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

Unlocking prairie secrets from a sod house

Apr 15, 2014
Jackie Sojicko for Harvest Public Media

Ecologists in Nebraska are trying to find out what the Great Plains looked like when homesteaders settled there in the 19thcentury. To do that, they’re working with a team of archaeologists and historians dissecting a sod house, a house built out of bricks cut from dirt.

Larry Estes has had a sod house in his backyard in Gates, Neb., for as long as he can remember. He never really thought anything about it until a year ago when a repairman asked him about it.

Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

Nebraska's rainwater basin region is beneath the Central Flyway, used by tens of millions of birds migrating to the prairie pothole regions of the Dakotas, Canada and beyond to nest and mate.

unl.edu

A Swisher County resident is the first case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in Texas this year according to a recent news release from the Texas Department of State Health Services.  

There was a time when a blood moon didn't happen for 300 years. Tonight's forecast of mostly clear skies across the high plains should give good visibility to the total lunar eclipse. The moon will have a burnt reddish orange color. The eclipse will be seen about 1am central time.

Luke Clayton

There are few things that I enjoy more than hunting turkeys in the spring when the landscape is coming to life in many hues of green and the sun’s warming rays once again informs Mother Nature that it’s time for all her creatures to go about the task of procreation.

Water Basics 101

Apr 9, 2014
EPRI, 2014

Math helps us understand the causes of water shortages, how much water we’re wasting, as well as predict flooding.  The big picture can be seen when you grasp how much water is falling as rain or snow, moving into rivers or aquifers, and how much is being used in cities, industry and farms.  An explanation of the current water situation from the National Geographic can be found here.   

therealjackrussell.com

You’ve heard the saying, “Looks can be deceiving.” That statement describes our little terrier’s coat. When you see him, he looks like a sleek little pooch who doesn’t shed. That’s true September through February. However, when March blows in, he gives March Madness a new interpretation.

Crowley County Road and Bridge Department

Prolonged drought, bursts of high winds, and untimely rain is a recipe for an explosion of tumbleweeds across the rolling plains of southeastern Colorado, parts of New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle said a recent article in Reuters.

Barb Blevins

Our final visit to Beaver Creek Ranch and Full Circle Aquaponics takes us on a tour of the site, with a look at the animal residents and a discussion with Alice Hill about future hopes, plans, and goals.  

Farm Foundation

Southwest Kansas producer Steve Arnold had been a big irrigator. Ten wells, numerous pivot irrigation systems and 4-wheel-drive tractors on a farm near Johnson City.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

If you will take a few minutes and listen, Jason Barber will tell you the secrets of catching catfish and wipers now that spring has arrived and the water temperatures are warming up.  The warmer temperatures also mean the shad are spawning, and that's key for a successful day!   

justmakethecoffee.com

Some words stick in the mind, and serendipity is one those memorable terms rattling around in my cranium. In college, I hung out at a retreat called Serendipity House. I’d never heard the expression before, so after my first visit, I hit the dictionary.

Barb Blevins

This week we'll look at another aspect of the full circle farming concept utilized at Beaver Creek Farms and Full Circle Aquaponics, as host Alice Hill takes me through her year-round greenhouse structures.   The high tunnel and the hoop house both provide protected areas that, with proper planting and mulching methods help provide fresh vegetables throughout much of the winter.

USGS

South-central Nebraska producer John Kinley has a three-acre rainwater basin in a crop field. He talks about progressive practices such as no-till production and cover cropping.

Luke Clayton

Howdy folks!

This week, I tell you what, we are going to discover the secret of reeling in those big cats!  Jason Barber shares with us how cormorants are a key to unlocking the mystery.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When September’s flood waters came down from the Front Range foothills, they destroyed homes and wrecked office parks. The water ruined roads, bridges and highways. The floods destroyed farms and crops, and unleashed tremendous pressure on aging irrigation infrastructure, some of which dated back to the late 1800s.

city-data.com

Tornado season has begun, and it’s off to a pretty quiet start, but weather officials say that won’t last according to a recent article in the Wichita Eagle.

Scott Bauer / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says there are four principles to improving soil health:

NASA

A towering wall of dust known as a haboob pushed across a big swath of the High Plains last Tuesday said an article from Discover.

The dust streamed out of Colorado and Kansas into Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.

Winds gusting to almost 60 miles per hour reduced visibility to almost zero in southwestern Kansas. 

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

I tell you what, I wish we would have had 30 minutes to talk with Jason Barber about deadstickin last week, so I've done the next best thing.  I've brought him back again this week.  

Grazing Management: Patch Burning Research

Mar 10, 2014
Oklahoma Grazing Lands Conservation Association

This week on Playa Country, prescribed burning. Oklahoma State University's Dept. of Natural Resource Ecology & Management is researching effects of limited prescribed burning or "patch burning" to create a mosaic of patches across the landscape.

tropicoftaurus.net

If you took an evening walk or happened to look out your window eastward last Thursday, you saw what some call the Worm Moon, a term American Indians introduced.  While these nomadic people didn’t follow a Julian calendar, they knew the importance of using seasonal lunar phases to record passing time.

Luke Clayton

Deadsticking is a term used for fishing a bait, usually a soft plastic but not always, very slowly during the winter months when water temperatures are at their lowest. When the water is cold, fish become lethargic. They must eat but they prefer a meal that remains somewhat stationary rather than something they must chase down. Thus the reason that 1.5 inch soft plastic shad imitations held motionless near the top of big schools of white bass provided so much excitement at Cedar Creek Lake last week.

Winter Watering

Mar 5, 2014
masterofhort.com

A trip to the county extension office for a botanical diagnosis of a sickly tree branch paid off with reassurance that all was well.  While I was there I was also served up a refresher course in wise watering practices for our consistently dry and thirsty area.  We reviewed some things I knew about, but am sometimes lax in following.  And I learned a thing or two about making every precious drop of moisture count, even when rainfall is skimpy.   

Jeff Vanuga / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Deborah Clark and her husband Emory apply the principles of holistic ranch management, and they use managed intensive grazing on their stocker cattle operation on 14,000 acres in north-central Texas.

USDA: Prairie Heating and Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (PHACE) Experiment

Most climate models paint a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now: It will likely be warmer and the air will be richer with carbon dioxide. Though scientists don’t yet know how exactly the climate will change, new studies show it could be a boon to some invasive plant species.  

A growing problem

 

This breakfast is easy to make, and easy to clean up.  The only pan you need is a cast iron skillet. 

undertexasskies.blogspot.com

After a month of love in the form of hearts and roses, we'll take a final look at a plant that is actually a noxious weed. But it's long been a part of my botanical background, having been introduced to me by my hill-country grandmother, a woman who planted by the signs and believed there was power in both the light and the dark of the moon.  Today we'll look at loveweed, an ages old method of finding true love long before internet dating sites.     

Scott Bauer / USDA, NRCS

Rancher Grady Grissom discusses the lessons he's learned from deploying a deferred-rotation system of managed grazing on his 14,000-acre ranch. But he doesn't like the term "grazing system.

Sometimes when Larry and I get together, our conversations head toward the past... and stories of our "firsts."  Larry's asking me about the first time I went out calling.  Here's my story:

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