HPPR Environment

Science news

Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

Realizing the importance of the Ogallala Aquifer to High Plains states, NRCS created the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative to attempt to reduce the quantity of water removed from the aquifer, improve water quality using conservation practices, and enhance the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in the region. This episode explains how playas fit into these goals.

Amarillo: There are still recycling options

Oct 10, 2013
wikipedia.org

Republic Recyclery closed last month in Amarillo, but there are still recycling options according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

healthmeup.com

Join Skip and a cast of friends for an old fashioned joke show.  Blake Burnside,  Randy McVey, Ellen Mangan, David Miller, and  Stacy Regan-Green yuck it up in this laughing good time.

15 More Years of Texas Drought? Say it isn’t so

Oct 9, 2013
texscience.org

Experts predict above-average temperatures and lower-than-normal moisture amounts will be seen in the months ahead — and possibly as much as 15 more years according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.

F.M. Steele / Courtesy of Center for Great Plains Studies

In recent years, farmers in the Midwest have transformed millions of acres of prairie grass to rows of corn. High crop prices are a big motivation, but some also believe crop insurance is encouraging farmers to roll the dice on less productive land.

Rod Christen and his sister Kay farm corn, soybeans and wheat on their land near the small town of Steinauer, Neb. But their main crop is grass.

“Big bluestem is our big producer,” said Rod Christen. “It’s kind of our Cadillac grass.”

What Are Playas?

Oct 7, 2013

 We grew up on the High Plains thinking of those occasionally muddy pasture depressions as "buffalo wallows," "rainwater basins" or "mud holes." Turns out, scientists are learning those playas play a significant role recharging aquifers such as the Ogallala.

wikipedia.org

    

“Hedge apples, direct to you!” An Internet site suggests that placing these objects “around the foundation or inside the basement provide relief from cockroaches, spiders, box elder bugs, crickets, and other pests.” Hedge apples. Aren’t they ugly fruits that look like a green brain? In fact, green brain is another term for this wild pod along with the terms Osage orange, hedge balls, monkey balls, and horse apples.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!  I took my bow up to Palo Pinto County earlier this week for a short bowhunt on the Dale River Ranch. Shooting from a high rock outcropping to deer on a trail below, I came very close to arrowing the monster buck shown you see running away in the first photo.  You can even see my arrow on the ground under the feeder.  I had a trail camera situated near the feeder, and it captured this rare image.   

Cindee Talley

 It's hard to garden in dry, arid, temperamental climates.  Skip Mancini had an opportunity to talk with Tom Gillan, owner of Native Nursery, about the challenges and opportunities the high plains present.   

Tom is a Garden City native, who moved to Golden, Colorado in the 1980s.  There he started Native Nursery with the mission to create beautiful places with plants that will thrive.

High Plains Drought Update

Oct 2, 2013
hprcc.unl.edu

Recent rains and cooler temperatures have made a difference across the high plains.

oklahomafarmreport.com

A significant report published by the National Academy of Sciences stresses the need to conserve groundwater. This episode focuses on two ways that is happening: 1) the USDA promotes Ogallala Aquifer conservation with NRCS money for cost-share projects, and 2) the state of Kansas changes water-rights laws to foster a culture of conservation rather than consumption.

Greg Kramos/USFWS

Landowners in Texas tend to be skeptical of more government involvement when it comes to protecting the lesser prairie chicken, a rare bird inhabiting the portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, according to an article in The Texas Tribune.

USDA NRCS

Stretching from western Texas to South Dakota, the Ogallala Aquifer supports nearly one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton and cattle produced in the United States. Underlying approximately 225,000 square miles of the Great Plains, water from the aquifer is vital to agricultural, municipal and industrial development. Approximately 30 percent of all groundwater used for irrigation in America is drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer.

texastribune.org

800 Texans were surveyed in a recent Yale Project on climate change.  Most believe global warming is happening according to a recent article by the Texas Tribune.  

Zoo Landscaping

Sep 25, 2013
Cindee Talley

Skip has a special guest in today.  Tom Gillan dropped by to talk about the differences between landscaping in public areas versus a home.  Tom is the owner of Native Nursery in Golden, Colorado.  He also talked about his current project:  Cat Canyon at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas.    

