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


TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL oil pipeline, is scheduled to go before the Nebraska Public Service Commission next week, the final hurdle before the agency decides whether the pipeline’s path should be approved.


Sarah&Boston / Flickr Creative Commons

After a bit of a seismic hiatus, earthquakes returned full force to Oklahoma last week, reports KOTV.

Beginning Tuesday night, Oklahoma was pummeled by at least 11 different earthquakes of magnitude three or higher, according to the United States Geological Survey.

No major damage was reported.

Luke Clayton

Deryl Markgraf is an expert in all types of night hunting equipment and on this week’s High Plains Outdoors, he discusses the different types of night hunting scopes that are available.

For those who are interested in hunting predators or wild hogs at night, today’s show will help you choose the equipment to best suit your needs.

THEOGEO / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The House Agriculture Committee held a farm bill listening session July 31 at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, where farm industry leaders and others shared their input about the upcoming markup of the farm bill, which is set to expire Sept. 30, 2018.

TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL oil pipeline, is scheduled to go before the Nebraska Public Service Commission next week, the final hurdle before the agency decides whether the pipeline’s path should be approved.

Get a tissue, because I'm about to set your sinuses ablaze.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering disaster assistance to dozens of counties in western Kansas which were affected by a late spring snowstorm.

The storm dumped heavy snow, and straight-line winds up to 60 miles per hour created drifts and knocked downed power lines and trees. The snowstorm affected 27 counties, mainly in western and northwestern Kansas, from April 28 to May 3.

FEMA will reimburse state and local governments, agencies and nonprofits for recovery projects.

Promised gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Batten / Wikimedia Commons

An upcoming documentary on the Discovery channel will explore a new grassroots conservation movement in America—a movement based on stewardship of the land, and centered on those who live and work on the land.

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman tells the story of four stewards of the land in the U.S., including a Kansas farmer, a Montana rancher, and a fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico. The film is narrated by Tom Brokaw and based on a book of the same name.

Pixabay / Wikimedia Commons

 A new report reveals which states have fully embraced renewable energy—and the states in the HPPR listening area are among the top in the nation.

As CBS News reports, the state of Texas now produces more wind energy than most countries - and a healthy portion of that energy is produced by wind farms in the Texas Panhandle.

Kansas continues to be one of the leading states in renewable energy, especially with wind power.

Kansas is the fifth state to have at least 5000 megawatts of wind power capacity installed. The state is behind California, Oklahoma, Iowa and Texas, which has a capacity of a whopping 21,000 megawatts.

Kansans get 30 percent of their power from wind and solar. California is at 16 percent.

Luke Clayton

Big game seasons will be here before we know it. Summer is a great time to get out and do some shooting.

Ranges are usually much less crowded this time of year and now is the perfect time to spend some time during the morning hours or late afternoon and perfect our shooting skills.

Tune in this week and learn how Luke gets "pretty close" with only one shot, which is a great way to save ammo and get bullet placement close enough for some "fine tuning" shooting. 

Of all the expensive machinery Tom Giessel worked during the 2017 wheat harvest, his favorite sits in the office of his home.

It’s a microfilm machine, the kind found in a high school library. Giessel uses it for his work as the historian of the National Farmers Union, the nation’s second-largest farm group.

Valarie Smith / High Plains Public Radio

All Cody Crockett ever wanted to be was a cowboy. And for a short time, he got his wish.
Crockett worked on the 9,000-acre Franklin Ranch, about 70 miles northeast of Amarillo, where on March 6, a massive wildfire broke out.

Cody, his girlfriend Sydney Wallace, and rancher Sloan Everett, were killed while trying to rescue livestock.

Texas Monthly features the trio in an article that also includes photos and video.

Would a pepper by any other name taste just as sweet? Or spicy? Or seasoned? On today's Growing on the High Plains, let's tip our caps to the Capsicum, blow a horn for the peppercorn, and find out "what's the dilly" with the chili. Though different as they may be, these three cousins often answer to the same name: pepper.

Gellscom / Flickr Creative Commons

In the 1970s, Texas utility companies funded research that showed that burning fossil fuels harms the environment.

Yet as The Texas Observer reports, despite awareness of the damage their activities were causing, electric utilities spent the next three decades publicly denying the results of their own studies, and attempting to undermine climate science.

Hundreds of Midwest farmers are complaining of damage to their crops allegedly caused by the herbicide dicamba. The total number of damaged acres may come to more than 2.5 million acres, according to data compiled by a University of Missouri researcher.

Most of the damage has been found in the Midwest and South, with complaints of more than 850,000 damaged acres in Arkansas and more than 300,000 damaged acres in both Missouri and Illinois.

