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

planobluestem.blogspot.com

As autumn officially arrives this year, I am reminded how blessed we are in western Kansas to live close to nature and her cycles.  On this vernal equinox when daylight and darkness are essentially equal,   I give thanks that I live somewhere that makes it easy for me to note such an occurrence.

epa.gov

The Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency says climate change is already happening in Kansas and the entire region.  Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson reported Administrator Karl Brooks says the best way to minimize climate change is to implement the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Great Gardens Series

Sep 24, 2014
HPPR

Skip Mancini asked gardeners from throughout our broadcast area to participate in a special 'show and tell' series on Growing on the High Plains. A 'June in January' look at eight great gardens begins with an overview of the people and places that Skip visited during the summer of 2008.

Pat Aylward/NET News

It’s a hot summer day outside of Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He’s wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

“You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools,” Chappelle says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none.”

Kansas Farmer

Scott Gonnerman started no-till practices in 2005 and began cover-cropping his east Nebraska fields in 2009. He says he used to think of the soil simply as dirt.

Luke Clayton

For the past five years, my friend Larry Large and I have outfitted elk and bear hunts on a ranch located in northern Colorado, not far from Wyoming’s southern boundary. This is rough, wild country and game is plentiful. It’s one of the few places that I know of with such a large population of black bear. Elk are always plentiful here and because we hunt during the September archery season, before snowfall triggers the resident elk to migrate to lower, warmer valleys, the animals are using their summer pattern of bedding in the black timber up high and moving into the valleys and lower elevations during the day to feed and water. 

hutchnews.com

Today begins a look back at a series called Great Gardens, which originally aired in 2008.  Visits to eight High Plains gardeners located throughout the HPPR broadcast area resulted in interviews on a variety of topics.  From wildflowers to grapevines to landscaped lawns and cottage gardens, we'll begin a repeat of this series, and a call for eight more gardeners to join in a new interview series for the future.     

United Soybean Board/Flickr

No event did more to emphasize the severity of the erosion crisis than the Dust Bowl affecting High Plains states beginning in the early-1930s.

USDA / NRCS

Mark Hilliard of Hale County, Texas, says, "This is cotton country. It's rare to find a pristine playa lake." He bought the native grassland on which the playa sits from family members, then protected the playa and a grassland buffer with a permanent Wetlands Reserve Easement.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!

We're all settled in up here in the Rocky Mountains.  We've been hearing the bugling, and seen some pretty nice herds, but so far, we've been unsuccessful.

This morning, one of the hunters missed a pretty good shot, but there will be another.

We're all back in camp, and I'm on the porch, talking with our Camp Manager Billy about the delicious breakfast he made.

Be sure and take a look at the pictures!

I'll be back with another story from the mountains and more pictures next week!

snakeroot.net

Skip explores a part of the plant world that offered something sweet in ancient times.  Today it's most prevalent in boggy areas or landscaped water gardens, which makes it quite popular in lots of back yards on the High Plains.    

Farmers in Texas County, Oklahoma, face three big challenges: wind, not much rain, and heat, but in the last two decades they've reduced water consumption by 60%.

Michael Pearce / kansas.com

Chester Peterson, Jr., of Lindsborg, Kansas, owns grass and cropland on the western margin of the Flinthills, a rolling landscape of tall- and shortgrass prairie largely unchanged since settlers crossed it in the 1860s.

dogbreedinfo.com

If you saw our fuzzy white dog, you’d swear he was good for nothing but keeping the end of the couch warm and watching his food bowl. In reality, he’s a sticker patch super hero who aides Mother Nature in her efforts to make sure prickly seed producing plants of all kinds never die out.

Elk Camp: On the Road

Aug 29, 2014
Luke Clayton

 Howdy, folks! 

It's raining on the way to the mountains.  It looks like the end of the rainbow is our elk camp.  I'll be sending you audio postcards from the trip thanks to my son-in-law who got me one of those smart phones and showed me how to use it.  I'll be sending pictures too, so you can see what things look like up here.

Deadheading

Aug 27, 2014
agricultureguide.org

Today we'll learn about an ominous sounding chore that is a necessity for maintaining a perennial flower bed.  To some of our more mature listeners the title of today's show might recall Volkswagen vans packed with Greatful Dead fans touring the summer rock concert season.  But for the true garden buff, the term denotes a frequent summer chore of clipping spent blossoms in order to tidy up and control re-seeding.  It's a task that's never-ending but necessary.   

