HPPR Environment

hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
fauna (wildlife)
climate change

Management & conservation
water conservation
soil conservation
wildlife protection
policies & regulations

One morning after the next, semi-trailer trucks get off Interstate 70 near Colby in west-central Kansas.

They haul parts of giant wind turbines in 150-foot-long sections, the pieces to the Solomon Forks wind farm and the next monumental phase of the Kansas bet on wind energy. The farm will plant 105 turbines in the prairie, each towering 250 feet high.

The project is one of a wave of wind farms under construction in Kansas that will add 20 percent more electrical generation to the state’s output.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $1.2 billion to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure across the nation.

Of the 234 water infrastructure projects nationally, 16 are in Kansas, including one in Valley Center.

The city will get a $3.1 million loan to replace a portion of its aging water distribution system with new water lines, service lines, valves and hydrants. Corroded cast-iron pipe from the 1960s will be replaced.

Here’s the list of the other projects in Kansas:

The ongoing effects of the Llano River flood, Hurricane Harvey, the Blanco River flood of 2015, and flooding across the state over the past several years have caused loss of life and immense property damage.

As communities rebuild, questions about how we ensure the safety of all Texans remain.

Luke Clayton

This week, Luke talks about his favorite lake for catching striper, Lake Texoma situated on the Texas/Oklahoma border.

Winter is one of the best times for consistently catching stripers on artificial baits, such as soft plastic shad imitations on jig heads. Large flocks of gulls are present now on Texoma, pointing the way to feeding fish.

For more information on fishing Texoma, visit Luke's friends at Striper Express.

Our Turn At This Earth: Slow Migration

Dec 6, 2018
Julene Bair

High Plains Public Radio will be re-airing the past year's episodes of Our Turn At This Earth with this, the very first show. Not to fear though. Julene Bair will be back with new episodes of Our Turn At This Earth. In the meantime, we thought you might like to catch the first year's episodes. Enjoy!

The long prairie winter is already upon us, and it can chill the hearts of some of us High Plains gardeners. To combat those cold-weather blues, today's edition of Growing on the High Plalins provides a little green for the gray days ahead. I'll explain how a windowsill of planted microgreens can be a delightful way to keep your green thumb agile. Plus, we'll look into the brief history of this recent phenomenon. 

public domain via MaxPixel

Texas is hunkering down for another summer of scorching heat—and that will likely mean record-breaking power demand once again.

However, as Houston Public Media reports, the Lone Star State’s backup power reserves will be at an all-time low, unlike last year. And all those air conditioners running full blast across the state could mean massive power outages, including blackouts and brownouts.

High Plains Outdoors: Fried Rabbit Recipes

Nov 30, 2018
Luke Clayton

In this week’s High Plains Outdoors, Luke divulges a couple of his favorite recipes for cooking rabbit.

Fried rabbit is one of the tastiest of small game dishes. But add some mushroom gravy and Jasmine rice, and you have a meal that will feed the whole camp. Add a big platter of homemade biscuits and you have a meal fit for a king!

Remember, you can contact Luke via his website www.catfishradio.org  

The long-awaited final version of the farm bill was unveiled Monday night, and it hews closer to the previous piece of massive legislation — aside from legalizing hemp on a national level. 

Our Turn At This Earth: Plains Icons

Nov 29, 2018
Patrick Bolduan

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

Julene Bair is working on a whole new set of episodes, so stay tuned. 

To catch other episodes, visit the Our Turn At This Earth feature page.

Every few years, I obey the compulsion, as instinctive as a migratory bird’s, to return to the home nest.

As we waft through Fall, nature lovers across our region enjoy bearing witness to the spectrum of flaming colors splashed across the treetops. So today’s dive into a bright orange fruit, about which many of you might not be too familiar, will certainly accessorize well with our High Plains autumn hues. Persimmons, whose name translates to “food of the gods” in Latin, grows best in warm, dry climates. If you’re lucky enough to have them available in your local produce section, you’re most likely looking at Japanese persimmons.

