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

EPA To Assist With Rural Colorado Landfill Issues

Jan 18, 2018
CCO Creative Commons

The Prowers County Commission in Lamar Colorado was given insight by the Environmental Protection Agency this week about ongoing challenges that rural communities face in complying with landfill regulations, as well plans to address some of those issues.

Our Turn At This Earth: Homecoming

Jan 18, 2018
Julene Bair

Those who, like myself, leave the places where they grew up at a young age almost always think they will never look back. But they almost always do. In my case, the inevitable look back began after I’d been living in San Francisco for eight years. Camping trips in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Mojave Desert reawakened me to the outdoor life I’d had as a child. In fact, I became downright nostalgic over my Kansas childhood.

A rose is a rose is a…snack? Wait, that’s not how the line goes…but maybe it should!

Today’s Growing on the High Plains takes a close look at the blushing, bulbous berry known as rosehips, the edible fruit of the rose. You’ve likely seen this curious word posted on products geared toward health and wellness—sold as vitamin supplements, herbal teas, tinctures, and more. They are indeed rich in health benefits, and they make a tangy treat to boot.

Ben Kuebrich

Kansas water conservation officials are working to get farmers to voluntarily adopt water-saving technologies and extend the life of the crucial Ogallala Aquifer.

The first-ever water technology expo organized by the Kansas Water Office, which was held in Garden City Thursday, brought together farmers, vendors, and researchers.

Lottery Funds Helping Outdoor Colorado

Jan 16, 2018
CC0 Public Domain

Lottery proceeds in are benefitting open-space projects in Colorado, making it more likely that a proposed bill to make the state lottery permanent will pass.

As The Denver Post reports, a new study found that grants from Colorado Lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado directly supported 11,800 jobs, providing $507 million in labor income and, by protecting land and water and open space for recreation, helped spur $392 million in spending on sporting goods over the past decade.

In the coming months, Congress will map out how it’ll spend upwards of $500 billion on food and farm programs over the next five years.

The latest drought report shows that all of Kansas is drying out, with the southern parts of the state now being considered in extreme drought.

But what impact could this weather pattern have if it sticks around?

More than 50 percent of the state is currently seeing drought conditions, up from only 1.5 percent three months ago. And assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp says the outlook for the next three months isn't much better.

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A white-tailed deer that was struck by a vehicle on US Highway 87 near Dalhart has tested positive for a contagious neurological disorder, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials, this is the first instance of a Panhandle white-tail testing positive for chronic wasting disease, and the first instance of the disease appearing in roadkill in the state of Texas.

Luke Clayton

Luke joined his friend Deryl Markgraf on his hunting least in north Texas along with Terry Tate and Matthew Yates. The group set up what they kiddingly referred to as their "mid-winter rabbit camp". A fajita dinner featuring axis deer steak served as the evening meat, complete with some of Deryl's specialty Chorizo cheese dip. 

Our Turn At This Earth: Cheater Bars And Self Reliance

Jan 11, 2018
Joe Angell

As a young girl, I resented the gender divisions on my family’s Kansas farm, where my brothers worked in the barn and fields and I was relegated to cooking, gardening and cleaning the house with my mom. Today I realize that all of our work contributed equally to our thriving in that place, but I grew up in a cultural climate that viewed women incapable of fixing a tractor, while to cook or sew threatened a man’s masculinity.

As our short days of winter flutter by, many High Plains gardeners (like myself) have our minds on the forthcoming growing season. Today's Growing on the High Plains comes as a response to one of these foliage-focused friends that asked me about planting for pollinators—namely, monarch butterflies. They do have plants of preference, and I'll share some tips for those interested in showing these "flying flowers" some hospitality. 

CC0 - Creative Commons

After a Colorado farmer suffered a massive heart attack, his doctor gave him some unusual medical advice – to no longer talk about water.

As The Greeley Tribune reports, Harry Strohauer farms in Gilcrest, Colorado and Like dozens of farmers along the South Platte River, has suffered from the effects of curtailed well pumping, the result of legislation, a Supreme Court case and battles with surface water rights owners.

Jeff Kramer / Wikimedia Commons

In 2018, Amarillo has already seen unseasonably warm and blisteringly cold temperatures. That’s no different from last year, when Amarillo set a number of weather records, according to The Amarillo Globe-News.

Parts of the city are still experiencing the longest dry spell in recorded history, and that drought comes after what was the city’s seventh wettest year ever last year.

From Texas Standard:

A lot of Texans will be paying close attention Monday to the words and tone of President Donald Trump as he addresses farmers and ranchers at the American Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville. At a time when Texas is growing in population,  becoming less rural and more urban than it was 10 years ago, advocates say rural issues are no less important than they once were. And that's the message Trump aims to send during his Farm Bureau speech. But what do Texans want to hear, especially on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA?

From Texas Standard:

Here's the situation: you're driving down the freeway and miss your exit. But no need to stress – just take the next exit and pull a U-ie at the light. If you're lucky, that intersection will include a "Texas turnaround," making what you've done perfectly legal. But in other states, this traffic device is unknown.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has released an updated fish consumption advisory list for 2018.

Lyndon State College Meteorology / Wikimedia Commons

High Plains residents have been experiencing a warmer than average winter, with less snow than usual. Yet, when we turn on the television, we’re inundated with stories of polar vortexes and unprecedented cold snaps back East. So, what’s going on?

