HPPR Environment

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

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

In Oklahoma, Continued Tilling Could Bring Trouble

Sep 22, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Tilling and planting on the same land in Oklahoma for generations has left the soil in poor shape. And StateImpact Oklahoma warns that if farmers don’t change the way they grow crops, there will be trouble.

Nathan Rupert / Flickr Creative Commons

Conservationists are upset by a new Colorado Parks and Wildlife effort to kill mountain lions in order to boost the mule deer population for hunting season. On the Huffington Post blog, a professor at the University of Colorado called the plan a “kill-kill” proposition.


Burning is a cost-effective method of controlling invasions of Eastern Red Cedar, but there's more to burning than simply touching torch to ground. Prescribed burns follow a precise, multi-page "prescription" to ensure efficacy and safety.


Oklahoma is considering installing a gun range in the state’s largest and oldest state park. NPR member station KGOU reports that state tourism officials are weighing plans for an outdoor sports shooting complex, which would be built at Lake Murray State Park. The proposal has generated complaints that the gun range could disturb the park’s ambience.

Luke Clayton

It's Elk Camp season, and I'm in the Rockies with the crew.  I'll be sending you audio postcards.  This show we're getting settled in, you'll hear from the ramrod of our outfit, and my partner Larry Large.  It's going to be a great time.  Listen to the audio, and enjoy the sounds of Elk Camp in the Rockies.

Food Companies Show Concern About Farm Runoff

Sep 18, 2015
Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The federal health reform law known as the Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from considering pre-existing health conditions when setting premiums for consumers. But they are able to consider age, location and tobacco use.

Wes Jackson has headed the Land Institute since it was established in 1976. Next year he plans on stepping down from his leadership position.

Flood waters from the Brazos River encroach upon a home in the Horseshoe Bend neighborhood, Friday, May 29, 2015, in Weatherford, Texas.Credit Brandon Wade / APEdit | Remove

Roger Mills, Prescribed Fire Association

Biologist Peter Berthelsen of Pheasants Forever took action to educate land managers how to burn and created burn trailers stocked with all the hardware required to safely conduct prescribed burns. Scotia, Neb. rancher Tom Hartman talks about using fire to control an Eastern Red Cedar invasion.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

last month Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin finally acknowledged the oil industry’s culpability in the state’s recent spate of earthquakes. Meanwhile, on August 3rd the state imposed strict new limits on how much waste fluid companies can pump. These cuts are the state’s latest effort to stop the earthquakes, reports NPR member station KOSU. The new regulations require the amount of waste fluid to be cut by 38 percent by October.


Friends of ours who ranched along the Saline River found elk sheds buried in a bank when they were working cattle years ago. My first response was, “Impossible! We don’t have free-roaming elk in western Kansas.” After examining their treasures, it was clear the creature that lost these antlers inhabited this country over a century earlier. The ungulate that’d sported this rack had grazed native grasses and forbs before white men began tilling rich bottomland and running herds of cattle where buffalo once roamed.

Power Company to Invest in West Texas Solar Energy

Sep 11, 2015
Andreas Demmelbauer / Texas Tribune

the biggest power company in Texas has plans to harness sunshine. Luminant, a Dallas-based company, announced Tuesday that it would tap 116 megawatts of West Texas solar energy. That’s enough to power almost 60 thousand homes, reports The Texas Tribune.

Flower Power

Sep 9, 2015

We'll finish out our special series on weeds with a look at plants that could sometimes be mistaken for regular residents of a flower bed or border.

Their blooms can be colorful, but for the most part they will ultimately try to take over your garden space.  They also sometimes grow to ungainly proportions, so best to stay with basic well-known blooms and keep these interlopers out of your flower beds.

Kansas Pheasants & Quail Forever

Native Americans used fire to manage rangeland for thousands of years, but a 100-year burning hiatus followed settlement by Europeans of the North American heartland. Those decades of fire suppression allowed invasive plants to negatively alter the landscape. But rangeland researchers and managers are awakening to the benefits of burning.

Brownback Works to Preserve Ogallala

Sep 4, 2015
cstoddard / Flickr Creative Commons

Plentiful rains will not be enough to replenish the Ogallala Aquifer, notes the Hays Daily News. Last week, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback paid a visit to southwest Kansas, touring the bountiful fields there. But he stressed that the recent rains are insufficient to solve the crisis.

Prickles and Stickles

Sep 2, 2015

Though a far cry from cactus, today's weed entries definitely bring up some thorny issues.  We'll examine this sticky situation by defining the difference between grass burs and goatheads. And then we'll take a look at thistles that have come from other countries to make their home in the heartland.

