High Plains Public Radio

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

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.

TPPF

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.

Jim Urquhart / Reuters

Yellowstone National Park has caused controversy with its annual slaughter of some of the bison roaming the park. But now, reports The Guardian, Yellowstone is looking to relocate the animals rather than cull them. The original plan was that the park would deliver bison to Native American tribes for slaughter. The annual cull helps reduce the risk of bison passing brucellosis on to Montana’s cattle.

2015 is the International Year of Soils

Dec 2, 2015
Pat Dumas / Creative Commons

The 68th United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. In honor of this, nature.com published a reminder last week about preserving our soil’s riches. Soil is a thin living membrane stretching across landscapes. It’s sometimes described as the Earth's skin. And like our own skin, it protects our world and needs to be kept healthy. Soils contain three times as much carbon as plants. And soil provides nutrients and water for the world's forests, grasslands and deserts.

High Plains Ranchers Need a Drought Plan

Dec 1, 2015
Cynthia Mendoza / USDA photo

Last week Beef magazine published a warning for ranchers: If you don’t have a drought plan, get one.

Brian Bledsoe, a Colorado Springs meteorologist, gave his 2016 weather forecast to more than 700 cattle producers. “This blessing of moisture we’ve had over the High Plains . . . is not going to last,” he said. Bledsoe believes the El Niño will peak in the next month or so. After that, he says the moistures will diminish in intensity and go back the other way.

Edmund Garman / Flickr Creative Commons

Smith Center, KS, physician Joe Barnes is a hunter. He purchased farm land for hunting, and was disappointed the land looked so barren following harvest. He was consulted by Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologist Tyson Seirer on ways Barnes and his tenant producer could make crop fields more hospitable for pheasant and quail at little additional expense.

goshootguns.com

Each year about this time, for the past 26 years, I have compiled a list of gift ideas for outdoor folks. As a full time outdoors writer and radio show host, I have the opportunity to review and put to use a great number of useful products. Some I consider a “must have” for any sportsman, others seem to wind up out in my storage building, never to be used again. Here are a few outdoor items, some costing a few dollars and others costing a few hundred that I use on a regular basis and highly recommend. Keep in mind that some of these products must be ordered via the company’s web site.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

On Nov. 19 Oklahoma regulators ordered two oil and gas companies to shut down four disposal wells near the town of Crescent. The directive came after a 4.0-magnitude quake was recorded earlier that day, according to StateImpact Oklahoma.

Andy Marso / Kaiser Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A task force that will make recommendations for how to fund the state’s water projects was unveiled Wednesday.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force is part of the 50-year plan to secure the state’s water supply that Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration rolled out last year.

Conserving Playas Puts Land to Its Best Use

Nov 24, 2015
Michael Pearce / kansas.com

Larry Haynes of Holyoke, CO, used to farm right through playa lakes in a field. He stopped that practice because in too many years, it was impossible to harvest crops that were flooded-out in the wetlands. He's a proponent of putting land to its best use. In his case, that meant developing those wetlands into wildlife habitat to benefit autumn and winter hunting.

OK's Sea of Juniper May Require Fire

Nov 23, 2015
inverse.com

Oklahoma rangeland specialists are warning of a slow-motion ecological disaster, reports inverse.com. Juniper trees are gradually stripping Oklahoma of its grasslands. They’re everywhere, eating up the plains. These trees destroy historical ecosystems and fill in otherwise productive rangeland. Two different species of juniper are causing problems: Ashe juniper and eastern redcedar.

Colorado Adopts Landmark Water Plan

Nov 23, 2015
Cyrus McCrimmon / Denver Post

Colorado adopted a landmark $20 billion water plan last week, reports The Denver Post. The new law hopes to accommodate rapid population growth in the state.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!

Today, I've been reflecting on what a treasure the outdoors is, and how the tradition needs to be passed on to the next generation so they will appreciate it as we do.  Take a listen, and then give yourself a little time to think about what you could do to teach someone how dear you hold the great outdoors.

