HPPR Environment

Awareness:
geography
geology
hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
flora
fauna (wildlife)
climate
weather
ecosystems
climate change

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

Jason Hartman / Kansas Forest Service

It cost Barber County about $1.5 million to fight the Anderson Creek Fire.

That figure represents suppression costs, such as fuel, repairs, food, ice and water, said Jerry McNamar, the county’s emergency management director. About $400,000 of the cost was for four National Guard helicopters, which dropped water on the fire over two days.

“That’s the total cost of putting the fire out,” he said.

Wages are a very small part of the total. Moreover, Barber County’s fire crews are all volunteer. Each volunteer firefighter in Barber County gets $15 a run.

Luke Clayton

Guide Billy Carter is Luke's guest this week.

Billy has lived and guided on this huge cypress swamp/lake for the majority of his life. He and his wife Dottie have several rental houses located right on the water  www.spatterdock.com  and Billy also manages Johnson's Ranch Marina, the oldest inland marina in Texas.

Tune in this week and learn a bit of history about this mystical place. 

Valentine's day is coming, and love is in the air. So today on Growing on the High Plains, I'll tell you about an enchanted, amorous bloom often referred to as "Love in a Mist." 

You know how that special someone makes you feel like you're walking on air? Likewise, these bright, ethereal blooms appear to levitate over a frothy, feathered bed of foliage.  But watch out! Like lovers, they'll grow thorny with time. Thankfully, like love, they're always worth the trouble.

Creative Commons CC0

Colorado and Texas each rank in the top 10 un the nation as hubs of solar energy employment.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado’s solar companies added more than 1,000 workers last year, according to the National Solar Jobs Census, allowing the state to maintain its top-10 ranking as a hub of solar energy employment.

FuelFix

Protesters have been amassing in West Texas, down near Big Bend, to challenge the construction of yet another oil pipeline.

As FuelFix.com reports, the activists are setting up to oppose the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. The protest camp is made up of a combination of environmentalists and ranchers who own the land where the pipeline is being built. The pipeline is being constructed by Energy Transfer Partners, an outfit in Dallas.

Travis Morrise / The Hutchinson News

With Kansas' Ogallala Aquifer continuing to decline, a Haskell County farm family tested the age-old water law adage "First in time, first in right," and won.

Haskell County District Court Judge Linda Gilmore ruled Wednesday in favor of the Garetsons and their more-than-80-year-old vested senior water right in the county, granting a permanent injunction against American Warrior - shutting off the company's two junior water wells that are impairing the Garetsons' right.

Luke Clayton

Luke's Dragon Claw 50+caliber air rifle shoots not only 50-caliber round balls and pellets but also the Air Bolt, which is an arrow.

The Dragon Claw is pressured to about 3,000 psi via a scuba or carbon fiber tank and provides multiple shots on each filling. There is a low and high power setting. Low power works great for many shots when target shooting but when hunting big game such as wild hogs or exotics, the high power setting is recommended.

Creative Commons CC0

A large unseen force is pushing the Milky Way across the universe, according to a new research study.

As CNN reports, the newly discovered Dipole Repeller explains the why behind what researchers have known for the past three decades – that the galaxy is moving at a relative speed.

To some people, a plant is a plant is a plant. But to the phytophilous (or plant-loving) High Plains gardener, identifying our native flora can often be as fun as tending their beds.

Today's installment of Growing on the High Plains compares two competing conventions.

First, we'll discuss the often-complex botanical naming system used to identify various species of plants. (Sometimes, it's all Latin to me.)

Next, I'll share a few of the delightful "common names" often used as shorthand when describing three of my favorite house plants.

Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

MEADE – Off a dirt road on an abandoned farmstead in Meade County, Rex Buchanan searched for a metal pipe hidden in tall weeds.

Back a few decades ago, the search would have taken much longer – almost like finding a needle in a haystack. But GPS pinpointed the location and sure enough – in the middle of the thickest clump – a tube is sticking out of the earth.

We've all seen them.

Those curious mirrored balls, perched among the pansies, gracing the gladiolas, and reflecting a fish-eye panorama of the garden in which it resides?

Well, these ocular orbs have a long history! On today's Growing on the High Plains, I'll round out your knowledge of these garden globes, including a personal story of how I acquired my own.  

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Colorado is being sued by an environmental group over the state’s controversial plan to kill mule deer predators.