Texas Astronomers Discover Dying Star Bursts

Sep 2, 2015
ESA/Hubble, NASA, S. Geier.

Texas astronomers announced a new discovery this week. According to Marfa Public Radio, scientists in the Lone Star State recently found that dying stars display huge outbursts as they decay. This phenomenon, characterized by hot, bright flashes, hasn’t been seen in stars like these before. Most dying stars end up as white dwarves, which pulsate like a heartbeat or vibrate rhythmically like a ringing bell.


Many producers have converted to no-till, and now progressive farmers are learning to cover crop to keep soil covered after harvesting a cash crop. Ryan Speer is such a producer. He farms in central Kansas along the Arkansas River south of Halstead.

High Plains States Tackle Water Shortage

Aug 31, 2015
Vonoth Chandar / Flickr Creative Commons

High Plains states are working to combat the water shortage, reports Beef magazine.  

Evil Edibles

Aug 29, 2015

Let's set the table and see what's on the menu, weedwise.  Today we'll discuss weeds that can function as spring tonics, or green and leafy vitamin pills.  And some of the things I commonly toss on the compost heap could become the makings of a soup or salad course.      


Nothing is more enjoyable than sitting outside on a cool Kansas evening listening to live music and watching the sun set. That is until a couple days later when you realize chiggers showed up at the same party you attended. Over 48 hours, music and breeze-induced peace and relaxation turns into itchy torture. The hungry, invisible insect larvae ruin family picnics, exciting baseball games, plum picking, and a thousand other pleasurable summer activities.

NASA Scientist Sounds Water Shortage Alarm

Aug 27, 2015
Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

A NASA scientist has sounded the alarm on America’s water shortage, reports Beef magazine.  In a recent TED talk, Jay Famiglietti called for a massive shift in the way citizens and governments manage water. Famiglietti suggested the need for more efficient irrigation and better crop selection, including more saline-tolerant and drought-tolerant crops. He also called for improved pricing models, and the institution of national and global water policies.


A recent Standard & Poor report maintains that Oklahoma will face sharp economic consequences in the future as a result of man-made earthquakes.

In Oklahoma, Bees are Vanishing

Aug 25, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma lost a greater percentage of its honeybee colonies than any other state last year. As a result, beekeepers, scientists, and farmers met in Oklahoma City this month to create a plan to help pollinating insects survive. As reported by StateImpact Oklahoma, the meeting  focused on ways to balance the use of pesticides with an understanding of the chemicals’ dangers to pollinators.  

Cimarron National Grassland to Eradicate Salt Cedar

Aug 25, 2015
Public Domain

Residents of southwestern Kansas can expect to see some changes in the coming months. The Cimarron National Grassland will soon begin a project to eradicate salt cedar, reports Kansas Agland. The project will chemically treat 191 acres of the invasive species, also known as Tamarisk. The plants will be eradicated using nontoxic chemicals, by means of spray equipment, during September and October.


The Thompson Farm and Ranch straddles the Kansas-Nebraska line. Drought in this region is entering its fourth year. The Thompson family uses no-till practices to grow dryland wheat and corn and also run cows.

ewan_the_moomintroll / Flickr Creative Commons

America is losing groundwater at unsustainable rates. Although groundwater loss is underreported and poorly documented, it’s becoming a serious global problem, notes Beef Magazine.

Wild Hog Mexican Stew

Aug 21, 2015

Well, hello Folks!  

This week, I'm sharing one of my cooler weather recipes.  Fall's coming on, and if you have wild pork in your freezer, this is the perfect use.  If not, this is still the best fall stew you'll ever have.

As in most of my cooking, I seldom add exact quantities of any of the ingredients.

As Water Dwindles, Beef Producers Try to Stay Afloat

Aug 20, 2015
cenix / Thinkstock

Water is in short supply these days, and Beef Magazine is reminding beef producers to do their part to conserve water. There are multiple ways for ranchers to conserve water.

First and most obvious: Stop the leaks. Turn off all hoses.

The next method is a bit more complicated. It involves recycling. The place to start is with feed yard retention ponds. Ranchers should consider developing a system that cleans the water and makes it acceptable for livestock use.

Grasses as Grinches

Aug 19, 2015

Broadleaf weeds are sometimes a walk in the park compared to controlling unwanted grasses.  Our six-part series on weeds moves from flowerbeds to lawns as we look at some of the better known bad boys that can take over a front or back yard in a single season if given half a chance.  We'll also discuss the dangers of some grassy grinches that can cause real trouble for man's best friend.