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

agweb.com

Ag research has done a lot for the High Plains, but it’s not getting the recognition it deserves, according to a senior irrigation engineer at Texas A&M University. Thomas Marek says today’s irrigated agriculture is capable of producing 40 percent more grain with 90 percent less energy and 60 percent less water than in the past, reports agjournalonline.com.

Grant Gerlock / NET News/Harvest Public Media

On nights during Lent in Nebraska, the Friday night fish fry has become an annual tradition. And all of that frying uses up a lot of vegetable oil, which might be thrown out. But one enterprising Nebraskan had a better idea, reports netnebraska.org. At one recent fish fry, 800 people ate more than 200 pounds of fried fish.

KFOR.com

Officials in Oklahoma are now using advanced technology in an attempt to get ahead of the spate of earthquakes caused by fracking and wastewater disposal by oil and gas companies. The technology is much needed, as the third largest earthquake in state history was recorded last month.

New seismic sensors have now been put in place to locate and determine the size of the nearest fault line to the big quake’s location in Fairview, reports KFOR. The Oklahoma Geological Survey has also installed a broadband seismometer, an instrument that locates earthquake sources.

Kansas Sunflowers

Mar 24, 2016

    This week’s sojourn into our series honoring state flowers takes us along the highways, byways, and flatlands of the Sunflower State.  And we’ll renew our quest for an answer to one of botany’s intriguing mysteries. Sunflowers in Kansas can be regarded as a cash crop, a highlight of the flower garden, or one of the most colorful weeds along the roadways.  In any case, they’re a welcome sight. 

travelok.com

This spring is looking to be a dry one in Western Oklahoma, reports NewsOK.com. That’s bad news for ag producers in areas like Roger Mills County. Last spring, Roger Mills saw more rain in a few months than it often does in an entire year. But, unfortunately, the county hasn’t gotten much moisture since.

Migratory Bird Treaty (MBT) Centennial

Mar 22, 2016

Bird and habitat conservation organizations in 2016 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first international treaty to extend protections to migratory birds.

colorado.com

After a year in Colorado with abundant rains, abnormally dry conditions have been creeping across southeast Colorado over the past several weeks, according to The Denver Post. Last July, Colorado was nearly devoid of any dehydration.

Phil Zimmerman

In last week’s column we visited about my recent five-day fishing trip with Cree River Lodge to the remote waters of northern Saskatchewan. This week, I’d like to recreate a typical day up there, if there is such a thing as “typical” in the most awesome part of the world.

Luke Clayton

On this week's show, I'm making chicken fried wild pork cutlets for a couple buddies coming over.  Take a listen, and give it try!

Jo-Anne McArthur / National Geographic

Every year rattlesnakes are taken from the wild on the High Plains and slaughtered in what are known as “rattlesnake roundups.” These events are promoted as fun for the whole family.

Texas Bluebonnets

Mar 15, 2016

Bluebonnets don’t bloom very long, but when they do they are the highlight of a trip to Texas.  We’ll look at ways to try and ‘grow your own’, giving them  lots of sun and not much water. But the best way to experience bluebonnets is to travel down to Central Texas in March and April and take in the native wildflowers as they carpet the roadways.

Kansas Geological Survey / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

It has become known as the miracle May.

The spring was dry. Farmers were thinking it could be another drought disaster year. And then May came. The skies opened and anywhere between 6 and 12 inches fell in many areas of the state.

Landowner Restores Playa in New Mexico

Mar 15, 2016
USDA / NRCS

Today a playa-rehab success story. Eastern New Mexico rancher John Wood owns a 2,800-acre cow-calf operation about 40 miles north of Clovis. The land has a a 250-acre playa that was rehabbed with the help of The Nature Conservancy.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission / Rural Blog

Oklahoma has announced a new plan to slow the staggering rise of earthquakes in the state, reports The Rural Blog. The earthquakes have been linked to fracking and wastewater disposal performed by the oil and gas industry. The new plan will cover more than 5,200 square miles of central Oklahoma.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

It's spawn time for white bass, some people call them sand bass, and I am out fishing with my neighbor, Mike Price and his son Josh.  We're at their secret spot, and I am not going to tell you the location on their creek, but if you just look at the pictures, you'll see we brought home a great catch!

What is better than sunshine, a stringer of fish, a splat of mud, and some great neighbors?

This is the life!

Take a listen and come back next week.  I'll have another outdoor adventure to share!

What's The Problem With Pits?

Mar 11, 2016
Texas Parks and Wildlife

A functioning playa provides water to recharge the aquifer. There's also a whole community of wetland plants and invertebrates that need the very shallow water found in a healthy playa. These plants and invertebrates provide food for migrating birds.

