High Plains Public Radio

HPPR Environment

hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
fauna (wildlife)
climate change

Management & conservation
water conservation
soil conservation
wildlife protection
policies & regulations

Sore Hands No More

Dec 26, 2015

Frigid temperatures do more than raise the gas bill. Cold, frosty days redden and roughen flesh, leading to splitting skin on fingers and hands that hurts as bad as or worse than a paper cut. No matter how much girly girl lotion and cream I applied in January and early February, I couldn’t smooth out either the hangnails that snagged on bulky sweaters and hoodies or soothe away those painful, weather-induced wounds that formed at the edges of my finger and thumbnails and over the tops of knuckles.

This holiday season brought two frontier explorers to the Mancini homestead.  The red pair reminds me winter won't last forever, and brightens the dreary landscape.    

High Plains Farmers Battle Hessian Fly Infestation

Dec 24, 2015
Bugwood.org / Creative Commons

Farmers on the High Plains are experiencing an infestation of Hessian Flies this growing season. And there’s not much to be done about it, says Agriculture.com.

A TX Panhandle Rancher Catches Water For His Herd

Dec 23, 2015
Drovers Cattle Network

A Texas Panhandle rancher has found an efficient way to capture rainwater for his herd, and ease pressure on the Ogallala Aquifer in the process. According To Drovers Cattle Network, Hale County rancher Bob Durham has devised a catchment system for his two large livestock barns. The rainfall is captured in six, 5,000-gallon water storage tanks. The system also has a first-flush diverter to clean the water coming off the barn.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Environmental Protection Agency recently cracked down on coal plant emissions in North Texas. The move comes as part of an effort to improve the haze problem at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Southwest Oklahoma, reports StateImpact Oklahoma.

It's Bald Eagle Season in Oklahoma

Dec 23, 2015
Nigel / Flickr Creative Commons

Now is the time of year in Oklahoma when nature lovers take to the state parks and wildlife refuges to look for a rare sight: bald eagles. Oklahoma is one of the top 10 states in the nation for winter eagle viewing, according to NewsOK. As they migrate south for the winter, the Sooner state is especially attractive to these majestic birds. During the winter months, as many as 2,000 eagles are estimated to gather in Oklahoma.

Playa Renovation: Haynes Farm, Holyoke, CO

Dec 22, 2015

Holyoke, CO, farmer Larry Haynes talks about putting land "to its best use." For decades he attempted to farm playas in his fields but said he "rarely" was able to harvest crops grown in those wetlands. He decided to forget attempting to farm the playas and instead renovate them and plant large plant buffers around them, thus putting the playas "to their best use" as wildlife habitat.

Your Guide to the December Solstice

Dec 21, 2015

The Winter Solstice is upon us. For those of us in the Central time zone, the solstice will occur Monday, December 21, at 10:48 p.m. For those of you in Colorado, the event occurs at 9:48. Earthsky notes that a solstice is a cause of celebration for people all over the globe. It means early sunset and late dawn. It’s the shortest day and longest night of the year. 

Another Slow Year for Tornadoes

Dec 18, 2015
Justin1569 / Wikimedia Commons

In an age of uncommon and harrowing weather incidents that seem to appear almost weekly, here’s some refreshing news. For the fourth consecutive year, the number of tornadoes in the United States was well below normal, reports The Wichita Eagle. This year saw about 15 percent fewer tornadoes than usual. And most of the tornadoes that did appear were extremely weak. More than 63 percent of the tornadoes that touched down by the end of October were rated EF-0. This means they had winds of between 65 and 85 mph.


Howdy, Folks, ole Luke here has a special guest sharing secrets today.  Cleon Carraway.  You might remember Cleon, he's a the guy who makes his own calls.  He's giving us tips about setting up, and a demonstration on successful calling.  Take a listen, and I'll be back next week with more hunting and fishing stories. 


Skip's quest to continue the tradition of a live Christmas tree takes her back to Brandt Nursery in Boise City, Oklahoma.  A Douglas Fir catches her eye, and she takes it home with Gunther Brandt's words echoing in her head, "Now  that Doug Fir is kind of a foreigner, so keep his feet moist and give him a shower bath as often as possible.  And, put him some place where he's protected from this dry wind."  

Kansas Moves to Comply with New Federal CO2 Rules

Dec 16, 2015
FreeFoto.com / free use image

Kansas is taking its first steps toward complying with new EPA requirements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal. While Kansas is suing the federal government to block the Clean Power Plan, the state is also making efforts to comply with the new law.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Deborah Clark and her husband Emory apply the principles of holistic ranch management, and they use managed intensive grazing on their stocker cattle operation on 14,000 acres in north-central Texas.

New Institute Founded to Study Soil Health

Dec 14, 2015

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.


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


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.


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.