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

Texas Confronts Continuing Drought

Nov 9, 2015
StateImpact Texas

Texas is being forced to make some hard choices about its water use, reports StateImpact Texas. In 2011, Texas endured the worst single-year drought in its history. The current drought began in 2010.

StateImpact Texas has built an impressive interactive page on the drought, which you can view here.

http://www.photos-public-domain.com/

One of my favorite features of winter is being able to see bird nests in leafless trees. I like to figure out what species lives in a particular area so I can look for it when days lengthen, temps warm, and foliage hides those cobbled together nurseries.

Creative Commons

From Kansas Agland's "Watchdog":

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is considering increasing fines for people ignoring the state’s mandate to report annually the volume of water they pump from wells or for exceeding limits on water use.

That’s a no-brainer. An even better stick would be to revoke their water rights altogether.

Andy Marso / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Bill would give Department of Agriculture oversight of ‘noxious weed’ designation.

The rows of grapevines at Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery near Paola are withering, with dying leaves and shriveling fruit.

But that’s expected this time of year.

pss.uvm.edu

A search for fall foliage color doesn't always have to be high in the trees.  This week we'll lower our sights and investigate a succulent plant that brings many of the colors of the rainbow during its three growing seasons of the year.  Sedum seems to have so many positives for growing in sometimes difficult zone 5 gardens, and it definitely thrives in a zone 6 habitat.  Low water demands and a preference for slightly alkaline soils make it a winner, even without the striking rusty red color that comes around in autumn.   

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media
USDA

From Harvest Public Media:

Updated at 11:30 a.m. with comment from USDA

A senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a whistleblower complaint on Wednesday accusing the federal agency of suppressing research findings that could call into question the use of a popular pesticide class that is a revenue powerhouse for the agrichemical industry.

Duck Stamp: Not Just for Hunters

Nov 3, 2015
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

If you think the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamp, the "Duck Stamp," is just for waterfowl hunters, think again! Whether you hunt, bird, photograph wildlife and scenery, collect stamps or conserve habitat, you'll want to purchase this stamp.

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!

Larry Weishun

As a kid, I lived 11 miles from Disneyland. I took for granted that I’d visit the happiest place on earth several times a year. And I did. Due to immaturity, I didn’t understand why my out of state cousins were so excited to visit Southern California and the Magic Kingdom. They were giddy about meeting Mickey and exploring Adventureland, and their enthusiasm for something so commonplace as Disneyland escaped me. After all, it was just a big amusement park with a bunch of costumed characters walking around waving at folks.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A nonprofit in Oklahoma has come up with a novel idea to solve the state’s water infrastructure issues, and the idea came from an unlikely source: Africa.

Bewitching Botannicals

Oct 28, 2015
0599.com

 This week we'll look at some historical herbs that have reportedly been a part of witchcraft for centuries.  But many of the plants have both a good and bad side in history,  Modern medicine has adopted and adapted some of the plants from the dark side into treatments for various diseases, and today's gourmet table can feature food from plants once thought inedible.

OK Earthquakes Could Pose Threat to National Security

Oct 28, 2015
Daniel Acker / Bloomberg

The largest commercial oil storage hub in North America is located in Cushing, Oklahoma, reports Bloomberg Business. In the wake of 9/11, concerns were raised about Cushing’s status as a potential target for terrorist attacks. The Safety Alliance of Cushing was formed as a result: an alliance of the FBI, state and local law enforcement and emergency officials.

Kansas to Preserve and Develop Lake Scott State Park

Oct 28, 2015
ku.edu

The State of Kansas has announced plans to preserve and develop Lake Scott State Park, reports Kansas Agland. During a ceremony held on Monday at the lake, Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison announced the formation of the Scott State Park Historic Preservation and Development Committee.

A Day in the Life of a Bird Counter

Oct 27, 2015
planetofbirds.com

Diane VanLandingham owns ranch land near LaJunta, CO, and has permitted bird counters with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies onto her land to survey bird species and count their populations.

University of Michigan

What a difference a few months can make in the realm of public opinion. According to The Rural Blog, and The Guardian, the number of Americans who now accept global warming as fact rests at 70%, up 7 points from July.

A Look at the World's Windiest Communities

Oct 21, 2015
LatitudeStock / Alamy

High Plains residents are intimately familiar with wind. A recent Weather.com post listed Amarillo, Texas, as the windiest city in the US. Some High Plains communities have discovered how to harness the wind’s power. For example, after Greensburg, Kansas, was destroyed by a tornado in 2007, residents rebuilt the town as a green energy paradise. Its wind now generates three times more power than the town uses.

