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

New Institute Founded to Study Soil Health

Dec 14, 2015
agriculture.com

Soil plays a critical role in our everyday lives. But over the last 150 years, half of the earth's topsoil has been lost. In the U.S. alone, 70% of the soil is considered marginal. These trends are alarming, and a new research organization called the Soil Health Institute has been founded to try to reverse them. The institute’s aim will be to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of the earth’s soil.

Luke Clayton

This week Luke travels out to far west Texas to hunt whitetail deer with his friend Steven Ray, maker of Rattling Forks (www.rattlingforks.com) and another great friend, Brad Fenson, a well known outdoors writer from Alberta. During the hunt, Steven rattled in many bucks and Brad was lucky enough to harvest a rare piebald buck (see picture).

Luke is a happy camper also, he used his Darton Toxin Crossbow to take a heavy buck and doe. Listen to parts of this hunt as they developed! 

Brent Frazee / Kansas City Star

Finding scenic water spots can be difficult in the arid plains of southwestern Kansas. But Clark State Fishing Lake, in Clark County, is actually one of the state’s most scenic bodies of water.

Hidden in a deep canyon, Clark State Lake is “a sparkling jewel of a lake that looks like it belongs in a state such as Utah or New Mexico,” says The Kansas City Star.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After a surge of earthquakes has overtaken Oklahoma, researchers have scrambled to figure out what to do about the problem. Their investigations have led them to a certain class of wells, which oil companies fill with wastewater and other fluid byproducts of oil and gas production during the fracking process.

www.gctelegram.com

Irrigation is no longer an option in Kansas’s smallest county, reports the Baldwin City Signal. After decades of overuse, the water source beneath Greeley County’s arid prairie has been sucked dry. Five years ago, county residents voted to allow a massive corporate hog-feeding operation to move in, thinking hogs use less water than crops.

Will Man-Made Tornadoes Power Our Homes Someday?

Dec 10, 2015

Louis Michaud invented the atmospheric vortex engine as a way of creating controlled, man-made tornadoes.Credit Scott Gries / National Geographic ChannelsEdit | Remove

.blisstree.com

Today Skip shares how her potted Christmas tree tradition beautifies her home during the holiday season, then goes on to function in her shelterbelt.  The living trees give protection from High Plains winds, add splendor to the landscape, and serve as a reminder of Christmases past.   

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma saw relief from five years of drought this year—with torrential floods. But state climatologist Gary McManus made clear last week that Oklahomans shouldn’t get too used to all the precipitation, reports StateImpact. “Ocean patterns are favorable for now, but uncertain in the long term,” he said. McManus added, “drought can come back in less than a year’s time.”

Fallin Proposes Water Conservation Group

Dec 9, 2015
Public Domain

Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin has revealed a new idea to save water—and reduce earthquakes. Member station KGOU reports that Fallin has announced a new panel called the “Water for 2060 Produced Water Working Group.” The idea is to find ways to meet the state’s goal of using less freshwater in 2060 than was used in 2010.

OK Corporation Commission Rejects Utility Rate Hike

Dec 8, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Texas

Oklahoma’s largest utility recently asked the state’s corporation commission to approve a plan that would have raised monthly utility rates for the state’s citizens by 20 percent. However, the commission rejected the plan, reports member station KGOU. The proposal was an effort by Oklahoma Gas & Electric to pay for upgrades. The improvements would have put coal-fired power plants in compliance with the federal Clean Air Act.

Colorado Farm Bureau / Creative Commons

Climate change could pose a danger to the food supply in Colorado—and across the world, according to Colorado Public Radio. CPR’s report comes on the heels of a new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The three-year investigation says the water supply in Colorado will likely be impacted by the earth’s changing climate.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Shaw Family Farms produces 1,000 calves a year. The cows and those calves require lots of forage. A field under crop production has several playa lakes, and that often made farming the field a challenging proposition.

Food Coprporations Lobby for Climate Change Action

Dec 7, 2015
Issouf Sanogo / AFP/Getty Images

The Paris climate talks seem a world away from the High Plains.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!  This week, I'm coming to you from the front porch of my little cabin.  You know, hunting with crossbows has become very popular the past few years as more and more states allow the use of crossbows during the general archery season.

Take a listen, I'd like to talk with you a bit about crossbow history and also shares some safety tips and generally introduce new shooters to this exciting method of hunting that dates back at least 2,000 years before Christ.  

joshuadelaughter / Flickr Creative Commons

A new project is looking to provide Kansas wind power to cities in the east, reports Switchboard—the Natural Resources Defense Council Blog. The Grain Belt Express is an almost 800-mile high voltage transmission line running from Kansas to Indiana. The Illinois Commerce Commission recently approved the construction of the transmission lines in the state.

