HPPR Environment

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

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


Today we'll talk with Anthony Zukoff.  He's an expert in Ecology, Zoology, and Entomology.  We'll get to know a little about the man, what took him from his roots on the East Coast to the High Plains of Southwestern Kansas.  

You can ask Anthony questions by searching for "Friends of Sand Sage Bison Range" on Facebook or by emailing him at: AZukoff@gmail.com

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Two years ago Oklahoma was experiencing a devastating drought. Then came 2015. Last year was the wettest year ever in Oklahoma. And the rain keeps coming. The state has breathed a collective sigh of relief since the drought’s end. But many climate scientists are now saying “not so fast,” reports StateImpact.

Tanner Colvin / AP photo

Roughly fifty tornados were sighted in Kansas last week, according to The Wichita Eagle. The most powerful was an EF-4 that grew to a half-mile wide. The twister was on the ground for 90 minutes and its roar could be heard two miles away. This sort of activity is par for the course in Tornado Alley. Bryan Baerg, a meteorologist with the Topeka branch of the National Weather Service, explained: “It’s late May, so it comes with the territory.”


The Washington Post recently published this video of a Haboob descending on the airport in Lubbock on May 29.

A haboob is a massive and intense dust storm.

Watch here:

Colorado Ski Country USA, Jack Dempsey / AP photo/ CPR

Though it may seem like summer to most, in the mountains of Colorado it’s still winter. Two prominent Colorado resorts have extended their ski seasons well into June, reports Colorado Public Radio.

About 120 acres of terrain will be opened to skiers and snowboarders this weekend at Aspen Mountain. Aspen also offered bonus skiing on Memorial Day weekend.

Luke Clayton

   In the 26 years that I have been writing this weekly outdoors column, I’ve come to learn thatmost of us that enjoy hunting and fishing also like to learn new ways to put the fruits of our outings to good use. We all have our special recipes and favorite ways to cook fish and game.

About six years ago, my friend Mike Pullen with Frisco Spices (www.friscospices.com) instructed me in the simple process of canning venison. Mike shipped me a jar of his Au Jus Base with instructions for making some of the tastiest canned venison imaginable.

Sandy and Chuck Harris / Flickr Creative Commons

From Harvest Public Media:

Monarch butterflies are disappearing. Scientists agree that in the last 20 years, populations of the black and orange insect have been in precipitous decline. But there's much less certainty on what’s causing them to vanish.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

If you didn’t know better, you might think Western Oklahoma was in the midst of an aviation renaissance. Of late, there’s been a rush to register private airstrips in rural areas, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. But these new landing areas aren’t planning to attract travel. They were created to keep wind turbines out.

Sentry Siren / New York Times

May and early June are the busiest time of the year for tornados on the High Plains. And that means many flatlanders are used to the sounds of tornado sirens in their neighborhoods. In our highly technological era, it might seem like tornado sirens have outlived their usefulness. But, as The New York Times reports, the sirens are still putting an old technology to good use.

Luke Clayton

Luke discusses fishing reports this week and how best to "glean" reliable fishing information that will help you catch fish on your next outing. Luke also shares a bit of humor concerning a fishing trip earlier this week when he thought he "had em' figured out!"

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

We all learned it as kids: Old MacDonald has a farm and on that farm he has a cow that says “moo.” But why? Why do cows moo?

Whenever I’m out reporting in the field I can tell many ranchers have a powerful connection with their cattle – they can almost understand them. But researchers today are trying to figure out exactly what cows are saying.


My grandmother called them flags, they've also been known as "poor man's orchids," but this flower is hardy and just right for growing on the High Plains.

Bureau of Reclamation/NY Times

As the water crisis in the West grows more dire, many officials are realizing that the 20th century’s solutions are not sufficient for a 21st century problem. Many of the West’s big dams, reports The New York Times, are much less effective than once hoped. The massive structures have disrupted fisheries and left taxpayers saddled with debt. And—perhaps the worst part--these dams lose hundreds of billions of gallons of water each year to evaporation and leakage.

Luke Clayton

This week on High Plains Outdoors, Luke visits with Shawn Ballard, owner of Diamond Park Homes www.diamondparkhomes.com in Alba, Texas. Ballard's company builds tiny homes (399 sq. feet or less) and ships them all over the country. There is a boon in Tiny home living today. Tune in and learn all about this downsized way of living.  

CBS 4 Denver

Two High Plains states lead the nation in hail damage, reports The Denver Post. Over the past three years, Colorado ranks second behind Texas for the number of insurance claims filed due to hail strikes on homes, property and cars.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has chosen a new leader to take the reins next year, reports member station KOSU. Charles McCall is a Republican from Atoka in southeast Oklahoma. It’s hoped that he will bring a unique perspective on water to the capitol.