You Can Learn How To Drive A Steam Train

Jul 25, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

People on the High Plains can learn how to drive a steam train, just by taking a day trip to the Colorado-New Mexico border.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, the Cumbers and Toltec Scenic Railroad dates back to the 1880s and is the highest and longest steam-operated railroad in the country – a National Historic Landmark – that ferry tourists between Chama and Antonito Colorado every day during the summer and fall seasons.

Luke Clayton

For the past seven years, Luke and a friend have outfitted archery elk and bear hunts in northern Colorado. This is a busy time of year with lots of preparation for the high country hunting. Luke is busy curing and smoking ham and grinding sausage for the three weeks in elk camp.

There’s nothing more tasty than a big breakfast with cured hickory smoked ham when in that cool mountain air. For more information, visit the Hunting East Texas website

After decades of alarming headlines, Kansas may be on the verge of preserving an ancient groundwater resource that helped make it an agricultural powerhouse.

Since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, researchers have warned that farmers were pumping water from the part of the massive Ogallala aquifer that underlies Kansas faster than nature could replace it.

But a new emphasis on conservation spearheaded by Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is starting to reverse that longstanding trend.

When curating one's seasonal planting, most veteran gardeners have their favorites. Time-saving green thumbs often prefer perennials, while those attracted to a regular change of scenery might opt for annuals. 

CC0 Public Domain

The oil and gas industry in Colorado over the past four years has put millions of dollars into campaigns for politicians and for public relations.

As The Denver Post reports, the oil and gas industry has poured more than $80 million into Colorado to shape public opinion and influence campaigns and ballot initiatives, creating a political force that has had broad implications throughout the state.

Kansas Geological Survey

There is hope for the Ogallala Aquifer.

That, according to the Garden City Telegram, is what Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said when they visited Garden City Tuesday.

Gov. Sam Brownback visited western Kansas on Tuesday to tout that farming with less water from the Ogallala Aquifer is viable.

Farmers in a 99-square-mile area of Sheridan County have managed to cut their irrigation by more than 20 percent over the last four years, and they're still just as profitable as their neighbors who haven’t cut back like that. Jim Butler of the Kansas Geological Survey says it could extend the life of the Ogallala.

Kansas Agland

It may seem unlikely, but a form of cannabis played a surprising part in the foundational history of the United States, namely the maiden voyage.

The Mayflower that ferried British separatists across the sea, the descendants of whom would later craft the Constitution, was a vessel made possible by the use of hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant with little psychoactive properties but immense industrial potential spanning food, cosmetics and building supplies.

Streams and rivers in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska and other parts of the central Great Plains are vanishing as farmers continue to pump groundwater to irrigate their crops.

Groundwater is the lifeblood of Great Plains agriculture. But as farmers pump more, it’s turning nearby creeks into dry riverbeds.

Kurt Fausch, a Colorado State University professor, says in a 60-year span about 350 miles of stream disappeared in eastern Colorado, southwest Nebraska and northwest Kansas. And if farmers keep pumping, another 180 miles could vanish by 2060.

On a cloudy summer day, Iowa farmer Wendy Johnson lifts the corner of a mobile chicken tractor, a lightweight plastic frame covered in wire mesh that has corralled her month-old meat chickens for a few days, and frees several dozen birds to peck the surrounding area at will. Soon, she’ll sell these chickens to customers at local markets in eastern Iowa.

The demand for beef, pork and chicken raised on smaller farms closer to home is growing. Now, some Midwest farmers, like Johnson, are exploring how to graze livestock to meet those demands while still earning a profit.

Luke Clayton

Luke Clayton takes you "on the scene" this week - on a catfishing trip to Lake Fork in eastern Texas, with his grandson Jack Zimmerman and fishing guide Seth Vanover.

The fish were holding in water 20 feet deep, close to bottom and hitting Stubby’s Cheese bait on a #4 treble hook.

Chumming with cattle range cubes had the fish stacked under the boat and catching was fast-paced! 

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE

This is the final 2017 Kansas Wheat Harvest Report brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

Wheat’s resiliency has been a common topic during this year’s Kansas Wheat Harvest Reports. From lack of moisture to a late season snowfall, wheat for many farmers has managed to cling on, produce bushels and show the value of modern wheat genetics. But, other wheat acres weren’t as lucky with circumstances like visits from hail, the “big white combine,” and widespread Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus.

ATCHISON, Kan. — The families of six men killed when a grain elevator blew up on the banks of the Missouri River here in 2011 have now waited well over five and a half years for closure in the case.

But the hurt is still raw, they say; for them, it could have happened yesterday.

My passion for growing beets all started with a jar of these vibrant veggies that were homemade and pickled by a friend. Years later, I am proud to say I've reaped many a beet harvest, producing countless batches that were lovingly boiled and bequeathed to others. 

  • On today's Growing on the High Plains, I'll discuss these sturdy root vegetables, their royal history, and their versatile applications -- from soup to dye to insecticide. Thankfully, beets seem to thrive on the High Pains. So I guess it's true: the beet goes on.

 

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