bricks cut from dirt.

Larry Estes has had a sod house in his backyard in Gates, Neb., for as long as he can remember. He never really thought anything about it until a year ago when a repairman asked him about it.

Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

Nebraska's rainwater basin region is beneath the Central Flyway, used by tens of millions of birds migrating to the prairie pothole regions of the Dakotas, Canada and beyond to nest and mate.


A Swisher County resident is the first case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in Texas this year according to a recent news release from the Texas Department of State Health Services.  

There was a time when a blood moon didn't happen for 300 years. Tonight's forecast of mostly clear skies across the high plains should give good visibility to the total lunar eclipse. The moon will have a burnt reddish orange color. The eclipse will be seen about 1am central time.

Luke Clayton

There are few things that I enjoy more than hunting turkeys in the spring when the landscape is coming to life in many hues of green and the sun’s warming rays once again informs Mother Nature that it’s time for all her creatures to go about the task of procreation.

Water Basics 101

Apr 9, 2014
EPRI, 2014

Math helps us understand the causes of water shortages, how much water we’re wasting, as well as predict flooding.  The big picture can be seen when you grasp how much water is falling as rain or snow, moving into rivers or aquifers, and how much is being used in cities, industry and farms.  An explanation of the current water situation from the National Geographic can be found here.   


You’ve heard the saying, “Looks can be deceiving.” That statement describes our little terrier’s coat. When you see him, he looks like a sleek little pooch who doesn’t shed. That’s true September through February. However, when March blows in, he gives March Madness a new interpretation.