HPPR Environment

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:00 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Little Blue Stem

Credit nativesoftexas.com

In a continuing investigation of landscape plans utilizing grass gardens, this week we'll look at Little Bluestem.  This hardy 'bunch' or 'clump' grass is of a more manageable size than it's bigger relative, the Big Bluestem of the tall grass prairies.  Little Bluestem can serve as an eye-catching accent plant, or as a seasonal backdrop for wildflowers or other blooming plants.  And in its native habitat it provides forage for grazing animals and shelter for various birds and wildlife.

Drought forecast
8:00 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Drought improvements in August but unlikely in the fall

National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

The High Plains are continuing to benefit from a stalled weather front along lower sections of the central Plains, which is serving as a focus for continued precipitation.  As a result, the monthly drought outlook map from the Climate Prediction Center (see first slide above) shows improvement across the HPPR coverage area though August.

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Drought coverage
7:00 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Texans picture the drought

Lake Colorado City
Earl Notingham, Texas Parks and Wildlife / flickr

Drought conditions are long familiar to the Texas Panhandle and are now becoming well known to other parts of the state.  The most recent drought report from the Texas Water Development Board shows that 97 percent of the state is now experiencing some level of drought.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Grassland Bird: Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk, Buteo swainsoni
Credit tgreybirds.com

This raptor migrates from its winter home in Argentina into western North America and breeds as far north as Canada. It's fate is tied to the amount of open rangeland left in the western prairie, and lots of habitat has been lost in the 20th Century after range land was broken out and farmed. The bird helps producers by eating insects, mammals and reptiles considered by producers to be pests. Conservation Reserve Program-enrolled land provides the type of habitat the bird can thrive in.

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Playa Country Episode
6:34 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Ogallala Aquifer Conservation: Education

Credit kansasagnetwork.com

Art Gomez of Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams discusses his job "selling" producers and landowners on permitting 30-year or permanent easements on wetlands such as playa lakes. Darryl Birkenfeld discusses his work as director of the Ogallala Commons at Nazareth, TX. The organization's mission is education and community support.

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Drought conditions update
8:09 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

Good rains or dry as ever?

You may think that we’ve had good rainfall in recent weeks.  Or you might feel it’s been as dry as ever.  Across the High Plains either situation could be the case.  While the latest drought maps shows general improvement across the region, a closer look shows a very hit or miss picture with the percentage of normal precipitation varying widely from locale to locale. 

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:00 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Catfishin: Rig Your Line, Choose Your Bait

Howdy Folks.  This week I'm still trying to make Cindee into a fisherman- to be more specific- a catfisher. 

Last week we talked about how cats like deeper water this time of year- 22-24 foot deep.  If you can find shade over a ledge or cavity, or a creek feeding into the lake, you have a good chance to find catfish.  

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

And the Oscar Goes to the Bull Snake

A few years ago, we replaced the windows in our house. I expected dust, noise, flies, and suffering through hundred degree plus July days, but I didn’t expect an Oscar quality actor to make an appearance. One thing about living in the country, something unexpected always happens. Because of our remodeling project, I faced one of my most dreaded fears—a snake in the kitchen.  

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
9:31 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Grass Gardens

Credit penick.net

This week's show introduces elements of a landscape plan that promises to be more efficient and effective in an environment that seems to be moving toward the hotter and drier side of gardening.  Ornamental grasses can offer a rich variety of size, texture and color to a planted area or in a series of containers.  And they can provide visual interest almost year round, as many grass gardens can show off fall colors and wintertime backdrops when other plants have been put to rest.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Grassland Bird: Mountain Plover

Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus)
Credit planetofbirds.com

The Mountain Plover is a shorebird that spends little time on the beach and lives on the open Plains and nowhere near mountains. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory offers financial incentives to farmers of the southwest Nebraska panhandle to till around their nests - which often are in crop fields.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:00 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Catfishin: Where to Find Them on a Summer Day

Credit fishingalways.blogspot.com

  Folks, today I called Cindee to give her an answer to the question, "What am I going to fish for on a hot, summer day?"  The answer is... catfish, and today I'm going to tell you where you can find them.

Catfish are just like us.  They like a cool place with plenty of oxygen.  This time of year, the spawn is over, and oxygen seems to be plentiful in about 22-24 foot of water.  So, you're going to have to fish a little deeper than you've been earlier in the season.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Moms Are Moms No Matter the Species

Over decades, my students have written many essays detailing results of getting between young animals and their mommas. Mothers aren’t only tender. They’re tough when necessary, and one look at a momma cow with her calf clearly states you don’t want to mess with her baby. Years ago, a family of fledgling wrens reminded me how moms fuss over their babies and that I should stay out of their business.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
6:31 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Gardening Exercise

Credit athletico.com

Gardening season can offer a great alternative to going to the gym in order to find physical fitness.  Various activities like pushing a lawnmower, digging a new flower bed, or transplanting perennials can all add up to feeling and looking better through at least three seasons of the year.  If you are working on weight loss, in addition to counting calories, try counting metabolic equivalents or METs,  to meet your goals.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Grassland Bird: Burrowing Owl

Credit smithsonianmag.com

The Burrowing Owl is North America's only raptor that nests below ground. This bird's fate is tied to that of the prairie dog, and dog populations are in sharp decline.

