HPPR Environment

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

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


Although 25 percent of Americans live in rural areas, only 10 percent of doctors do.  Finding physicians willing to live on the prairie is a serious problem in Kansas.  Kearny County Hospital had that problem.  The small hospital is rural, very rural with five people per square mile, but the little hospital has found a solution according to a recent article by the Kansas Health Institute.


The spread of Zebra mussels in Texas lakes has caused for new regulations that all fishermen/boaters should be aware of. Beginning July 1, boaters must drain all water from their boat and on-board receptacles before leaving or approaching  a body of fresh water anywhere in Texas.

Kris Husted/Harvest Public Media

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

More rain could turn things around for farmers, but if the weather turns hot and dry, it could be a repeat of last year.


Recent rains did not significantly change drought conditions for most of the High Plains. 

The Great Tomato Race

Jul 9, 2014

To participants in the great tomato race, the fourth of July is a big deal.  It’s the finish line for the green thumb trying to win the title of “The First Tomato of the Season.”  

If you missed out on this race, there are more tomato contests to come, like trying to win the distinction of growing “The Biggest Tomato” later this summer.     


The Mountain Plover is a shorebird that spends little time on the beach and lives on the open Plains and nowhere near mountains.


If you ask Dale Artho about climate change, and the predictions scientists are making, he’ll say there’s no point in discussing the doomsday prophecies.  It’s already happened in Vega, Texas.  He can give you details. 


If you tune into the news, you’ll see people and nations disputing boundaries. These disagreements might involve guns, artillery, and bombs, or they may be legal wars that wind their way through courtrooms for years before anyone gets a definitive answer regarding who owns what. Since the beginning of time, humans have wrangled over property lines. After watching two male cardinals duke it out last week, I’ve decided people ought to settle their differences the way birds do—with song.

Luke Clayton

My son spotted coyotes on two occasions late at night close to the house during the past week. Most of these sightings occurred around midnight or later, long after I am in bed sound asleep. After another cat came up missing 2 nights ago, I decided to devise a plan to remove Ole Wiley from the equation!

Cindee Talley

On this final visit about xeriscaping, we'll look at lawns (or the lack of them) in many dry-weather landscape designs.  Believe it or not, there are grasses that can give you a lawn for less water, and that fit in with the look of a xeriscape garden.

Citizen Science: eBird

Jul 2, 2014
The Internet Bird Collection

eBird was launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. It helps bird-watchers keep records of observations.


Time for confession: I’m a female missing the fashion gene. While I love art and creativity, I prefer wearing jeans and  t-shirts. Ironically, I sometimes watch What Not to Wear. I’m pretty sure I’d drive Stacy and Clinton insane because I often don’t like the designs and patterns they convince the person-in-need- of-improvement to select. While I may not like the colors and configurations these style mavens promote, I do love beautifully designed insects.

Xeriscape's Big Three

Jun 25, 2014
Cindee Talley

 Our xeriscape series continues with a look at three blooming perennials that, once established, can bring a variety of colors, shapes, and textures to your low-water landscaping.

Wikimedia Commons

When America adopted the bald eagle as the national symbol in 1782, there may have been 100,000 nesting eagles. But the eagle population declined, in part due to pesticides.


Water rights holders in Western Kansas counties recently rejected a plan to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer.  Groundwater Management District No. 1 board members asked its voting membership to approve a measure to that would cut irrigation use by 20 percent reported Amy Bickel for Kansas Agland.


In Victorian times, people of good breeding with time on their hands apparently went “calling.” As either a pass into another’s home or as a token of the visit, guests left behind a reminder of the visit in a lovely dish placed on an entryway table. These ornately engraved name cards held special significance if one bent the left top corner one way and another meaning if the deliverer tore a different place. 


Recent rains came just at the right time to spur and explosion of wildflowers across the Kansas Prairie.  Along roadways and in pastures flower paint the prairie with splashes of orange, red, purple, blue, white and yellow reported the Wichita Eagle.

Cindee Talley

Techniques that make every drop of water count in your xeriscape beds include how much, how often, and how to apply that gardener's liquid gold.  The importance of soil preparation is also discussed this week.  

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The North American Breeding Bird Survey is a cooperative effort between the United States and Canada.


The Pantex Plant generates tons of paper that has to be destroyed in a manger that protects classified information about the facility’s top-secret nuclear weapons operations.  The material used to go into a landfill because it had to be shredded so finely, it couldn’t be recycled.  Then about 10 years ago, a waster operations employee thought turning the paper into compost would be the perfect solution according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

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