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

Sometimes, if you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself. This has certainly been true for some of my more challenging garden endeavors, including Fall gardens. These pose many a hardship for those in our region. In fact, finding adequate seed options might be the biggest yet.

Before You Tear That Old Barn Down ...

Sep 13, 2017
Creative Commons CC0

Barns are as much a symbol of the High Plains as the plains themselves and while many old barns are being replaced with metal sheds and outbuildings, there are ways to give barns a new shot at life.

According to the Center for Rural Affairs, financial assistance through state and federal tax credits may be available to help aid in the process of restoring an old barn.

There are several steps to be taken, however.

SHEPPARD.AF.MI

Friday was the official start of Colorado’s dove hunting season and because the Arkansas Valley of southeast Colorado is so vast, scouting for the birds is essential – at least according to two hunters.

CCO Creative Commons

Plans for the largest wind farm in the U.S. to be built in the Oklahoma Panhandle were recently announced by developers, but military air bases are pushing back.

As State Impact reports, the western part of Oklahoma is an ideal place for military flight training because of its wide open skies.

Wikipedia

The deer population in south-central Kansas is being tested for a fatal disease.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, two deer from Stafford County tested positive for chronic wasting disease – or CWD -  a contagious disease that’s always fatal to deer, elk and moose.

Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia Commons

A new law in Texas would allow hunters to shoot feral hogs and coyotes from hot air balloons. But now, balloonists in the Lone Star State are refusing to offer the opportunity to participate in the activity, citing logistical problems.

The Texas Tribune recently spoke with many balloonists and insurers across the state, and they all said they hadn’t heard of anyone planning to hunt hogs from hot air balloons.

Luke Clayton

As Luke explains, there’s something special about hunting on one of the big farms in Kansas, and that’s the deer.

His guest this week, Larry Weishuhn fondly recalls hos own deer hunting trips to Kansas. He drew a tag for the Sunflower State this season and is excited about the opportunity to put one of those bruiser Kansas bucks on the meat pole!

The herbicide dicamba is thought to have been the culprit in more than 3 million acres of damaged soybeans across the country, destroying plants and leaving farmers out millions of dollars in crops.

The chemical has been in use for decades, so why is it today apparently causing farms so much damage?

Beethoven loved being close to nature, and often left Vienna to work in the country. These rural sabbaticals inspired Beethoven's only programmatic work: Symphony No. 6, also known as the "Pastorale." We'll hear this monumental work this week on Amarillo Symphony Presents.

On today's Growing on the High Plains, we'll have a special report from Pumpkin Paradise -- part two of our three-part series. And this time, we'll hear from field correspondent, Bryan Bihorel.

Trudge through the mud with us, as Steve and Janet Weidner reveal the pumpkins' progress across their 12-acre pumpkin patch in Sublette, KS. We'll learn a about squash bees, cucumber beetles, and reproduction -- pumpkin style.

nps.gov

The Texas Panhandle may be headed for an ecological disaster.

As The Texas Observer reports, the Llano Estacado could be undone by conservation efforts put in place to save the region from the Dust Bowl. At issue is the Texas Panhandle’s natural predilection for encouraging wildfires.

Luke Clayton

For many years, season hunting leases were the norm. Hunters would lease a tract of land, set up feeders, campers, food plots, etc. and "work" the lease throughout the year, putting corn in feeders, fixing up the camp, etc. But, in today's busy world, folks have less time to devote to the year around upkeep of a season lease.

Ranell Scott, owner of Ranger Creek Ranch, located in North Texas, about 80 miles south of Wichita Falls, has a plan in place for her ranch that is being very well-received among the hunting crowd.

There's a peace in letting nature have its way. I've learned this well after so many years tending gardens in our challenging climate.

Today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll take a late-summer's amble to the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, Kansas -- a singular escape to prairie landscapes past. Come with me as we explore a sanctuary for native trees, shrubs, plants, wildflowers, and grasses -- not to mention education, recreation, birds, fish, and a few literary surprises. 

jpl.nasa.gov

Traditionally, Evangelicals in America have been one of the most resistant groups to the idea of climate change and global warming. In fact, according to The Guardian, only one in four evangelicals believes that there is consensus in the scientific community regarding climate change.

