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

Wind Turbines' Ill Effects

Dec 14, 2017
CC0 Creative Commons

While wind energy is of benefit to environmental health, it seems to be having some ill effects on human health.

As Gatehouse News reports, a couple in Michigan knows that firsthand.

Cary and Karen Shineldecker of Mason County Michigan began suffering anxiety, headaches, ear pressure, tinnitus, heart palpitations and sleep disturbances believed to be caused by low-frequency pulsations after Lake Winds Energy began operating its 476-foot-tall turbines around their home.   

We've all heard of a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate a new building, but have you ever seen a crew of construction workers hoisting what looks like a Christmas tree to the highest beam of a completed structure? Well, I assure you: it's a thing! Commonly referred to as "topping out," this age-old ceremony has a fascinating history that spans the globe.

For the third straight year, Kansans can expect a higher than average danger for wildland fire. 

Oklahoma Forestry Service

Amid an unusually dry winter, counties in Oklahoma have begun issuing burn bans, reports KOKH.

Most of the burn bans are in counties in the eastern part of the state, but Cimarron, Harper, and Alfalfa counties in western Oklahoma have also issued bans. As of Monday, Oklahoma had issued burn bans for 16 counties. Oklahoma hasn’t seen much rain over the past two months.

Google recently announced it has now purchased 3 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity for the year, thus reaching its 2017 goal to go 100% renewable.

As Vox reports, this involved closing wind-power deals for around 400 megawatts in South Dakota and Iowa, and just under 140 megawatts in Oklahoma.

Illinois Touted As Property Tax Model For Wind Farms

Dec 11, 2017

color:#333333">Illinois’ taxing model for wind energy companies is touted as one of the best in the country, bringing in $30.4 million in property taxes in 2016, according to economic experts.


Luke Clayton

Making venison barbecue the way Luke explains how to make it is a great way to use pre-packaged steaks that are cut into half inch or so thickness. Luke uses his Smokin’ Tex Electric Smoker to supply the wood smoke flavor and he also slow cooks it in the smoker to make it really tender.

But, for those who don't have a smoker, a bit of liquid smoke and an oven should suffice. So, if you have venison steaks in the freezer and have a "hankering" for some tasty barbecue, give this week's show a listen!  

Our Turn At This Earth: Wild Times

Dec 7, 2017
Julene Bair

May, 1968. I’m 18, too young to know what love is. This guy comes to my small western Kansas town driving a classic 1956 T-Bird. I decide to attend college in eastern Kansas rather than in Colorado as I’d planned, because that’s where the guy lives. By October he proposes, and in January we are wed. I drop out of school and off we go to San Francisco, where he has found a job as an audio engineer.

Today on Growing on the High Plains, I invite you to join me as we take a visit to the Wagon Wheel Cafe & Bakery in Ulysses, Kansas to celebrate one of the best things about being alive: PIE!

Tune in today to find out how these dedicated bakers keep the crusts and fillings flowing throughout the year, and especially during the holidays—and see if your favorite pie is one of their best sellers.

acc.af.mil

Concerns over wildfires are growing in the Texas Panhandle, as the state moves deeper into an unusually dry winter.

As The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, meteorologists are warning that conditions are once again unusually ripe for fires across the region. The La Nina weather phenomenon is leading forecasters to predict dry, unusually warm weather in Texas—perfect conditions for grass fires.

Midwestern U.S. senators’ lobbying campaign paid off Thursday for farmers who supply the renewable fuel industry.

Instead of making a small cut to the amount of ethanol and biodiesel to be used in the U.S. in 2018, the EPA approved an increase of less than one percent, bringing the total to 19.29 billion gallons. The federal agency also rolled back most of the proposed decrease for cellulosic ethanol, which can be made from cornstalks and perennial grasses.

Colorado Feedlot Being Sued For Dead Fish

Nov 30, 2017
CCO Creative Commons

An eastern Colorado feedlot is being sued by Colorado that claims cow manure is to blame for killing thousands of fish, but the feedlot takes issue with some of the state’s claims.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, many of the over 100 feedlots in Colorado are located near waterways and environmentalists are concerned with historic rain events becoming more common, that manure will find its way into streams and groundwater.

The holidays are coming, and some of us are scrambling to make our seasonal gift lists. If you happen to have a gardening enthusiast in your life, there's a great book available that you might consider: The Earth Knows My Name by Patricia Klindienst.

To compile the stories in this book, the author traveled across the US, digging deep into different cultures to unearth how they engage with the food they grow. From Native Americans to immigrants from Asia and Europe, you'll learn fascinating tales of bountiful gardens in both rural and urban regions. 

CC0 Creative Commons

A new scientific study asks the question: What if everyone in America suddenly went vegan and stopped eating meat, eggs, milk, and fish.

As the Highland Plains Journal reports, the authors say that in that extreme scenario – the nation’s food supply would increase by 23 percent and greenhouse gas emissions would drop by 2.6 percent. However, to ensure people are getting their vitamins and minerals, we would need to grow different crops and take supplements to meet recommended dietary guidelines.

