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

Following one of the hottest and driest years on record, the Colorado River and its tributaries throughout the western U.S. are likely headed for another year of low water.

That’s according to an analysis by the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado Boulder. Researcher Jeff Lukas, who authored the briefing, says water managers throughout the Colorado River watershed should brace themselves for diminished streams and the decreasing likelihood of filling the reservoirs left depleted at the end of 2018.

The briefing relies on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Natural Resources Conservation Service among others.

Published 9:40 a.m. | Updated 1:10 p.m.

The Colorado Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision that ruled that the state’s oil and gas regulators must consider health and the environment in all its actions — from permits for new wells to new industry rules.

Instead, the Supreme Court ruled that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission can balance health and the environment with other considerations, like protecting property and production rights.

Wind is beginning to challenge coal’s status as the primary energy source for electricity produced in Kansas.

Luke Clayton

In this week's High Plains Outdoors, Luke recaps a yellow bass fishing trip he went on last week.

Yellow bass, sometimes called 'barfish' are excellent eating and provide great sport when using light spinning tackle.

"Yellows' can be caught on a wide variety of downsized baits or one-third sections of minnow.

In Texas, there is no limit on yellow bass and these little fish are excellent eating.

Tune in and hear all about this past week’s outing that Luke enjoyed with Stubby Stubbfield, Jeff Rice and Shannon Wheeler on Lake Fork in East Texas. 

Our Turn At This Earth: Descartes' Legacy

Jan 10, 2019
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

In my late twenties, I became enchanted by the mountainous deserts of the West. Whenever I could get a little time off from my work as bookkeeper for a San Francisco accounting firm, I would load up my old Toyota Land Cruiser with food, tools, and a few clothes, fill the Jerry cans I’d mounted on the Cruiser with gas and water, and head for a place that looked intriguing on the many U. S. Geological Survey topo maps I’d collected.

For crop farmers, winter is the offseason. But that doesn’t mean they take the winter off. It’s meeting season — going to endless seminars or having discussions about better ways to farm — and planning season.

Planning may seem like it would be a challenge given the trade uncertainties, including the tariff war with China. 

It's a  new year, so what better time to start planning a vegetable garden? Today's episode of Growing on the High Plains will dig deep into best practices for gardeners in our region. While our seasons can be unique, there's one guiding gardening rule that always rings true: ROTATION! ROTATION! ROTATION!

Plants are good at what they do — turning sunlight into food. However, some researchers have found the leaf world could improve, and that could have a major effect on the world’s growing population.

During my internship at HPPR, I had the opportunity to speak with Joni Carswell, the CEO and President of the Texas-based conservation foundation Texan By Nature. Founded by former First Lady Laura Bush in 2011, Texan By Nature aims to unite business and conservation leaders who believe the well-being of Texas is dependent on the conservation of our natural resources.

Luke Clayton

This week, Luke talks about the trusty old lever action 30-30 and how he has recently replaced a scope on his rifle with a quality Williams peep sight.

Thanks to eye surgery a little over a year ago, Luke can again see well enough to shoot iron sights, possibly as well as when he was a teenager.

Our Turn At This Earth: Primal Bonds

Jan 3, 2019
Public Domain

High Plains Public Radio will be re-airing the past year's episodes of Our Turn At This Earth beginning Nov. 22, 2018.

In the meantime, Julene Bair is working on a whole new set of episodes, so stay tuned!

As a child on my family’s Kansas farm, I often whiled away entire mornings stalking a mother cat until she led me to her hidden litter of newborn kittens, or burrowing into my mother’s lilac bushes in pursuit of a baby cottontail.

As extreme drought marched northward from Arizona and New Mexico and parked itself squarely over the Four Corners in early 2018, many turned to one tool to understand the change: the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The map is updated weekly, and it continues to show poor conditions in much of the Southwest.

It’s a winter truism that you’re likely to hear from the mouth of any Denverite. Longtime local meteorologist Mike Nelson knows it well.

“The old adage is, if it smells like Greeley it’s gonna snow.”

Kansas experienced its 23rd-wettest year on record in 2018, according to weather data that goes back as far as 1895. 

Break out your boots.

Nineteen Kansas state parks, including Cheney and El Dorado, are hosting New Year’s Day hikes.

Park rangers will lead hikers through dense woodlands, sweeping prairie grass and along the shores of lakes.

