High Plains Public Radio

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

caninest / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the world’s most famous wolf packs may be gone thanks to years of excessive hunting, reports The Guardian.

Alaska’s wolves were celebrated in novels by Jack London, and the East Fork pack has been studied for longer than any other collection of wolves on earth.

Rural Blog

Last year, there were 640 oil spills in the US that affected groundwater or surface water in some way. As The Rural Blog notes, many of these crude oil spills go unnoticed and unreported.

In the last seven years there have been 2,500 reported spills. And that number is probably low due to underreporting.  Some oil and gas agencies don't even track spills at the state level.

Gardeners have a saying about perennials: "The first year they sleep; the second year they creep; and the third year they leap."

Today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll unearth a few common myths about these boisterous blooms, which are quite misunderstood by beginning gardeners. If you go into the ground with a deeper understanding of what to expect from perennials, you'll sooner reap the sweet smell of success.

usgs.gov

You probably don’t think much about all those grassy strips and medians you pass on the highway during your morning commute. But, as PRI reports, those medians are providing shelter to a whole world of critters.

Some days it's so hot you have to shake your fists at the sky and ask, "Are you Sirius?" And the dog star would blink down at you and answer, "I sure am."

In this week's edition of Growing on the High Plains, Skip takes us through the origins of the phrase "Dog Days of Summer," which has more to do with  ancients musing about the night sky than it does panting pups on the prairie. 

Environmental Protection Agency / Public Domain

Looking across the endless flickering grass of the Kansas plains, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a simple ecosystem. But underneath that grass, a symphony of life hums.

A teaspoonful of Kansas soil contains tens of thousands of microbial species, says phys.org. And now scientists have managed to untangle the complex strains of life that make up the Kansas prairie symphony.

News 9

Two Oklahoma contracting companies have settled claims over a fire at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma, reports News 9 Oklahoma.

In today's High Plains Outdoors, Luke tells you how to use inexpensive cuts of pork to make some of the tastiest smoked sugar cured ham you can imagine.

Rural Blog

It’s no secret wastewater injection wells linked to fracking have led to a staggering rise in earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas. But now, notes The Rural Blog, oil and gas companies appear to have discovered a method to reduce man-made seismic activity.

Let's talk about native plants, and what they can add to YOUR High Plains garden. Not only do these natural neighbors have what it takes to survive in our unpredictable climates, they also make a seamless habitat for indigenous birds and bugs -- many of whom are crucial to the health of our landscape. 

AP photo

Last year was the hottest planet Earth has experienced since humans began keeping records over a century and a half ago. Before 2015, the warmest year on record was . . . 2014. And this year is on pace to be—once again—the hottest ever. As The Guardian put it this week, “we’re living in astonishingly hot times.”

This week's episode of "Growing on the High Plains" jabs into the secret life of A-G-A-S-T-A-C-H-E. How do you pronounce that? You'll have to listen to find out! Truly, it can be pronounced many ways, just as it's also known for its many spikes of blooming color. Enjoy this in-depth peek at a southwest native, also known as hyssop, that can add beautiful brushstrokes across your High Plains garden. 

MZMO / Flickr Creative Commons

As the threat of Zika increases, scientists are searching for creative ways to stem the tide of mosquitos in the United States. One answer may come in an animal that has traditionally been the stuff of classic horror movies: bats.

“In the United States, the vast majority of bats are insectivorous bats,” Dianne Odegard recently told Texas Standard. Odegard is a “bat rehabilitator” in Austin.

NOAA / Flickr Creative Commons

The cloud patterns that surround planet Earth appear to be changing their formation, according to PrairiePublic.org. A new study attributes the shift to global warming. The study used satellite data dating back to the 1980s to track cloud patterns.

nature.mdc.mo.gov

In the past week, I met a garden neighbor.  Apparently, this blue/green juvenile racerunner lizard moved from his burrow or wherever his last digs were into my 12 x 18 foot raised-bed garden.  Our hilltop is too rocky to support an in-ground garden, so we had to create our own little haven for tomatoes, peppers, onions, and okra.  Mr. Psychedelic must enjoy the insects that also call the Salsa in the Makings Ranch home, and he is now dining al fresco under the tomato vines.

While I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds, this little character’s reptilian movements alarmed me to leap swiftly to my feet.  After all, we live on a sunny, rocky hilltop that translates into perfect snake habitat.  I have found it is best to be on the lookout since slithery things live here too.  After my brain settled and eyes focused, I realized the new garden guard was a cute little lizard called a racerunner.