Conservation Colorado

During this Colorado legislative season, GOP and Democratic lawmakers found little common ground between them. But they did find one issue they could agree on. After years of debate, rain barrels are now legal in the state of Colorado, reports KDVR.

Luke Clayton

The natural world is governed by cycles that repeat themselves in a pretty predictable pattern! We have learned much about the cycles or “patterns” of fish and wildlife. We know when to expect the whitetail rut or the crappie to move shallow. We fishermen have also learned when the time is right for catching trophy-size blue catfish or smaller fish better suited for the frying pan.


There's a new kind of cherry that seems just right for our High Plains.  It's easier to harvest, sweeter, and by all accounts has great potential to be a cherry of a deal in an edible landscape.   

MBT Centennial: Swainson’s Hawk

May 10, 2016
Dustin Huntington/VIREO / National Audubon Society / audubon.org

This year, 2016, marks the centennial of the first Migratory Bird Treaty, which the United States signed with Great Britain on behalf of Canada. That treaty and the three that followed — with Japan, Russia and Mexico — form the cornerstones of our efforts to conserve migratory birds, like the Swainson’s Hawk.

Bloomberg News

Following Texas’s lead, Colorado’s Supreme Court has ruled that local municipalities in the state are not allowed to ban fracking, according to The Wall Street Journal. Cities like Fort Collins and Longmont had previously sought to halt the controversial drilling technique. But now the state’s high court has deemed those local laws “invalid and unenforceable.”

Luke Clayton

 For the past couple of decades, my friend Randy Routh has been telling me about the White Ranch where he has been hunting since the 1990s. Randy and several of his friends help the White family work cattle on the ranch and through the years, the group has set up a nice little hunting camp on the property.

Many youngsters have been introduced to the outdoor lifestyle thanks to these veteran outdoorsmen. In essence, the hunters trade their skills and labor working on the ranch for hunting rights, but it’s easy to see the relationship between hunter and landowners go much farther than this.

After spending a couple of days hunting turkey with Routh on the ranch, it was clearly obvious to me that all these folks have become very close through the years.

weather.gov/norman / KGOU

April’s weather was exceptionally aggressive this year in Oklahoma, reports KGOU. Despite early fears of a growing drought, the state saw the seventh-wettest April on record. Statewide, Oklahoma received more than six inches of precipitation during the month.

StateImpact Oklahoma

Faced with increasingly strict federal emissions regulations, some energy companies that use coal to produce power have struggled to find the funds to meet the new criteria. One such company is Oklahoma Gas and Electric. The energy giant has twice before requested funds for a new coal scrubber project to bring their coal plant up to compliance. Now, reports NewsOK, it appears the third time is the charm. This week state regulators approved a half billion dollars to cover the cost of the scrubbers. 


A Christmas gift from a friend inspires Skip to learn to try her hand at growing and processing her own supply of pickled beets.

MBT Centennial: Cassin’s Sparrow

May 3, 2016
Christopher L. Wood / allaboutbirds.org / Cornell University

This year, 2016, marks the centennial of the first Migratory Bird Treaty, which the United States signed with Great Britain on behalf of Canada. That treaty and the three that followed — with Japan, Russia and Mexico — form the cornerstones of our efforts to conserve migratory birds, like the Cassin’s Sparrow.

A little Texas Bucket List Postcard

Apr 29, 2016
Cindee Talley


Thanks for letting me share my Texas Bucket List adventure, but mostly thanks for being my friend and my tour guide.  This trip was great because of you.  

Three of us, my dear friends Rick and Kelly Reece, and I left Western Nebraska on Wednesday morning with a goal of experiencing two destinations: Mark Balette's ranch near Goveton, Texas; and the Gulf Coast.

Thomas Bougher / Texas Tribune

When Texas industrial plants break down or close for maintenance, they often spew tons of pollutants into the atmosphere. And they aren’t being properly held accountable, reports The Texas Tribune. A new report has found that 679 facilities from the Gulf of Mexico to West Texas emitted more than 68 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, benzene and other toxic substances last year.

Prowers Journal

Recent precipitation has helped to alleviate drought conditions across parts of Colorado, reports The Prowers Journal. Parts of the central mountains and Front Range saw as much as 3 inches of precipitation. And there’s more good news: short and long term forecasts favor continued precipitation. And reservoir storage looks good, so there are no immediate concerns for water providers.

Wikimedia Commons

If Nebraska were to switch from coal to wind energy, it could save the state almost two billion gallons of water a year, according to the Center for Rural Affairs. Nebraska currently ranks fourth in the nation for wind energy potential and 13th for solar power potential. But the state relies heavily on coal to provide energy for its citizens.