San Antonio Express News

Nuclear power plants could be on their way out of the Lone Star State. As the San Antonio Express-News notes, Texas’ nuclear fleet is confronting some of the same issues that have led to plant closings in other states.

The main reason? The success of wind power, combined with oil market oversaturation due to fracking technology.

Ice storm brings much needed moisture to Kansas crops

Jan 24, 2017
Kansas State Research and Extension

While last week’s ice storm wreaked a lot of havoc in the form of power outages, broken tree limbs and icy roads, it also brought much needed precipitation to Kansas’s wheat and alfalfa crops.

Residents of Colorado will need to provide proof of ownership for certain recreational vehicles to meet a new requirement enacted by the Colorado Legislature to assure that stolen vehicles are not being bought or sold.

An international study published in the journal, Nature Communications, reports that harvests in the United States are likely to shrink by a between one-fifth to half their current sizes due to rising temperatures over the next century.

You've probably seen these curious little creatures before—perhaps on the periphery at a plant shops, woven into an indoor "green wall," or possibly dangling from an overhead glass orb at a specialty gift boutique.

Quite alien in appearance, these tropical treasures are called tillandsias, but you might better know them as "air plants." 

Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency denied $1.2 billion in claims stemming from a 2015 toxic wastewater spill in a creek that feeds a river in Colorado.

According to Reuters, farmers, ranchers, river-running raft companies and others filed the claims against the EPA, after the spill was accidentally triggered by the agency at the defunct Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado, a spill that fouled waterways in three states.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

A new U.S. government study claims ethanol is better for the environment than most scientists initially expected, boosting an industry that is a boon to Midwest farmers but challenged by many environmental groups and the oil industry.

Today's Growing on the High Plains continues our conversation about 2017 New Year's resolutions.

Last week, I discussed how "working the land" indeed encourages physical activity, which leads to overall fitness, flexibility, weight loss, and heart health -- all of which are excellent goals for the new year.

But that's not all! This week, I'll explain how the benefits of gardening also lead to a healthy mind. Lucky for us, making a commitment to getting our hands dirty  will help keep our memories cleanly intact. 

Pixabay / Creative Commons

Last year shattered the record for the earth’s hottest year, according to a report from the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

As Scientific American reports, 2016 exceeded 2015 as the hottest year since reliable records began in the 19th century. Researchers found that last year was almost .4 degrees warmer on average than the previous year.

NASA

An unexpected sight appeared in the sky Monday morning

As CNET reports, an asteroid the size of a 10-story building passed half way between the Earth and the moon shortly after scientists at the Catalina Sky Survey first discovered it on Saturday.

Joe Mabel

Want to know what a green alternative to regular diesel is? Used vegetable oil.

EGE of Minneola, Kansas takes used cooking oil from over 200 restaurants in Kansas and parts of Oklahoma and converts it to biodiesel, the Dodge City Globe reports.

Wesley Orr, who works for EGE recently gave a small group from Pratt, Greensburg and Minneola a tour of the facility.

Watch: Down times have farmers looking to cut costs

Jan 9, 2017
Harvest Public Media

The federal government expected net farm income and farm profits to fall in 2016, the third-straight year of declines. That means farmers and ranchers are taking a closer look at their finances, and many aren’t very optimistic about their prospects for 2017.

Creatures of habit

Jan 7, 2017

The other day, I watched our Jack Russell fidget impatiently by the bedroom door, waiting for someone to let him into the hallway. Directly behind him was an alternate path that led through the bath to the living area on the other side of the house. Because he’s in a new home, he never considered exiting via this route. After I released him from his self-imposed trap, I began thinking about how I, too, am a creature of habit locked into boundaries established only my mind.

As we embark on a New Year, it's hard to resist pondering the corrections we'd like to make moving forward. It's no surprise that "getting in shape" inevitably tops the list of most resolutions.

Brookings Institution / The Rural Blog

Despite Republican efforts to bring back coal as a fuel source, a new report by the Brookings Institution says coal-fired power plants will continue to close despite the arrival of the Trump administration.

As The Rural Blog reports, climate-change deniers such as Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt--who has been tapped to head the EPA--have been vehemently opposed to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. They’ve vowed to end what they call the “war on coal.”

Pixabay

Texas winegrowers are concerned that federal approval of new herbicides for some cotton crops will eradicate the wine industry in the Texas High Plains.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering organic producers and handlers federal reimbursement to cover the cost of organic certification.

Using a muzzleloader to hunt deer

Dec 31, 2016
Luke Clayton

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