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

Kansas regulators have found that more than 1,000 applications for new wastewater disposal wells failed to give the proper 30-day public notice period.

Western Illinois might be close to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, but it’s the driest part of the state this year.

“We really haven’t really had any measurable rain since the middle of October,” says Ken Schafer, who farms winter wheat, corn and soybeans in Jerseyville, north of St. Louis. “I dug some post-holes this winter, and it's just dust.”

Farmers depend on productive, sustainable land, clean water and air and healthy animals to make a living. To help create those conditions and protect ecosystems, they get help from conservation programs that make up about 6 percent of the $500 billion federal farm bill.

Luke Clayton

In this week’s show, Luke talks about a hunt for javelina that he enjoyed this past week at one of his favorite places, Ranger Creek Ranch, near Seymour in in northern Texas. 

During the hunt, Luke used his Darton Maverick 2 compound bow to take a good "eater" that weighed about 35 pounds.

USDA

In the Oklahoma Panhandle, the nation’s largest wind farm is growing closer to completion by the day. As EcoWatch reports, the Wind Catcher Energy Connection project will include a massive 800-turbine wind farm.

This week, the project took a necessary step when Southwestern Electric Power Company reached an agreement with interested parties, including Walmart, allowing the wind farm to forward. The project is expected to cost $4.5 billion.

Our Turn At This Earth: The Writing On The Wall

Feb 22, 2018
Susan O’Shea/susanoshea.files.wordpress.com

According to legends passed down from generation to generation among the Hopi Indians, humanity has occupied three previous worlds, each of which was destroyed because we failed to honor the instructions of our creator. I learned about this myth from a man named James, a Hopi farmer whose family I stayed with during a 1980s visit to Hotevilla, the most traditional Hopi village.

We might be weathering some chilly temperatures now, but High Plains gardeners know that it's not too soon to think about spring planting. Today's Growing on the High Plains gives a shout-out to one of my favorite "firsts" among springtime flower beds: the pansy.

These bright blooms look anything but shy, and they're available in a variety of shades and fragrances. I'll offer some hot tips for these cool-weather friends, as well their love-laced legend. 

Oil Production Ramping Up In Colorado

Feb 20, 2018
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Record levels of oil production in Colorado are being driven by a steady rise in oil prices.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, oil prices rose from a low of $43 a barrel in June to just over $60 a barrel for much of January and February and the uptick in prices has prompted an uptick in oil production.

US Department of Agriculture

Groundwater levels in western Kansas remained level and rose slightly in central Kansas last year.

As The KU News Service reports, 2017 groundwater levels remained steady in western Kansas, according to data from the Kansas Geological Survey, which along with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, measures water levels in 1400 water wells in western and central Kansas each year.

West Texas A&M University will host a prominent water conservation expert on Tuesday night, as part of its Distinguished Lecture Series.

Dr. David Sedlak is a professor of environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, and he has gained an international reputation for his clear-eyed solutions to a crowded world increasingly threatened by water shortages.

In a 2016 TED talk, Sedlak outlined a four-part plan for rethinking water supply sources in water-starved cities like San Francisco. Dr. Sedlak further expanded on these ideas in his book, Water 4.0.

Zack Pistora of the Kansas Sierra Club was worried about the number of earthquakes in the state and wanted to do something about it.

“Those earthquakes can cause damage to people’s homes, businesses, public buildings,” he said. “Right now there’s no recourse for those Kansans who get affected.”

Luke Clayton

It won't be long until it's time to chalk up the old box call and get our turkey hunting gear in order for the opener of spring turkey season.

In today's show, Luke "talks turkey" and discusses some of the challenges of getting a big old long beard with a shotgun or bow range.

If you enjoy hunting turkey in the spring, it's definitely not too early to begin making plans! 

Our Turn At This Earth: As If No Tomorrow

Feb 15, 2018

When, as a young woman, I had the good fortune to stay for a few days in the home of a Hopi farming family, I saw many similarities between my host, James, and my own father. Both men had spent virtually every day of their lives outdoors, tilling soil and caring for crops. And they both did this in a dry place—in James’s case the northern Arizona desert, and in my father’s, the high, dry plains of western Kansas.

They say there are three things that matter when making decisions about real estate: ECHOLOCATION, ECHOLOCATION, ECHOLOCATION. And I suppose this especially rings true even when you're setting up a new residence for hometown bats.