Landowner Response to Bird Population Surveys

Oct 20, 2015

Some landowners are wary of the motivations of technicians gathering bird data on their land. The more accurate data provided by the bird census program can benefit private landowners, who often shudder when there's talk a bird or animal might be listed as threatened or endangered because of land-use regulations such a listing can bring.

StateImpact courtesy of KQED Radio / Flickr Creative Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing for oil and gas officials in Oklahoma to do more to prevent industry-linked earthquakes in the state, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. The federal agency has asked industry regulators to reduce injection volumes, among other changes.

    How is it that gun-metal skies, golden leaves, and russet milo fields can stun the eye yet cause eyes to swell, noses to run, and throats to itch badly enough that sufferers want to take a wire brush after them? Every fall, these irritating symptoms remind me that spectacular seasonal beauty comes with a price. I don’t even have to stand in a field of this attractive grain. Living in the vicinity is enough to drive me and others nuts.

Prepare for Fall Weather Hazards

Oct 16, 2015
Public Domain

Autumn on the High Plains means time with family, a return to school, and a crisp chill in the air as the sun sets over rippling fields. But it can also mean winds, droughts, and floods. As fall descends and winter approaches, here is a friendly reminder from NOAA that now is the time to prepare for upcoming inclement weather and hazards. Here’s what High Plains residents can do to prepare for the season:

1. Know Your Risk

One Oil Company Fights New OK Earthquake Regulations

Oct 16, 2015
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After Oklahoma issued regulatory actions to try to curb a rash of oil-industry-related earthquakes in the state, one oil and gas operator is challenging the ruling, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. The Marjo Operating Co. Inc.’s filing is the first effort on the part of the oil and gas industry to prevent regulation.

Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

The Oklahoman reports that oilfield goliath Halliburton is offering settlements to property owners in Duncan, Oklahoma, after the chemical compound ammonium perchlorate showed up in their private wells. The settlements have been a long time coming—testing found pollution from spent rocket fuel in Duncan’s groundwater four years ago. But as the trial date neared, Halliburton decided that settling with Duncan’s residents was a safer course of action.

How a Dry State Grows Plenty of Thirsty Vegetables

Oct 15, 2015
National Geographic

High Plains farmers seeking to grow vegetables with little water resources might consider looking west.

Gardening goes green

Oct 14, 2015
pithandvigor.com

A review of some of the things the home gardener can do to be a part of the solutions to looming ecological dilemmas.  Some of the things we'll look at concern soil additives, use of aerial sprays, and the growing amount of plastic that has become a part of a gardener's world. 

Bird Population Surveys Can Benefit Landowners

Oct 13, 2015
Darryl Birkenfeld / Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

A new program for counting birds relies on random data-collection-points across a landscape -- some on public land, some on private. Ranchers shudder when there's talk a critter might be listed as threatened or endangered; rules sometimes are imposed that impact or impede operations.

A List of the Most and Least Efficient States

Oct 12, 2015
Creative Commons

The website wallethub.com has published a list of America’s most and least energy efficient states. The site measured the efficiency of car- and home-energy consumption in the continental US. Researchers took into account both home and car efficiency.

Luke Clayton

My wife and I are making the annual trek to Galveston Bay for some fishing.  This year it's about red fish and trout.  I'm going out with Captain Mark Gonzales, he's with Captain Mike's Galveston Fishing Guides.

I'm sending you this audio postcard for a little taste of the great time I'm having, although I'm telling you, it's not as good as the red fish with lemon and butter I'm grilling for supper tonight.

Stay tuned.  Next week I'll have another adventure!

roy.luck / Flickr Creative Commons

In light of recent earthquakes, officials near the oil hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, are considering a worst-case scenario plan. According to the Journal Record, 11 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have been recorded near the Cushing oil hub since April. If one tank were damaged in a quake, oil companies could easily respond. But if all of the storage tanks were damaged by large earthquakes, first responders would be overwhelmed.

In NW Kansas, Fear of Worsening Drought Conditions

Oct 8, 2015
www.kansas.com

A dry late summer in Northwest Kansas has raised concerns about a potential return to drought conditions. The latest US Drought Monitor listed the region’s drought status as “moderate,” reports Prairie Farmer.

Much of Kansas has seen enough rain to rescue wheat yields and nourish fall crops. But the stubborn northwest region has seen diminished yields of corn and soybeans. And some analysts are beginning to have concerns about next year’s winter wheat crop. 

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