Jill Johnson, an administrator at El Dorado State Park, said the hike at her park has “lots of trees” and plenty of birds.

“This time of year we see some eagles,” Johnson said. “So (we will be) kind of just taking nature in, pretty much.”

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.

From Texas Standard:

Where do tornadoes come from? It's not a riddle or a trick question, although the answer may seem obvious: the sky, right? Evidently, that's not the case.

Researchers at Wichita State University have found a better way to protect wind turbines from costly lightning strikes.

When lightning strikes the blade of a wind turbine it can blow the tip right off. That means costly repairs and unexpected downtime for the wind turbine.

Our Turn At This Earth: The Beauty Of Dry Places

Dec 27, 2018
CC0 Creative Commons

 

High Plains Public Radio will be re-airing the past year's episodes of Our Turn At This Earth beginning Nov. 22, 2018.

In the meantime, Julene Bair is working on a whole new set of episodes, so stay tuned!

Today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll snap into an old Southern tradition that's said to usher in good luck for the New Year: eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. While this folk custom goes as far back as the Civil War, being generally keen on beans as a matter of good fortune dates to ancient times. Tune in as we throw open the doors on this unique ritual and its rich history—and may it encourage you to cook up a batch of "coins" for your family on January 1st.

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined that only foods containing detectable genetic material should be considered as bioengineered or genetically modified (GMO).

The USDA was tasked with deciding if refined products, like soybean oil and corn sweeteners, should be considered a GMO food. It said they are not, which is a victory for sugar beet farmers.

Dicamba, the controversial herbicide used on soybeans and cotton, is responsible for thousands of acres of damaged crops in recent years.

Experts say that despite new federal rules that go into effect in 2019, the drift will continue but the victims will be different.

Luke Clayton

On today's High Plains Outdoors, Luke tells how easy it is to make homemade tamales and ... how much money you can save by doing so!

This past week, Luke used his iron sighted 30/30 to harvest a fat 'eater' size wild hog weighing about 120 pounds. There are so many ways to turn that fresh wild pork into tasty meals but tamales and Christmastime go together like, well, wild hogs and pork chops!

Take a listen and Luke will walk you through the process and in no time you will be turning your own game meat into one of the tastiest of all Mexican dishes...FRESH TAMALES!

Our Turn At This Earth: Wild Times

Dec 20, 2018
Julene Bair

High Plains Public Radio will be re-airing the past year's episodes of Our Turn At This Earth beginning Nov. 22, 2018.

In the meantime, Julene Bair is working on a whole new set of episodes, so stay tuned!

Pixabay

A tumbleweed isn't often associated with Christmas and is a foe to my garden, but on today's edition of Growing on the High Plains, I delve into the history of the Kochia, aka fireweed, and its travails and travels across the High Plains, where at one time, it made a pit stop as a Christmas tree.

Luke Clayton

This week, Luke takes us on a big bore airgun hunt to Ranger Creek Ranch www.rangercreekranch.com.

Luke's hunted here for many years and loves the rough 'Cedar Break' country that is home to lots of deer, javelina, wild hogs and turkey.

Luke used his Airforce Airguns .45 caliber 'Texas' to harvest a fat doe that will supply his and his family’s many tasty meals in the months ahead.

Public Domain

Xcel Energy recently announced an ambitious plan to go completely carbon free.

As Xcel spokesman Wes Reeves tells HPPR, the energy giant has set a goal across its eight-state service area to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent over the next 12 years.

To fir or not to fir, that is the question! While we're all pining for the impending holidays, I thought I'd share some festive wisdom about an iconic, annual friend to many High Plains households: the Christmas tree. Even if you're from an artificial-tree household, it's fascining to know more about the different varieites of conifers that grace our holiday homes.

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

Vast amounts of wetlands and thousands of miles of U.S. waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration.

The proposal, announced Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency, would change the EPA's definition of "waters of the United States," or WOTUS, limiting the types of waterways that fall under federal protection to major waterways, their tributaries, adjacent wetlands and a few other categories.

More than 100 local officials from both Kansas and Missouri gathered Saturday morning to discuss ways to combat climate change on the local and regional level. 

'This is by far the largest collection of elected officials that are addressing climate change, climate disruption and global warming that I've seen in my time here," said Brian Alferman, sustainability manager of Johnson County, Kansas. "So I want it to be a part of it and hope that it drives some of the work that I do."

Pages