In the Fields, a Search for Monarch Butterflies

Nov 20, 2015
Mike Tobias / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The population of monarch butterflies has declined so dramatically in recent years that the iconic insect is being considered for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list. In Nebraska and across the other areas of the Midwest, a stop on the monarch migration route, efforts are underway to determine the scope of the decline.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

Sandra Ladra, a resident of Prague, Oklahoma, was injured during a 2011 earthquake. Mounting evidence has shown that the earthquakes were caused by the injection of wastewater from fracking. So Sandra decided to sue the oil and gas companies that operate injection wells in her area.

The Wall Street Journal has published a debate about whether oil companies should be held liable for injuries caused by the quakes.

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland

MANHATTAN - A new study has found that over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer beyond its recharge rate peaked overall in 2006, while its rate of depletion in Kansas reached its highest point in 2010.

The Kansas State University study released Monday also projected the aquifer's use would decrease by about half over the next 100 years.

A Crazy Week for Weather on the High Plains

Nov 19, 2015
Severe Studios

it’s been a crazy weather week on the High Plains. You name it, we’ve seen it. The flatlands have experienced snow, rain, tornadoes, hail, and unseasonably warm weather.

Ongoing Orchard

Nov 18, 2015
shelleymunro.com

Just when I should probably be cutting back on the size of my horticultural investments, and planning a smaller and more manageable homefront, I've decided to plant some more fruit trees!  After a summer of no fruit, due to late hard freezes last spring, and after taking a hard and realistic look at the fading health of the old trees, I couldn't face a future with no peaches or nectarines.  So now I'm filling in the gaps, extending the drip system, and getting ready to face some fabulous fruit in the future!  

Nasa HQ Photo / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith recently rejected the notion that he doesn’t believe in human-caused climate change, reports The Texas Observer. The chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology instead insisted he’s merely a “semi-skeptic.” Smith said he doesn’t know how much effect people are having on the climate. “I think the human component may actually be a small fraction of the contributing forces on climate change,” he said.

US Drought Monitor: Great Plains Experiencing Relief

Nov 17, 2015
droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has released the latest US Drought Monitor update. Things are looking up for the Great Plains. Kansas has experienced beneficial light-to-moderate precipitation, and Colorado saw some precipitation fall as snow. While parts of Eastern Kansas and Oklahoma are experiencing abnormally dry conditions and even moderate drought, the western plains areas of those states seem safe for now.

Hunters & Birders, Not Mutually Exclusive

Nov 17, 2015
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Hunters and birders have more in common than might be assumed. Both support the conservation of wetlands and other bird habitat. Some people even identify themselves as both a hunter and a birder, as well as a conservationist. Yearly purchase of the Duck Stamp is an excellent way to actively support bird conservation.

USDA Continues to Invest in Ogallala Relief

Nov 16, 2015
ne.water.usgs.gov

The US Department of Agriculture will invest $8 million next year toward helping farmers and ranchers conserve water from the Ogallala Aquifer, while still maintaining and strengthening agricultural operations, reports Agri-Pulse.

Environmental Group Pushes Support for New Biofuels

Nov 12, 2015
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

U.S. energy policy that effectively promotes corn ethanol is holding back a generation of more environmentally sound fuels according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

To grow corn for ethanol, farmers have been plowing up new land and fertilizing big crops. Some research says that means corn-based ethanol can have a larger carbon footprint than traditional fuel.

In Oklahoma, the Battle Over Water Continues

Nov 11, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s battle over water continues to rage, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. In fact, water rights have dominated the recent legislative study discussion of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

Seven Reasons to Buy a Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp

Nov 10, 2015
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp is the best kept secret in bird conservation. Buying the annual stamp is a simple, direct way for people to contribute to wetland and grassland conservation. This episode presents seven reasons to buy a stamp.

Earthquake Concerns Continue at Cushing, OK, Oil Hub

Nov 9, 2015
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Government and oil-industry officials continue to be concerned about the prospect of earthquakes near the massive Cushing oil hub in Oklahoma, reports StateImpact. A 4.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded near the hub on October 10. After an inspection, no damage was found. But the incident troubled authorities. The U.S.

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.

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