On today's Growing on the High Plains, we celebrate Thanksgiving, so I thought it would be wise to spend the show reflecting on a few things for which all gardeners in our region can be grateful. From full, Fall foliage to the season's blazing crimson and golden leaves, there is so much we can cherish after a summer full of rain with plentiful sunshine to follow. On behalf of the entire HPPR family, we want to wish all of our listeners a peaceful, safe, and warm holiday. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Two years ago in North Dakota, after months of protest by thousands of indigenous and environmental activists, pipeline opponents celebrated when the Obama administration denied a key permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

From Texas Standard:

With communities bowing under the stress of school overcrowding, soaring traffic fatalities, drug abuse and strains on the power grid, more than a dozen top U.S. energy companies have pledged $100 million toward easing the stresses caused by the natural gas boom in the Permian Basin area of West Texas.

The effects of climate change are not far off problems for future generations. They are existential problems for everyone alive today.

That’s one big takeaway from the U.S. federal government’s latest roundup of climate science, the National Climate Assessment, now in its fourth iteration.

A changing climate has major implications for farmers and ranchers across the U.S., according to a federal report.

Here’s a select breakdown of the agriculture section of the fourth National Climate Assessment, which was released last week.

Bureau of Land Management

City of Amarillo and Potter County officials are working to figure out the best way to make thousands of acres north of the city accessible to the public.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the 12,000 acres controlled by the Bureau of Land Management is the only land in the state of Texas owned by the federal government.

Kansans can expect rising temperatures and more extreme flooding in the future, according to the latest National Climate Assessment.

How Monarch Butterflies Are Surviving The Texas Trip

Nov 27, 2018

Friday, while millions of Americans recovered at home from Turkey-induced torpors, the Trump administration released a report on climate change that forecasts a grim future for Texas. 

Forecasters say the El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean should lead to slightly warmer and wetter conditions across the Midwest this winter. That’s good news for some farmers who struggled with drought over the summer.

Luke Clayton

Cold weather and venison chili go hand and hand. Nothing is tastier than a bowl of well-seasoned, well SMOKED wild game chili.

In this week's High Plains Outdoors, Luke tells us how he used wood smoke to make venison chili even tastier!

Our Turn At This Earth: An Introduction

Nov 22, 2018
CC) Creative Commons


High Plains Public Radio will be re-airing the past year's episodes of Our Turn At This Earth with this, the very first show. Not to fear though. Julene Bair will be back with new episodes of Our Turn At This Earth. In the meantime, we thought you might like to catch the first year's episodes. Enjoy!

"I grew up on the mild-green, short-tufted buffalo grass prairies of northwestern Kansas.”

That is the first sentence in my first book, One Degree West.

Updated at 11 a.m. Nov. 26 with a correction — A southeastern Missouri cotton and soybean farmer has the distinction of being the first person in the United States to face federal charges over alleged dicamba misuse.

Early season snowfall in some parts of the Colorado River Basin have raised hopes of a drought recovery. But that optimism is likely premature.

In Colorado, higher than average snowfall in October and early November has allowed ski resorts to open early after a dismal start to last year’s season.

New cars sold in Colorado will have to run cleaner and average 36 miles per gallon by 2025 thanks to new emission rules adopted Friday.

The move was supported by ski areas and other businesses that have called on the state to take steps to combat the effects of greenhouse gases and climate change.

But some local government leaders and auto dealers in the state are afraid these new rules will have unintended consequences.

Report: Toxic Herbicide Found In Many Texans' Drinking Water

Nov 19, 2018

More than 10 million Texans have consumed drinking water with some level of atrazine – a toxic herbicide – with 472 water utility systems statewide testing positive in at least one detection, according to a new report from an environmental group.



Alan Cain whitetail deer program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Alan and Ellis Powell, also with TPWD, recently used big bore air rifles to do a bit of research into the effectiveness of big bore air rifles for harvesting game.

Cain recently spoke at the TPWD Commissioners meeting in Lufkin and gave his opinion of the power and effectiveness of big bore air rifles in cleanly and humanely dispatching deer-sized game. 

Our Turn At This Earth: Ogallala Road

Nov 15, 2018
Ani Espriella


I’m the kind of person who can’t resist a country road. I’ll be zipping down the interstate between somewhere big and somewhere else big, and a narrow track winding between pale buffalo grass pastures will catch my eye. Next thing I know, the interstate is fading into the distance in my rear-view mirror, as I follow my nose into the next county.

Have you ever wondered what makes the leaves turn from green to gold in Autumn? Well, today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll take a trip to New England and visit the astonishing color show provided by the regional trees and shrubbery. Tune in to find out more regarding the science behind the faded shades of Spring as they break into the blaringly-bright hues of Fall.