At Pantex Plant, Wildlife Research Thrives

Dec 4, 2015
Texas Department of State Heath Services

The Pantex nuclear warhead storage and disassembly facility outside Amarillo covers 28 square miles. In recent years, many students from West Texas A&M University and Texas Tech have conducted wildlife research on this highly unusual property, reports The Wildlife Professional and the National Nuclear Security Administration blog.

TPPF

The Obama administration has unveiled its sweeping new carbon reduction mandate, known as the Clean Power Plan. And despite vehement opposition, Republicans still have no strategy to counteract the measure, reports The Texas Observer.

Jim Urquhart / Reuters

Yellowstone National Park has caused controversy with its annual slaughter of some of the bison roaming the park. But now, reports The Guardian, Yellowstone is looking to relocate the animals rather than cull them. The original plan was that the park would deliver bison to Native American tribes for slaughter. The annual cull helps reduce the risk of bison passing brucellosis on to Montana’s cattle.

2015 is the International Year of Soils

Dec 2, 2015
Pat Dumas / Creative Commons

The 68th United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. In honor of this, nature.com published a reminder last week about preserving our soil’s riches. Soil is a thin living membrane stretching across landscapes. It’s sometimes described as the Earth's skin. And like our own skin, it protects our world and needs to be kept healthy. Soils contain three times as much carbon as plants. And soil provides nutrients and water for the world's forests, grasslands and deserts.

High Plains Ranchers Need a Drought Plan

Dec 1, 2015
Cynthia Mendoza / USDA photo

Last week Beef magazine published a warning for ranchers: If you don’t have a drought plan, get one.

Brian Bledsoe, a Colorado Springs meteorologist, gave his 2016 weather forecast to more than 700 cattle producers. “This blessing of moisture we’ve had over the High Plains . . . is not going to last,” he said. Bledsoe believes the El Niño will peak in the next month or so. After that, he says the moistures will diminish in intensity and go back the other way.

Edmund Garman / Flickr Creative Commons

Smith Center, KS, physician Joe Barnes is a hunter. He purchased farm land for hunting, and was disappointed the land looked so barren following harvest. He was consulted by Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologist Tyson Seirer on ways Barnes and his tenant producer could make crop fields more hospitable for pheasant and quail at little additional expense.

goshootguns.com

Each year about this time, for the past 26 years, I have compiled a list of gift ideas for outdoor folks. As a full time outdoors writer and radio show host, I have the opportunity to review and put to use a great number of useful products. Some I consider a “must have” for any sportsman, others seem to wind up out in my storage building, never to be used again. Here are a few outdoor items, some costing a few dollars and others costing a few hundred that I use on a regular basis and highly recommend. Keep in mind that some of these products must be ordered via the company’s web site.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

On Nov. 19 Oklahoma regulators ordered two oil and gas companies to shut down four disposal wells near the town of Crescent. The directive came after a 4.0-magnitude quake was recorded earlier that day, according to StateImpact Oklahoma.

Andy Marso / Kaiser Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A task force that will make recommendations for how to fund the state’s water projects was unveiled Wednesday.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force is part of the 50-year plan to secure the state’s water supply that Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration rolled out last year.

Michael Pearce / kansas.com

Larry Haynes of Holyoke, CO, used to farm right through playa lakes in a field. He stopped that practice because in too many years, it was impossible to harvest crops that were flooded-out in the wetlands. He's a proponent of putting land to its best use. In his case, that meant developing those wetlands into wildlife habitat to benefit autumn and winter hunting.

OK's Sea of Juniper May Require Fire

Nov 23, 2015
inverse.com

Oklahoma rangeland specialists are warning of a slow-motion ecological disaster, reports inverse.com. Juniper trees are gradually stripping Oklahoma of its grasslands. They’re everywhere, eating up the plains. These trees destroy historical ecosystems and fill in otherwise productive rangeland. Two different species of juniper are causing problems: Ashe juniper and eastern redcedar.

Colorado Adopts Landmark Water Plan

Nov 23, 2015
Cyrus McCrimmon / Denver Post

Colorado adopted a landmark $20 billion water plan last week, reports The Denver Post. The new law hopes to accommodate rapid population growth in the state.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!

Today, I've been reflecting on what a treasure the outdoors is, and how the tradition needs to be passed on to the next generation so they will appreciate it as we do.  Take a listen, and then give yourself a little time to think about what you could do to teach someone how dear you hold the great outdoors.

In the Fields, a Search for Monarch Butterflies

Nov 20, 2015
Mike Tobias / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The population of monarch butterflies has declined so dramatically in recent years that the iconic insect is being considered for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list. In Nebraska and across the other areas of the Midwest, a stop on the monarch migration route, efforts are underway to determine the scope of the decline.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

Sandra Ladra, a resident of Prague, Oklahoma, was injured during a 2011 earthquake. Mounting evidence has shown that the earthquakes were caused by the injection of wastewater from fracking. So Sandra decided to sue the oil and gas companies that operate injection wells in her area.

The Wall Street Journal has published a debate about whether oil companies should be held liable for injuries caused by the quakes.

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