C2 Photography

Even though the images and stories you hear of Colorado say everything is a mess, there are still opportunities to enjoy the fall colors despite the flood. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

This is a regional grazing group located in south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma on 5.4 million acres of mixed-grass and sand-sage prairies. The region is ecologically important because it is Kansas’ second largest, in-tact tract of native prairie (second only to the Flint Hills), and is home to a number of declining wildlife species which require large, unfragmented tracts of native prairie. The group works with ranchers in its area to educate how best to manage grasslands to produce wildlife, clean air and water,  as well as income from livestock grazing.

Luke Clayton

Folks, this is going to be short and sweet because I am heading home from the Colorado mountains.  As many of you know, we have been up here at elk camp for almost a month, and this week has been suuum-thing.  

The Monarchs are Coming to Kansas

Sep 20, 2013
wikipedia.org

The Monarchs are passing through Kansas.  The monarch lives a life of migration and cycles.  During spring and summer, they travel to the north, and then with fall, head south to find warmer weather.  What many do now know, is the fact that one butterfly does not make this entire journey.  Monarchs go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year according to monarch-butterfly.com.  

A Dilly of a Deal

Sep 19, 2013
Lisa- one of the gardening girls

    This summer has been filled with delight because of the mass migration of black swallowtails who have been making my garden their home.  Though they love to hang out around the butterfly bushes and rest up in the cool damp earth around the little outdoor fountain, when it comes to creating offspring they head for the herb garden.  There the clumps of dill weed seem to be the favorite food of the black, green and yellow striped caterpillars that have quietly invaded and are munching their way along the stems and seed heads.  The dill looks a bit forlorn for a few days, but bounces right back in time for the next wave of butterflies that are looking for a bit of real estate.

Water Rights: Disputes Increase Across the High Plains

Sep 17, 2013
http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2013/5079/SIR2013-5079.pdf / U.S. Geological Survey

Disagreements over water are nothing new, but depletion and dependency on the aquifers below the ground’s surface are escalating disputes over water rights across the High Plains. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

This partnership - consisting of agencies, non-governmental organizations and landowners - is working to control invasive plants along the banks of the Canadian River in the Texas panhandle and western Oklahoma. Salt cedar, Eastern Red Cedar and Russian Olive trees are being controlled if not eradicated.

cooperativeconservation.org

The Arkansas Shiner is a small, silvery minnow that spawns in the Canadian River.  It also has a prime spot on the federal government’s list of threatened species.  No longer found in Arkansas, numbers were so diminished two years ago, shiners were netted and taken to a hatchery in Oklahoma to preserve them reported The Texas Tribune

Luke Clayton

 This week, I'm sharing a few details about elk camp.  First, what to bring.  You need to bring your bow, and appropriate clothing.  It's very important that you are proficient with your bow before arriving at camp.  Once you arrive, we get straight to business.  There's no time to practice.

nhnm.unm.edu

Would you put the fox in charge of guarding the hen house?  That’s what critics are saying about the biggest players in the energy industry taking a major role in protecting endangered species according to The Texas Tribune

Fall Tree Planting

Sep 11, 2013
whatsgrowingonfrostnursery.com

As our weather moves toward the cool and crispy days of autumn, it heralds changes to the gardening routine.  As gardens and lawns slow down and give you a bit more time, don't forget that this is the best time to add trees and shrubs to your landscape. Today GHP covers some basics of fall planting, to get your tree or shrub off to a good start. 
Roger Mills, Prescribed Fire Association

The association formed in 2006 and covers Roger Mills and Beckam counties. The group addresses the four common reasons people do not use prescribed fire: liability, training/experience, labor and equipment.

Elk Camp: Bear!

Sep 6, 2013
Luke Clayton

Folks, I'm calling in from elk camp again this week.  The numbers of black bear again this year are just tremendous!  We've had some close encounters, and that's enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  

mywedding.com

This week a special event is taking place at the Dyck Arboretum in Hesston, Kansas.  FloraKansas is the largest native plant sale in the state, and will take place Thursday, September 5 through Sunday, September 8.  This event has been going on for 14 years, and its popularity is growing almost as rapidly as the numbers of native perennials, wildflowers and grasses that will be offered for sale.  More information about the location, hours and available plants can be found by calling 620-327-8127, or going online to www.dyckarboretum.org.  A visit to this special place is always a joy, and the plant sale this weekend makes it even more fun and informative.

The Spokesman-Review

    This group's mission is to partner with ranchers in the Sandhill region of north-central Nebraska to identify, prioritize, plan and implement projects that benefit private ranching, wildlife and vegetative diversity and associated water supplies. Besides ranchers, members include representatives of local communities, groups, organizations and state and federal agencies.

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