New Tool Available To Help Farmers Understand When Temperature Inversions Occur

Nov 28, 2017
K-State

From Kansas Agland:

Risk of herbicide dicamba drift is heightened during the weather phenomena

Kansas State University is offering a new tool to help farmers assess when temperature inversions occur in their region. The information can be useful in assessing the risk for herbicide drift when applying products such as dicamba, an herbicide used to kill weeds in genetically modified soybean and cotton crops. Accidental drift of dicamba into neighboring fields damaged millions of acres of crops this year.

Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons

Fracking operations in Texas have awakened sleeping fault lines, leading to a spate of unprecedented earthquakes across the northern part of the state, reports Scientific American.

The appearance of the quakes echoes recent history in Oklahoma. As with its neighbor to the north, the frequency of earthquakes in Texas has grown year by year since the introduction of wastewater injection from hydraulic fracturing operations.

Christmas trees are in short supply across the country, but growers in Kansas say they’ve mostly recovered from recent droughts.

Celia Goering, president of the Kansas Christmas Tree Growers Association, says a few years ago Kansas tree growers were struggling.

"This situation is looking wonderful now because we’ve had good rains in the last couple years, and that makes all the difference," she says. "The trees are growing. They’re beautiful."

On today's Growing on the High Plains, I'm serving up some Thanksgiving reflections on this year's gardening season. There has been so much for which we are thankful, including the bounty of High Plains rain since Spring.

Luke Clayton

Join Luke this week on the porch of his hunting cabin as he discusses making a tasty Dutch Kettle full of Chili, made from mule deer steak off of a fine buck he harvested up in Northern Colorado a couple of weeks ago, while hunting with his friends David and Regina Williams and Terry Tate.

Great tasting venison can be made from just about any type game meat, everything from wild hog to elk and just about everything in between! 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism wants more people to get outdoors on Black Friday.

Vlod007 / Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this year, Texas Agriculture Secretary Sid Miller unveiled a wide-reaching plan to deal with the feral hog problem in the Lone Star State. He called the scheme the “hog apocalypse,” and the plan involved scattering the state with deadly hog poison.

But the plan was scuttled when nature advocates expressed concerns about the effects the poison would have on the food chain. In the meantime, rural Texas continue to battle the hog hordes.

CC0 Creative Commons

Texas has approved the closure of two more major coal-powered energy plants, reports The Houston Chronicle.

The news will mean the layoffs of over 800 workers. Texas’s electric grid operator has determined that the closures will not adversely affect the state’s grid reliability.

Kansas’ energy-regulating agency will investigate nearly a decade’s worth of permits it granted to oil and gas companies after learning recently that some wells received permits without meeting certain state regulations.

The probe, announced Tuesday, will determine the number of wells approved since 2008 without the companies giving nearby residents accurate information about their rights to protest the wells.

The tax reform bill passed Nov. 16 by the U.S. House could slow development in the wind energy sector by reopening a two-year-old deal.

One industry leader says they’ll need the Senate in their court to protect their current agreement, which phases out production and investment tax credits through 2020.

CCO Creative Commons

The yellow Ag Tractor swooped in low, the wheels maybe 30-feet above the ground, as it approached Taxiway Charlie.

Suddenly, a mass of water gushed from the back of the plane, causing it to jerk quickly upward. Banking its wings, the pilot turned the plane toward the Hutchinson Airport.

In this week's show, Luke gives some tips that might help you transform that big buck or doe into some tasty steaks and roasts.

Hanging a deer a couple of days before butchering is always a good idea, but sometimes not possible because of warm temperatures. In a controlled environment, such as a walk-in cooler that can keep the meat just above freezing for several days greatly improves the flavor. If the weather is cool, it's always a good idea to hang the deer in a garage, barn or covered structure for a couple days.

USDA NRCS

The USDA has increased its forecast for Colorado’s corn production.

As The Prowers Journal reports, the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Nov. 9 crop production report is forecasting 187.96 million bushels of corn this fall, due to an anticipated increase in average yield, which is projected at 148 bushels per acre, up about 3 bushels per acre from last month, when the USDA predicted overall corn production in Colorado at 184.15 million bushels.

Our Turn At This Earth: Plains Icons

Nov 16, 2017
Patrick Bolduan

Every few years, I obey the compulsion, as instinctive as a migratory bird’s, to return to the home nest. Last time I visited the northwest Kansas farm I grew up on, I parked my car by the pole that used to bring electricity to our house. The electricity it brought now kept a pivot sprinkler clocking through the ghost of the farmstead my mother’s family had settled in 1906. As usual, I walked down the rows of ankle-high corn, searching for artifacts I might recognize.

Today on Growing on the High Plains, I'll dig back through my memories of the Osage orange tree—a scruffy-but-useful native of our region.

You might know them as the bushy bearer of hedge apples—those puckered, chartreuse orbs that usually just clonk to the ground and rot. Well, I grew up knowing them by a very different name, and our family employed them as pest control, believe it or not. But ask a rancher or farmer trying to secure their property border, and they'll tell you that these trees are good for a lot more!

A panel of Kansas lawmakers says the Legislature should follow through on promised funding for water projects across the state.

Pages