HPPR Environment

Science news

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.

http://healthimpactnews.com

The London Blitz involved nine months of German bomber-induced devastation that drove people who lived there into a state of constant awareness regarding the location of the nearest bomb shelter. While the banks of Big Creek won’t echo with the drone of mechanical motors and sound of carpet bombs exploding one right after another, one locale faces a dive bombing hawk intent on scoring a fresh chicken dinner.

School's Out for.... Severe Weather?

Jul 16, 2013
rootsweb.ancestry.com

  The Oklahoma Department of Education requires schools to provide 175 days of instruction.  Districts can cancel school for any weather, anytime of the year.  

wordpress.com

Prairie dogs are a keystone species on the high plains.  That means others rely on them for food and shelter.  The Amarillo Globe-News reported a study is being conducted to keep them healthy by vaccinating them for the bubonic plague.  

www.nm.nrcs.usda.gov

The sprawling Weaver Ranch near Causey, NM, is located in important Lesser Prairie-Chicken habitat. Ranch manager Willard Heck talks about removing 400-500 acres of mesquite plant that had encroached onto prairie land, fragmenting the bird's habitat.

Dingle Images

Somewhere I saw this quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I agree and add you’ll meet interesting creatures along the way. Sometimes those new acquaintances look like something from an intergalactic space bar.

Luke Clayton

If I was going to tell you that Christmas comes twice a year for deer hunters, you would say I was just plain crazy.  But for those who know about the delicious axis deer, it is the absolute truth.  One of my favorite places to hunt these is with my good friend Mark Balette

The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority board of directors verbally agreed to begin negotiations to sell Texas water rights to Oklahoma investors and users.  The Amarillo Globe reported the parcel under consideration is over 11,000 acres, and located in Lipscomb County.

Texas Wildlife and Parks / Gary Kramer

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has partnered with hundreds of groups to restore and link back together the Lesser Prairie-Chicken's eastern New Mexico habitat. Crews are removing petroleum welljack pads and service roads, reseeding with native grasses, and removing other vertical objects like mesquite, trees and old windmills in effort to restore a habitat more friendly to the needs of the bird.

  While communities in the Texas Panhandle work to improve severe weather warning systems and equipment, experts say the best plan is your own.  

Fishing for large mouth bass on live bait used to be controversial because fish could  swallow the bait, however, Seth Vanover has perfected reeling in the big ones and releasing them back into the lake- healthy and ready to go again.

If you’ve ever closely examined vintage Ellis photos, you know the town had even more big trees shading yards, parks, and walkways than exist today. Seeing old pictures made me think about trees growing around town. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look long before I found a history of local tree culture.

Red, White, and Blue

Jul 3, 2013

It's not too late, even in midsummer to plant a flowering Old Glory.  Petunias are the flower of choice for high plains conditions. 

okmag.com

Scientists researching the population declines of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken say the bird's habitat has been damaged by vertical structures and human activity like road-building and oil and gas mining. Vertical structures include mesquite and other woody invasives, which the bird is averse to nesting near.

Texas Game Warden's facebook page

  If you work for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, a typical day does not exist.  The day could bring a drug bust, seizure of gill nets, or rescuing a youngster drifting from shore in the family's boat.  State Impact Texas recently featured a few of the more unexpected situations game wardens face on a "typical" day.  One tense incident occurred at Palo Duro Lake in the Texas Panhandle.

Art on the Move

Jun 28, 2013

Frequently, I see ornate box turtles crossing a country road or highway. Because I like this home-carrying little reptile, I dodge these little speed bumps. While seeing them slowly lumber across the road triggers a smile, I hadn’t thought much about these Kansas state reptiles until recently.

This summer, I’ve been waking up early to enjoy the cool morning air as I water, weed, and pick veggies. A bonus of rising with the sun is meeting some of my yard neighbors that hide during the heat of the day.

Oklahoma is the beating heart of tornado alley. State Impact Oklahoma reports community tornado shelters are closing because they are, "too popular." Listen to the audio feature.

Last Rites

Jun 27, 2013

I've finally given up the ghost in terms of trying to grow azaleas in a climate where they are not meant to be.  I don't really know why some of us who like to garden on the High Plains won't take no for an answer, and stick to the plants that are meant for our near-desert terrain and weather.  As I write this the calendar has just moved past the first week of June and the thermometer is edging above 104 degrees at early afternoon.  Azaleas are Southern belles, needing moisture, reasonable winds and more acidic soil than we have in Western Kansas.  If I want azaleas in my life from now on, they'll come in pots with foil wraps and big bows that put a touch of springtime on the Easter buffet table or a Mother's Day brunch.

Twisterfiddler.com

The storm chaser known online as Twisterfiddler posted video recently of an impressive dust cloud rolling over southwest Kansas.

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