While politics has sharply divided red and blue states in recent years, there’s a new divisive force that is separating conservative and liberal areas—weather.

Luke Clayton

We hunters are not always fortunate enough to drive a vehicle right up to a downed game animal and sometimes, we have to pack the meat out. As luck would have it, Luke harvested a good eating "meat hog" just before deadline for this week’s show.

Our Turn At This Earth: In The Mojave's Mirror

Jan 4, 2018
Julene Bair

As a young woman, newly single after my marriage had ended, I bought a little one-bedroom Victorian in an unassuming, foggy San Francisco neighborhood. That house would be worth a fortune today. But I was young then. I didn’t think about my financial security in the distant future. I wanted to live my dream now. I sold the house a few years after I bought it for what I considered a tidy profit and moved to the Mojave Desert, to live alone in a rock cabin and teach myself to write.

No, we're not in Kentucky...and I don't think you saw me standin' around. Nonetheless, we have a pretty "loony" topic this week.

Last week I offered some history of The Old Farmer's Almanac, and this year's edition foretells a pair of rarities for us High Plains dwellers: blue moons, twice in the first few months of 2018.

Today's Growing on the High Plains offers the backstory on lunar "blueness" and what we might expect in our forthcoming growing season as a result.

Older Farmers Struggling In Silence

Jan 3, 2018
CC0 Public Domain

There’s an eerie silence among aging farmers but that doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling.

As Politico reports, in recent months, lawmakers introduced legislation to make sure young farmers have their voices heard in the next farm bill.

Luke Clayton

Wild pork is plentiful during the winter months at Luke Clayton’s house and he puts it to use in various ways, but any lean meat - domestic or wild - will work with this recipe. 

Luke first learned how to prepare this tasty dish from a Mexican cook at a hunting camp down on the Texas/Mexico border back in the late 70s.

Rather than measure the cumin, salt, garlic, etc., Luke much prefers to taste test the stew as it cooks. Cumin is the predominate seasoning and it's important to use enough of it to give the dish it's "Mexican" taste.

Today's installment of Growing on the High Plains explores the longest-running, continuously-published periodical on our continent. While I remember the petite, butter-yellow booklet regularly crossing the counter at my father's pharmacy, I wanted to share some of the fascinating history of this annual reference volume and what it has meant to those who have historically made a living off the land.

Luke Clayton

Luke tells about a very busy week he enjoyed hunting and fishing with his buddies from Canada. Luke and friends enjoyed a mid-winter outdoor vacation pursuing wild hogs at night with thermal gear, hunting them with rifle and bow during daylight hours, and catching big blue catfish weighing up to 54 pounds with mutual friend guide David Hanson at Lake Tawakoni. Luke's Canadian buddies even had a chance to land their first largemouth bass on the adventure.

Today on Growing on the High Plains, I'll share my experiences with the many living Christmas trees we've had through the years. While they require a little extra care and attention (and demand a much shorter indoor stay), live trees make for a cozy, rustic Christmas display.

Our family has welcomed a variety of trees into our holiday home—and want to know the best part? Unlike cut trees, these fragrant fellows stick around all year long, reminding us of the love and joy shared during the season it sparkled in the spotlight.

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This winter is expected to be unusually warm and dry on the High Plains. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect your home from winter weather.

The Edmond Sun has published some tips for making sure your house and family are safe through the long winter months. Unclogging your drains and gutters can ensure that they don’t freeze up when the temperature drops.

Advanced biofuels have been touted as the next step beyond the corn-based ethanol that’s the bulk of the country’s renewable fuel for cars and trucks. These next-generation options were supposed to bring jobs to rural communities and provide farmers with fresh revenue sources, in addition to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles.

Nearly a decade of federal incentives encouraged companies to invest in cellulosic technology, which produces ethanol from crop waste such as stalks, cobs and leaves left on fields after harvest, and at least three plants were built in the Midwest since 2014.

But cellulosic ethanol is harder to make than grain ethanol because it uses the inedible and irregular parts of the plants, meaning it was tough for machines to chew up the wet, heavy material. And companies faced other challenges, such as a steady supply, fluctuating markets and stalled policy decisions.

Wikimedia Commons

Wind turbines are often installed in areas, like the high plains, where wind tends to be particularly strong. But a new study has found that climate change may affect wind patterns.

As the Washington Post reports, the study, published in Nature Geoscience, found through computer simulations that, in the central United States, the amount of wind energy that can be harvested may decline by 8 to 10 percent by 2050.

This finding lines up with another recent study out of Harvard which found that regions of China have already seen a decline in winds due to climate change.

Luke Clayton

Each week, Luke brings us some fishing or hunting news from the great outdoors. Sometimes, like this week, he passes along little bits of information that makes the time we spend outdoors easier and more productive. This week, Luke gives a recipe for making dehydrated has hbrowns topped with cheddar cheese. 

For many years, Luke and many camp cooks have spent time during the early morning hours slicing and shredding potatoes for hash browns to go with the standard bacon and egg camp breakfast.

Our Turn At This Earth: The Beauty Of Dry Places

Dec 15, 2017
CCO Creative Commons

As Plains farmers, my parents had to stay focused on very practical concerns. Our livelihood depended on carefully preparing the soil, then planting, nurturing and harvesting crops. But the impractical whims of the sky often interfered with my parents’ practical efforts. My ancestors had chosen a marginal and often ruthless climate in which to ply their weather-dependent trade.

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