"Orphan" Oil And Gas Wells Costly To Colorado

Feb 14, 2018
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Improperly abandoned “orphan” wells are costing the state of Colorado about $75,000 each and as The Denver Post reports, there are about 300 inactive wells in the state that were supposed to be plugged with cement to prevent contamination of soil and water.  

This has concerned state officials, who revealed on Monday that they are having trouble taxing the oil and gas industry at the levels needed to deal with those and other environmental impacts.

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The Amarillo region has now gone 124 consecutive days without any measurable precipitation.

Luke Clayton

On this week’s show, Luke talks about hunting javelina on Ranger Creek Ranch  in Knox County Texas. javelina season runs until Feb. 25 in northern Texas and is open year around in many southern Texas counties. 

Many hunters are not aware of the large number of javelina in northern Texas around Knox County, thinking they must travel to extreme southern Texas to do their hunting.

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Colorado’s main utility company is featured in a New York Times article for its embrace of solar and wind energy.

A Feb. 6 article outlines Colorado’s largest power company, Xcel Energy’s plans to replace two large coal-burning units with renewable energy and possibly some natural gas.

Calisphere/University of California

When I was a young woman, a friend who assisted the Hopi Indians with their causes invited me to join him on a visit to Hotevilla, the most traditional village on the Hopi Indian reservation. The Hopi descended from ancient Pueblo cultures that emerged in the desert Southwest around the 12th Century BC. They dwell in the region we now think of as northern Arizona. Their ability to stay in one place through the seasons, decades, and centuries rests on the domestication of corn on this continent seven thousand years ago.

A big, leafy-green high five to two of Amarillo's favorite urban farm-to-table advocates: Brady Clark, Executive Director of Square Mile Community Development, and Danny Melius, Founder & Market Gardener of Nuke City Veg. 

They say, “Every rose has its thorn,” but not the beautiful blooms cropping up on today’s Growing on the High Plains. Nor do they require watering, pruning, or pest control—and yet they give new meaning to the word “perennial!”

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While the solar industry, as a whole, lost jobs between 2016 and 2017, Colorado saw growth in solar energy jobs. 

According to Greentech Media, the solar industry lost 9,800 jobs between 2016 and 2017 – the first drop recorded since the National Jobs Census began collecting data in 2010.

Lawsuits filed in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri against the makers of the herbicide dicamba will be centralized in the federal court in St. Louis.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Ligitation decided Thursday to centralize the 11 cases, which allege the herbicide caused significant damage to soybean crops. 

Shelby Knowles / The Texas Tribune

Dozens of small and rural utilities in the state have for years provided water that contains illegal levels of radiation, lead and arsenic. Lack of resources is largely to blame — but there's more to it than that.

From The Texas Tribune:

Luke Clayton

In today's show, Luke talks about a recent hog hunt he enjoyed with his friend Jeff Rice on Jeff's ranch, The Buck and Bass.

Jeff's ranch is located on the upper end of Lake Fork in East Texas and is home to countless wild hogs. Luke connected with a fat 100-pounder and turned the backstraps into what he describes as, "The best pork I've even eaten".

Here's Luke's recipe: 

From Texas Standard.

In 1941, Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie published The Longhorns, the definitive book on the quintessential Lone Star State livestock. Dobie was unsparing in his description of the breed, calling them bony, thin-flanked, some even grotesquely narrow-hipped, but also uniquely suited for the Texas terrain. They were built for survival, not show, which makes them quite different from their modern relatives.

In a time when good news and brotherly love sometimes seems to be at a low ebb, it's nice to know there are brilliant ideas still soaring through the minds of gifted innovators. Today's Growing on the High Plains shares the story of a British aeronautics engineer that's exploring novel methods to provide food aid to those in need. Spurred by war or natural disasters, critical food shortages have become all too common in our troubled times, but this man's solution warmed my gardening heart.

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If you live on the High Plains, you’re likely familiar with grackles.

In Amarillo the birds can often be seen in prolific numbers, lurking in trees above strip mall parking lots, like an image out of a postmodern Edgar Alan Poe spoof.

KTRK recently published a few facts about the black birds, courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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The Texas Panhandle is in the middle of one of its longest dry spells ever.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the Amarillo area hasn't received measurable rainfall in more than 100 days. The Panhandle is the most severe example of a larger problem. According to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, 40 percent of Texas is now experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions. And things aren’t expected to improve anytime soon.

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