HPPR Environment

Science news

homeadvisor.com

Amarillo is in the fourth year of drought conditions, yet residents continue to exceed city water usage goals.  During the month of April, there have only been three days when water use was below the goal of about 44 million gallons.  This past Monday, residents used almost 60 million gallons according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Skip Mancini

 Years ago the resident architect joined up with the family environmental engineer to create a very special abode.  They spent the weekend fashioning a nesting platform for great horned owls, in hopes of providing the perfect honeymoon cottage for the pair that spent the previous year in the shelterbelt.  Ollie and Big Owlberta moved in and set up house.  Their struggle to survive in this sometimes brutal land has taken the architect and the engineer on a rollercoaster ride of joy, grief, and worry.  

Oklahoma Conservation Commission

Scientists are increasing their understanding of how playas contribute to the landscape.

biggamehunt.net

Howdy Folks!

I tell you what, I have just had a conversation with Milo Hanson about the day he shot his world record whitetail buck.  I feel like I've just been on the set of The Red Green Show.

Milo is from Biggar, Saskatchewan.  He tells the story of that day better than any radio theater.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee, lean back, and listen to Milo.

Amy Bickel / kansasagland.com

Even if you had no idea western Kansas was in the midst of a long-term drought, the scars are hard to miss.  Corrals and roads are drifted with tumbleweeds.  Irrigation ditches are bone dry.  Fence rows are filled with drifted sand, and grass in the pastures has disappeared according to a recent article from Kansas Agland.  

wikipedia.org

 There’s an old song, “Everything old is new again.”  This year a portion of Skip’s vegetable garden will be on the cutting edge of the latest culinary style.  In addition to featuring some heritage tomatoes and watermelons from the 1800s, she’s decided to add some kale seeds to the patch of greens that traditionally provide the makings of her summer salads.  If you haven’t been to the produce section recently, here’s an update on what’s hot and what’s not.

Unlocking prairie secrets from a sod house

Apr 15, 2014
Jackie Sojicko for Harvest Public Media

Ecologists in Nebraska are trying to find out what the Great Plains looked like when homesteaders settled there in the 19thcentury. To do that, they’re working with a team of archaeologists and historians dissecting a sod house, a house built out of bricks cut from dirt.

Larry Estes has had a sod house in his backyard in Gates, Neb., for as long as he can remember. He never really thought anything about it until a year ago when a repairman asked him about it.

Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

Nebraska's rainwater basin region is beneath the Central Flyway, used by tens of millions of birds migrating to the prairie pothole regions of the Dakotas, Canada and beyond to nest and mate.

unl.edu

A Swisher County resident is the first case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in Texas this year according to a recent news release from the Texas Department of State Health Services.  

Playa lakes are effective vectors for groundwater recharge and water filtration, but that assumes they're in a healthy state.

There was a time when a blood moon didn't happen for 300 years. Tonight's forecast of mostly clear skies across the high plains should give good visibility to the total lunar eclipse. The moon will have a burnt reddish orange color. The eclipse will be seen about 1am central time.

Sharks in Kansas

Apr 13, 2014
thefossilforum.com

Sharks swimming in Kansas waters? Looking for dorsal fins cutting through waters where I fish, wade, and swim gives me goose bumps. I’d already spent too much time focusing on such worries as a teenage body surfer in Huntington Beach, California.

Luke Clayton

There are few things that I enjoy more than hunting turkeys in the spring when the landscape is coming to life in many hues of green and the sun’s warming rays once again informs Mother Nature that it’s time for all her creatures to go about the task of procreation.

Water Basics 101

Apr 9, 2014
EPRI, 2014

Math helps us understand the causes of water shortages, how much water we’re wasting, as well as predict flooding.  The big picture can be seen when you grasp how much water is falling as rain or snow, moving into rivers or aquifers, and how much is being used in cities, industry and farms.  An explanation of the current water situation from the National Geographic can be found here.   

therealjackrussell.com

You’ve heard the saying, “Looks can be deceiving.” That statement describes our little terrier’s coat. When you see him, he looks like a sleek little pooch who doesn’t shed. That’s true September through February. However, when March blows in, he gives March Madness a new interpretation.

Crowley County Road and Bridge Department

Prolonged drought, bursts of high winds, and untimely rain is a recipe for an explosion of tumbleweeds across the rolling plains of southeastern Colorado, parts of New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle said a recent article in Reuters.

Barb Blevins

Our final visit to Beaver Creek Ranch and Full Circle Aquaponics takes us on a tour of the site, with a look at the animal residents and a discussion with Alice Hill about future hopes, plans, and goals.  

Farm Foundation

Southwest Kansas producer Steve Arnold had been a big irrigator. Ten wells, numerous pivot irrigation systems and 4-wheel-drive tractors on a farm near Johnson City.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

If you will take a few minutes and listen, Jason Barber will tell you the secrets of catching catfish and wipers now that spring has arrived and the water temperatures are warming up.  The warmer temperatures also mean the shad are spawning, and that's key for a successful day!   

justmakethecoffee.com

Some words stick in the mind, and serendipity is one those memorable terms rattling around in my cranium. In college, I hung out at a retreat called Serendipity House. I’d never heard the expression before, so after my first visit, I hit the dictionary.

Barb Blevins

This week we'll look at another aspect of the full circle farming concept utilized at Beaver Creek Farms and Full Circle Aquaponics, as host Alice Hill takes me through her year-round greenhouse structures.   The high tunnel and the hoop house both provide protected areas that, with proper planting and mulching methods help provide fresh vegetables throughout much of the winter.

USGS

South-central Nebraska producer John Kinley has a three-acre rainwater basin in a crop field. He talks about progressive practices such as no-till production and cover cropping.

Luke Clayton

Howdy folks!

This week, I tell you what, we are going to discover the secret of reeling in those big cats!  Jason Barber shares with us how cormorants are a key to unlocking the mystery.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When September’s flood waters came down from the Front Range foothills, they destroyed homes and wrecked office parks. The water ruined roads, bridges and highways. The floods destroyed farms and crops, and unleashed tremendous pressure on aging irrigation infrastructure, some of which dated back to the late 1800s.

city-data.com

Tornado season has begun, and it’s off to a pretty quiet start, but weather officials say that won’t last according to a recent article in the Wichita Eagle.

Scott Bauer / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says there are four principles to improving soil health:

NASA

A towering wall of dust known as a haboob pushed across a big swath of the High Plains last Tuesday said an article from Discover.

The dust streamed out of Colorado and Kansas into Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.

Winds gusting to almost 60 miles per hour reduced visibility to almost zero in southwestern Kansas. 

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

I tell you what, I wish we would have had 30 minutes to talk with Jason Barber about deadstickin last week, so I've done the next best thing.  I've brought him back again this week.  

Grazing Management: Patch Burning Research

Mar 10, 2014
Oklahoma Grazing Lands Conservation Association

This week on Playa Country, prescribed burning. Oklahoma State University's Dept. of Natural Resource Ecology & Management is researching effects of limited prescribed burning or "patch burning" to create a mosaic of patches across the landscape.

tropicoftaurus.net

If you took an evening walk or happened to look out your window eastward last Thursday, you saw what some call the Worm Moon, a term American Indians introduced.  While these nomadic people didn’t follow a Julian calendar, they knew the importance of using seasonal lunar phases to record passing time.

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