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

People from all over the world gathered in the small northeast Kansas town of Sabetha during Monday's solar eclipse to experience two-and-a-half minutes of totality.

The parking lot of the Koch Motel just off US 75 was filled with cars from Arizona, Texas and Ohio.

There were families from Japan and Britain.

“I figured there wouldn’t be a ton of people in this little corner of Kansas,” said Dave Heim from Rock Island, Illinois.

Jonathan Baker

This weekend, my girlfriend and I packed up my Kia Sportage and headed north. Our destination: the path of the solar eclipse’s totality in western Nebraska.

But this just wasn’t just an excursion to witness the eclipse; it was also an opportunity to cross a large swath of the High Plains Public Radio listening area--a region I love traveling through and writing about.

Small communities in northeast Kansas are bracing for a massive influx of visitors for Monday's total solar eclipse. Atchison County officials expect as many as 35,000 visitors.

"It is just a guess. It really is," says Jacque Pregont, president of the Atchison Chamber of Commerce. "We really don't know. I mean, we know there's probably going to be 10,000 or more at Benedictine [College], we know there's going to be at least 5,000 at the airport. Beyond that? It's all guesswork."

Luke Clayton

GPS is an awesome tool, but nothing beats knowing how to use a compass and the night sky to find your way around. 

Wikipedia

Whitetail and mule deer in Kansas are being outfitted with tracking collars as part of a study to track the types of habitat they prefer, survival rates and the main causes of mortality.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, Levi Jaster, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism big program coordinator said those deer, with global positioning system tracking collars, will be part of the most comprehensive deer study in the state.

Few things give away a particularly High Plains landscape like a fine-but-fluffy, blue-kissed buffalo grass tickling a horizon. While a staple of our region's ground cover, I wonder why it's not more prevalent and popular. 

On today's Growing on the High Plains, I want to talk about this lush native -- including it's many benefits, and a few pointers for planters. So, buffalo grass, won't ya come out tonight?   

edwards.af.mil

If you’re planning to view the solar eclipse this Monday, you’ll want to be safe.

Dr. David Craig, Professor of Astronomy at West Texas A&M University, says protecting your eyes is of the utmost importance when watching an eclipse.

Next Monday, a swath of America will witness a total eclipse of the sun. Parts of Kansas are bracing for an influx of travelers who want to experience the event first hand. According to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), there are some things to consider as you make plans.

KDOT recommends that travelers to the northeast corner of the state be mindful of the fact that the roads will be crowded, so take into account the extra time you need for your trip.

Farmers Like Trump But Worry About The Farm Bill

Aug 15, 2017
CCO Creative Commons

A new Farm Futures survey, as Politico reports, has found that 55 percent of farmers would give President Donald Trump an “A” or “B” if they were assigning a grade to him on domestic issues. 

The survey of 1,200 growers found that farmers are mostly good with the Trump administration’s domestic policies so far.

NASA

The path of totality for Monday’s solar eclipse will cross the U.S. from the southeast to northwest, cutting across the upper northeast corner of Kansas and across Nebraska – making it possible for anyone on the High Plains to see all of it, if they’re willing to take a day trip, but at the very least, they will be able to see a partial eclipse.

Steve Jurvetson / Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

The state's endangered species chief says a plan to protect the dunes sagebrush lizard is facing a "significant threat" from companies that mine the fine-grain sand that oil producers use for hydraulic fracturing.

poplinre / Flickr Creative Commons

As the dog days of summer continue, the chances of encountering a rattlesnake on the High Plains remain elevated.

But, as The Sacramento Bee explains, rattlesnakes aren’t as dangerous as you may think. Attacks aren’t as common as some may believe, because rattlers aren’t aggressive. They generally only bite when they feel threatened.

However, humans sometimes mistakenly think a snake is being aggressive when it’s simply trying to find a cooler place to lie.

Luke Clayton

Many people think that for a catfish bait to be effective, it has to smell to high heaven. Not so! A few years ago, catfish guide Bradley Doyle began experimenting with a catfish bait that actually has a pleasant smell and... CATCHES CATFISH!

Doyle named the bait Catfish Bubblegum and began using it on his guide trip on lake Conroe in Southeast Texas.

It worked so well that he put the bait on the market.

LT. SETH FRIZZELL / HOLCOMB COMMUNITY FIRE DEPARTMENT

Kansas ranchers impacted by wildfires could receive more than $18 million in federal funds for fencing lost in the Starbuck wildfire, which began in Oklahoma and spread into southwest Kansas on March 6.