Pratt Tribune

From Kansas Agland:

In spite of the wildfire that burned nearly 400,000 acres of grassland in Barber and Comanche counties, farmers and ranchers continue to look to better times and a renewed commitment to their farm and ranch operations.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has fallen 25% this year, reports The Wall Street Journal. The decline comes after the state’s efforts to curb the oil and gas industry’s practice of pumping wastewater from its underground operations.

Seth McConnell / Denver Post

There’s a new visitor overtaking Colorado’s front range this summer, reports The Denver Post. Black-tusked tussock moth caterpillars have spread across 25,000 acres of the state in a single year. Authorities have spent almost $300,000 on a helicopter chemical assault to stop them.

www.ourhenhouse.org

 Something’s been eating my strawberries. Yes, the luscious berries that we planted two springs ago and carefully nurtured so we’d have fresh fruit over our ice cream and cake or sliced to sweeten a fresh  spinach salad. Since they first began blooming in May, I’ve harvested about 15 scarlet bursts of flavor that hip hop on my taste buds. Last week, I went to pick some for supper and discovered I’m not the only one that likes this spring treat.

Luke Clayton

In this weeks show, Luke takes you with him to the wilds of northeast Texas on a hog hunt with Tim Smith, owner and publisher of Airgun Hobbyist Magazine www.airgunhobbyist.com and Tim's son Ben. Ben is an accomplished marksman but this was his first big game hunt. We were hunting Terry Tate's ranch. Tate makes the Professional Big Bore Air Guns www.pbbairguns.com. Ben was successful in harvesting two wild hogs, one with the .45 caliber PBB Airgun  shootine a Hunter's Suipply roundball and one with an arrow using a Sam Yang rifle designed to shoot arrows. Not that Ben has his first big game animal in the cooler, he's ready for a lifetime of hunting adventures...the journey has begun!

wikipedia.org

Although apricots should be a stable staple of the fruit basket on the High Plains, the cantankerous spring weather often found in Western Kansas often gives skimpy rewards.  But sometimes just the sight of their early colorful blooms makes them worth the effort.   

Luke Clayton

Jump in the truck with me and let’s head down to Lake Tawakoni, located about an hour east of Dallas. Tawakoni is a great fishing lake for many species but especially blue and channel catfish. We’ll join veteran catfish guide David Hanson (903-268-7391) and enjoy some fast paced catching in the shade of the brand new Two Mile Bridge. David is baiting the area with soured grain and cattle cubes and catching regular limits of good eating channel catfish in the 1.5 to 3 pound range.

Brad Nading / Garden City Telegram

The “Ask Hutch” column at The Hutchinson News recently tackled a question that many rural dwellers have wondered about: Can you really be struck by lightning while taking a bath?  As children, many High Plains residents were warned against bathing during thunderstorms. A group of meteorologists agreed that the odds of being hurt like this are extremely rare. But it’s not impossible.

Green Bean Therapy

Jun 29, 2016

Let's talk about the life cycle of green beans, learn a little history of the plant, and talk about my favorite variety.  I enjoy picking beans in the cool morning.  In the company of my cats, I let my mind drift to the past and search out the future, line out chores to be done, and sometimes I find lost perspectives.  Leave your day planner on the desk and come out to the bean row if you really want to put your life in order.    

Naveena Sadasivam / Texas Tribune

A new book by a member of a think tank in Texas insists that renewable energy creates “false hope,” reports The Texas Tribune. In a talk last week, Kathleen Hartnett White praised fossil fuels and called the advent of fracking “breathtaking.” White directs the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment. While she spoke, protesters outside the event did their best to make their displeasure at her message known.

Luke Clayton

Join me this week and let's discuss catching and eating an often overlooked species of catfish, the bullhead.

There are three species of bullheads, the black, brown and yellow/, black being the most prevalent.

The Guardian

This week The Guardian posted an incredible timelapse video of a supercell storm developing in the skies over Kansas. Watch it here.

www.xerces.org

    

Today, Skip talks with Anthony Zukoff, and gets his list of favorite plants to put in your pollinator garden.  They are: blazing star, bee balm, golden rod, and milk weeds.

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

Troglodyte Miscue

Jun 17, 2016
learner.org

Kids love to find words that get under the skin of siblings or enemies. This term  gains power due scatological or other socially inappropriate connotations. For me, the word troglodyte, meaning knuckle-scraping Neanderthal, carried great import.. What could be more insulting?

Andrew Cullen / Reuters

Everyone knows that CO2 emissions are wreaking havoc on our atmosphere, leading to climate change. But there’s another gas causing even more trouble, and it gets less attention because it’s colorless and odorless. That gas is methane, and it’s a climate change powerhouse. In fact, methane is more than 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Pages