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Climate
8:01 pm
Sun July 28, 2013

Texas Attorney General Candidate Does Not Believe in Global Warming

Barry Smitherman
Credit texastribune.org

Barry Smitherman, the head of Texas’ oil and gas drilling regulatory agency, does not believe in global warming according to a recent piece by State Impact Texas.  Smitherman says before dismantling the electrical power generating fleet, there should be certainty about the role of CO2. 

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
6:22 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Mark Balette Shares Axis Deer Recipes

Credit southwestdisk.com

My ole buddy, Mark Balette, and I have been hunting out on Mark’s ranch for axis deer.  We came home with a nice doe.  Tonight, we’re cooking it up.

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Texas Panhandle
8:01 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Palo Duro Canyon State Park: Numbers Up, Improvements Underway

Credit Texas Parks and Wildlife

Revenue and visitors are increasing at Palo Duro Canyon State Park according to the Amarillo Globe-News.  Total park revenue increased to $4 million.  Here are the percentage increases:

  • Total park revenue- 13%
  • Activity fees and concessions- 11%
  • Entrance fees- 8.3%
  • Facility fees- 17.1%

Improvements:

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Weather
8:01 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

High Plains Drought Outlook

Credit cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Recent rains across the High Plains gave hope that the drought’s grip may be lessening.  However, that was quickly extinguished by the extended forecast released by National Weather Service

At a glance, the forecast map shows drought conditions will persist or intensify across the listening region.  The only exception is the extreme western portion of the Texas Panhandle.  The seasonal drought outlook is valid through October 18.

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Harvest Public Media story
7:22 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Prairie plants help restore farmland soil

Seth Watkins says this pond was cloudy from sediment runoff until he cleared cedar trees and scrub brush from an adjacent patch of prairie. With the long roots of the grasses holding soil and trapping nutrients, the pond cleared up.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The world’s soil is in trouble, even in the fertile Midwest. Some experts warn that if degradation continues unchecked, topsoil could be gone in 60 years. That has implications for agriculture and the broader environment.

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Health
8:01 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Skin Cancer Rates: Texas is best

Credit skincancer.org

Summertime heat is bearing down on the high plains, and the sun can be intense.  It can also be deadly.  Nationally, 19.4 people out of every 100,00o have an incidence of melanoma.

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Agriculture
8:01 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Lone Star State Tops Sunflower State in Sunflower Production

Texas surpassed Kansas to become third in the nation in sunflower production, Texas-based magazine Country World reports.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Blitzkrieg on the Banks of Big Creek

Credit http://healthimpactnews.com

The London Blitz involved nine months of German bomber-induced devastation that drove people who lived there into a state of constant awareness regarding the location of the nearest bomb shelter. While the banks of Big Creek won’t echo with the drone of mechanical motors and sound of carpet bombs exploding one right after another, one locale faces a dive bombing hawk intent on scoring a fresh chicken dinner.

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Weather
8:00 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

School's Out for.... Severe Weather?

Jefferson School, Shawnee, Oklahoma. Destroyed by a tornado on March 28, 1924.
Credit rootsweb.ancestry.com

  The Oklahoma Department of Education requires schools to provide 175 days of instruction.  Districts can cancel school for any weather, anytime of the year.  

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Fauna
8:00 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Rita Blanca National Grasslands Participating in Prairie Dog Vaccination Study

Credit wordpress.com

Prairie dogs are a keystone species on the high plains.  That means others rely on them for food and shelter.  The Amarillo Globe-News reported a study is being conducted to keep them healthy by vaccinating them for the bubonic plague.  

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Lesser Prairie-Chicken & Vertical Structures: Weaver Ranch Restores Habitat

Credit www.nm.nrcs.usda.gov

The sprawling Weaver Ranch near Causey, NM, is located in important Lesser Prairie-Chicken habitat. Ranch manager Willard Heck talks about removing 400-500 acres of mesquite plant that had encroached onto prairie land, fragmenting the bird's habitat.

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Dung Beetle
8:01 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Heroes of the Pasture: Dung Beetles

Heros of the Pasture
Credit Dingle Images

Somewhere I saw this quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I agree and add you’ll meet interesting creatures along the way. Sometimes those new acquaintances look like something from an intergalactic space bar.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Deer Rut in July? Absolutely True for Axis Deer in Texas

Credit Luke Clayton

If I was going to tell you that Christmas comes twice a year for deer hunters, you would say I was just plain crazy.  But for those who know about the delicious axis deer, it is the absolute truth.  One of my favorite places to hunt these is with my good friend Mark Balette

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Water
8:01 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Negotiations Begin to Sell Texas Water Rights to Oklahoma Buyers

Water Well, Lipscomb County, Texas

The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority board of directors verbally agreed to begin negotiations to sell Texas water rights to Oklahoma investors and users.  The Amarillo Globe reported the parcel under consideration is over 11,000 acres, and located in Lipscomb County.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Lesser Prairie-Chicken & Vertical Structures: NM Project

Credit Texas Wildlife and Parks / Gary Kramer

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has partnered with hundreds of groups to restore and link back together the Lesser Prairie-Chicken's eastern New Mexico habitat. Crews are removing petroleum welljack pads and service roads, reseeding with native grasses, and removing other vertical objects like mesquite, trees and old windmills in effort to restore a habitat more friendly to the needs of the bird.

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Severe Weather
8:00 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Texas Panhandle Communities: Weather Warning Systems

  While communities in the Texas Panhandle work to improve severe weather warning systems and equipment, experts say the best plan is your own.  

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