USDA / NRCS

Over its 80-year history, the federal government's Farm Bill program refined soil, water and habitat conservation programs. Along the way, its strategy changed from "let's see how many we can sign up" to a more focused  "best bang for the buck" approach to conservation, spending funds on projects to conserve fragile landscapes.

http://threatsummary.forestthreats.org/

A relatively new tree disease has made its way to the northeastern plains of Colorado.  Thousand cankers has been confirmed in Fort Morgan.  It was likely transmitted to the community through infested wood according to a press release from Jennifer Dimas, Colorado State University Extension Office.

plantanswers.com

 Today we'll look at one of the most popular flowers in the garden, and one that is definitely easy to grow in the High Plains areas.  Once looked upon as a too tall and sometimes top heavy plant that sported pale colored blooms, phlox have been developed into various heights and some hot colors that will put some punch in your mid-summer perennial doldrums.     

Lori Potter / Kearney Hub

When Denver physician and sportsman Kent Heyborne bought land in northeast Colorado, his intent was to leave it undeveloped as bird habitat.

Luke Clayton

Folks, this week, I'm hunting for Axis deer in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  Back in the 1930's, Axis deer were stocked on ranches in the Hill Country and parts of South Texas.  Today, there are thousands of Axis roaming the region.

I used a .45 caliber big bore air rifle on a hunt for free ranging deer just outside a small town near San Antonio.  

As most of you know, I put my game meats to good use.  While recording this week's show, I was smoking a neck roast from the deer I harvested!

leavenworthtimes.com

Flowers are on trial at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Centers in Colby and Hays, Kansas. 

Kansas is a big state, with varied climate and growing conditions.  Western Kansas is unique with its hot days, lack of rain, and high elevation.  Those factors create conditions where flowers store more sugars in their petals.  That results in deeper, darker, richer, and more vibrant colors according to a recent blog post by Dr. Stevens for the Leavenworth Times.

Ducks Unlimited

    More than half of western Great Plains farmers are near retirement age. Many are considering conservation easements as a way of protecting the land from development and subdivision long after they're gone.

Michael Glasgow/Texas Tribune

In Panhandle, a Growing Need for a Shallow Lake's Water
Lake Meredith, previously empty, is only 4% full, but those 2.8 billion gallons are enough for the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority to start pumping water from the lake. The authority supplies water to Amarillo, Lubbock, and surrounding areas. The low water means higher sediment levels, which will affect the water's taste and cause higher treatment costs. More from the Amarillo Globe-News.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

This week I'm making it short and sweet.  I'm working on a story about shark fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with our old friend, Captain Mike, and I've made the trip into one last family vacation before school starts.  I'm sending pictures for you to enjoy of my grandson, Jack, catching a shark from the pier, and a big one he landed with the help of Captain Mike.

Right now, the kids are over at Schlitterbahn Water Park.  It's great family fun.  Their website is: schlitterbahn.com

Robert W Hart / texastribune.org

Water is being pumped from Lake Meredith to supplement water wells in Amarillo.  The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority reported recent rains have raised the water level at Lake Meredith from last year’s record low of 26 feet a current level of 43.5 feet according to a recent article from the Amarillo Globe-News.

Welcome to Lotusland

Aug 6, 2014
nssga.org

A visit to Santa Barbara, California brought Skip to Lotusland and a look at an amazing series of gardens that was developed by a famous opera singer.  Over the years a collection of over 3,000 plants from throughout the world have been assembled in a beautiful setting of 25 separate gardens.  Many of the garden residents are rare and unusual, and some are even protected by international treaties, making this southern California stop a real treat in itself.   

The Journal Record / http://journalrecord.com/

An oil industry geologist wants to shift the finger pointing away from the oil industry as the cause of the earthquakes in Oklahoma.  At a recent conference sponsored by the Oklahoma City Geological Society, Glen Brown, vice president of geology at Continental Resources, Inc. says the “tectonic plates are more likely to blame for the tremors in Oklahoma,” according to a recent article from the Journal Record.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When the wind picked up from the south on John Schweiser’s farm outside Rocky Ford, Colo., the sky would go black. A charging wall of dust would force the 80-year-old farmer and his wife to hunker down in their ranch-style farmhouse.

USDA / NRCS

The Thompson Farm and Ranch straddles the Kansas-Nebraska line. Drought in this region is entering its fourth year. The Thompson family uses no-till practices to grow dryland wheat and corn and also run cows.

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