Green Mountain Reservoir

Tiny mussel larvae in Colorado’s Green Mountain Reservoir has water managers concerned that the invasive species will impact not only water-based recreation, but also drinking water, statewide.

Wikimedia Commons

Hurricane Harvey and the massive flooding in Texas are driving up gas prices in Kansas and nationwide.

At least 10 oil refineries near the Gulf Coast, representing about 15 percent of the nation’s refining capacity, are shut down.

If you’ve passed a gas station lately, you’ve seen it. Gas prices are inching up.

Jennifer Haugh with AAA Kansas says they’re tracking changes daily.

"Overall Kansas average, we’ve gone up a nickel so far," Haugh says. "We are definitely still behind the national average that’s jumping too, so we are still in a good place."

Higher temperatures thanks to climate change could cut down the output of farmers the world over.

An international group of researchers compiled dozens of studies to see what happens to yields of corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans as the global climate grows warmer.

They found that every time global temperatures go up 1 degree Celsius, not quite 2 degrees Fahrenheit, crop yields fall. On average, three percent for soybeans, six percent for wheat, seven percent for corn.

Environmental regulations and commitments to address global warming are certainly not on terra firma. The Trump administration has vowed to ease emissions controls for power plants and to get coal miners back to work.

The Jeffrey Energy Center, in St. Mary’s, Kansas, near Topeka, is one such coal-fired power plant.

Dozens of people from Kansas and Missouri are on their way to the Gulf Coast of Texas as Tropical Storm Harvey continues to batter Houston and other parts of southeastern Texas.

kansastravel.org

Two western Kansas lakes were recently featured in a Wichita Eagle article highlighting five of the state’s prettiest lakes built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which during the Great Depression gave thousands of men jobs when there practically were none.

One of the lakes built by the Corps was Scott State Fishing Lake in Scott County, which was once rated by National Geographic as one of the 50 best state parks in the nation.

Luke Clayton

Everyone loves a good hunting tale. 

In today's show, Luke relates a hair-raising encounter with a full-grown male mountain lion.

Luke says the details of the event are as vivid in his mind today as when they happened. Everyone worries about bear in mountain country, and rightfully so, but a full-grown mountain lion presents much more of a problem, at least to Luke's way of thinking! 

ARS TECHNICA

A Stanford University study last year predicted fewer earthquakes in Oklahoma given there was less oil and gas drilling activity, but as State Impact reports, new research indicates that while there have been fewer earthquakes in Oklahoma, the likelihood of stronger earthquakes has doubled.

On today's Growing on the High Plains, we'll examine a non-native plant of biblical proportions. 

Polygonatum, also known as "Solomon's seal," offers much more than meets the eye. It can grow up to four feet in height, bearing beautifully-blanched, bobbing bells that morph into blue-black berries in the autumn. 

Furthermore, its underground root stalks, or rhizomes, are a known herbal remedy. Plus, this darling of the shaded flower bed is known to conceal a religious relic deep in the dirt.  

Sen. Gardner Tours Colorado's Camp Amache

Aug 23, 2017
AMACHE.ORG

 The National Park Service is considering taking steps to manage Camp Amache in Granada, Colorado and on Monday, Colo. Sen. Cory Gardner visited the site to get a feel for the private efforts that have allowed the site and the museum to be developed and maintained.

As The Prowers Journal reports, Gardner serves on the subcommittee for Public Lands, Forests and Mining, making him the ‘go-to’ representative in Washington, DC to help aid development of the project.

CREATIVE COMMONS CC0

While Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper isn’t taking a stance on policies regarding how close new homes can be built to existing oil and gas wells, he is asking oil and gas operators to provide the money needed to plug around 700 to 800 “orphan wells” in the state.

Across the United States, millions got a near-once-in-a-lifetime chance to view a total solar eclipse Monday. In the weeks leading up to the event, lines of people looking to get special solar eclipse glasses stretched outside of shops. And even Amazon had to issue a recall for some glasses that weren't up to snuff.

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. 

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