As The Hutch News reports, the fire burned over 660,000 acres in Kansas and Oklahoma and 500,000 acres in Clark, Comanche and Meade Counties making it the largest in Kansas history.

Today on Growing on the High Plains, I'll investigate the history of food fads. 

From gelatinous meats to Amazonian sweets, we'll explore a few consumable crazes from the American archives, as well as edible trends of today.

There's more behind these trendy treats than meets the tongue -- like the environmental impact and the politics of production.  

New Natural Gas Discovery Found In San Juan Basin

Aug 9, 2017
Wikipedia

A new natural gas discovery was made earlier this week by oil giant BP.

As The Denver Post reports, the company made the discovery in the Mancos formation of the San Juan Basin near the Colorado border – saying a new well it drilled averaged production of 12.9 million cubic feet of gas per day in its first month - the highest achieved by a well in that area in 14 years.

Creative Commons CC0

Some dairy farmers worry that President Donald Trump’s immigration policies may be bad for business.

As KUT reports, immigrant labor is vital to many Texas farms and ranches, which have found themselves trying to determine how changes to immigration policy will impact their businesses and also how to deal with it when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows up at their farms to check employment records.

sheppard.af.mi

Dove hunting season begins in Oklahoma on Sept. 1 and this year hunters will have more places to hunt and view wildlife.

As The Oklahoman reports, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will open new areas this year for hunting.


TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL oil pipeline, is scheduled to go before the Nebraska Public Service Commission next week, the final hurdle before the agency decides whether the pipeline’s path should be approved.


Sarah&Boston / Flickr Creative Commons

After a bit of a seismic hiatus, earthquakes returned full force to Oklahoma last week, reports KOTV.

Beginning Tuesday night, Oklahoma was pummeled by at least 11 different earthquakes of magnitude three or higher, according to the United States Geological Survey.

No major damage was reported.

Luke Clayton

Deryl Markgraf is an expert in all types of night hunting equipment and on this week’s High Plains Outdoors, he discusses the different types of night hunting scopes that are available.

For those who are interested in hunting predators or wild hogs at night, today’s show will help you choose the equipment to best suit your needs.

THEOGEO / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The House Agriculture Committee held a farm bill listening session July 31 at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, where farm industry leaders and others shared their input about the upcoming markup of the farm bill, which is set to expire Sept. 30, 2018.

TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL oil pipeline, is scheduled to go before the Nebraska Public Service Commission next week, the final hurdle before the agency decides whether the pipeline’s path should be approved.

Get a tissue, because I'm about to set your sinuses ablaze.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering disaster assistance to dozens of counties in western Kansas which were affected by a late spring snowstorm.

The storm dumped heavy snow, and straight-line winds up to 60 miles per hour created drifts and knocked downed power lines and trees. The snowstorm affected 27 counties, mainly in western and northwestern Kansas, from April 28 to May 3.

FEMA will reimburse state and local governments, agencies and nonprofits for recovery projects.

Promised gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Batten / Wikimedia Commons

An upcoming documentary on the Discovery channel will explore a new grassroots conservation movement in America—a movement based on stewardship of the land, and centered on those who live and work on the land.

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman tells the story of four stewards of the land in the U.S., including a Kansas farmer, a Montana rancher, and a fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico. The film is narrated by Tom Brokaw and based on a book of the same name.

Pixabay / Wikimedia Commons

 A new report reveals which states have fully embraced renewable energy—and the states in the HPPR listening area are among the top in the nation.

As CBS News reports, the state of Texas now produces more wind energy than most countries - and a healthy portion of that energy is produced by wind farms in the Texas Panhandle.

Kansas continues to be one of the leading states in renewable energy, especially with wind power.

Kansas is the fifth state to have at least 5000 megawatts of wind power capacity installed. The state is behind California, Oklahoma, Iowa and Texas, which has a capacity of a whopping 21,000 megawatts.

Kansans get 30 percent of their power from wind and solar. California is at 16 percent.

Luke Clayton

Big game seasons will be here before we know it. Summer is a great time to get out and do some shooting.

Ranges are usually much less crowded this time of year and now is the perfect time to spend some time during the morning hours or late afternoon and perfect our shooting skills.

Tune in this week and learn how Luke gets "pretty close" with only one shot, which is a great way to save ammo and get bullet placement close enough for some "fine tuning" shooting. 

Of all the expensive machinery Tom Giessel worked during the 2017 wheat harvest, his favorite sits in the office of his home.

It’s a microfilm machine, the kind found in a high school library. Giessel uses it for his work as the historian of the National Farmers Union, the nation’s second-largest farm group.

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