Bill Byrne / The Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife/AP photo

Folks on the High Plains rarely complain about the lack of venomous rattlesnakes. But that seems to be exactly what’s happening in Massachusetts. According to The Guardian, the New England state is concerned about a species of rattlesnake that’s been wiped out in the wild. So Massachusetts has decided to establish a colony of rattlesnakes on a deserted island.

Ian MacKenzie / Flickr Creative Commons

Did you know it’s against the law to collect rainwater and use it to water your plants in Colorado? In fact, Colorado is the only state in the country where it’s illegal to capture rainwater for use at a later time. And now, reports member station KVNF, lawmakers are debating whether to change that law. If changed, the legislation would allow residents to use rain barrels to collect precipitation that falls from their roofs.

Programa Nacional de Acrídios / Senasa

From Harvest Public Media:

The normally dry northern region of Argentina has a problem of biblical proportions.

Farmers there are struggling with a massive outbreak of locusts. Dark clouds of the green-brown bugs cast shadows when they fly overhead and when they land, they cover the ground.

“It is really, really, amazing when you see the locusts because you see millions of them together,” said Juan Pablo Karnatz, who raises cattle in Santiago del Estero, about 600 miles northwest of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. “When you think they can be more millions flying around, it could be a disaster.”

wisc.edu

Native grasslands are being cultivated into cropland faster than at any time since before the Great Depression, according to the Center for Rural Affairs. Between 2011 and 2012—the most recent years data is available—nearly 400,000 acres of US grassland was converted to cropland. Nebraska topped the list of US states with more than 85 square miles of land being converted from native prairie to farmland in that single year.

ewea.org

Wind energy is exploding nationwide, and Colorado is hoping to be a big part of the revolution. In 2015 the US wind industry had its third-best year in terms of new wind farms built. Across the nation, the industry installed almost 9,000 megawatts worth of wind turbines, reports Denver Business Journal. That’s a 77 percent increase over the previous year. Colorado installed wind turbines capable of generating 400 megawatts worth of renewable power.

Celia Llopis-Jepson / Topeka Capital-Journal

Pollution has become a major problem in Kansas waters, reports The Salina Journal. Drinking, boating and fishing have grown impossible in many Kansas streams due to contamination from pesticides, severe erosion, and livestock and urban runoff. But now the Nature Conservancy of Kansas hopes to reverse the trend. The nonprofit has put up a $2 million gift that will be used to build and promote stream conservation in the state.

www.nebraskaeducationonlocation.org

Some interesting facts about the Ogallala Aquifer came to light at the Panhandle-South Plains Water Conservation Symposium in Amarillo last week, reports Amarillo.com. For example, if the water currently in storage in the aquifer only covered the area of a football field, the water would stretch a quarter of the way to the moon.

wikipedia.org

Just when the winter doldrums are about to  win the boredom trophy, here comes a breath of fresh air and springtime!  Colorful pansies are just the thing to get you going in the garden, as they survive frosty weather.  And if it’s still too arctic outside, you can start them indoors by nesting them in a bowl of potting soil. 

Picasa / Houston Chronicle

Hunters on the Texas coast have been asking, where are all the ducks?

Let's talk turkey!

Mar 8, 2016
tpwd.texas.gov

 Howdy, Folks!

Join me this week and learn a few tips that might just help you harvest that ole' long beard turkey gobbler in a few weeks!

Filling Pits in Playas on National Grasslands

Mar 8, 2016
Dale Daniel

Many playas on federal grasslands in southeast Colorado, southwest Kansas, New Mexico and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles have pitted playas. There's a cooperative effort underway to rehab some of these playas.

Mose Buchele / KUT news

A lot of Texas residents are wondering what happened to winter, according to Austin member station KUT. While it’s true that we’ve had plenty of nice days to go outside in February, the weather has had other impacts as well. In Austin, the famous bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge have been out and about. Normally they aren’t seen until summertime. 

landsofamerica.com

Well, howdy folks!

Today, I'd like to you to hop in the pickup with me as I travel down to South Texas to be with a couple old friends.  I'll be meeting up with Larry Weishuhn and Wayne Hays at Wayne's ranch.  We're going to be doing some Axis Deer and hog hunting.

I've know Wayne for a lot of years.  He owns Hogman Outdoors.  What I regret to tell you is that my hunt is not over.  I had to send this off to meet deadlines, so stay tuned for the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The middle of winter is when the stream of locally grown fruits and vegetables in the Midwest begins to freeze up.

Nicole Saville knows first-hand. Saville is the produce manager at Open Harvest, a grocery coop in Lincoln, Neb. The store promotes food grown by local farmers, but this time of year there just isn’t much available.

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