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

Lawsuits filed in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri against the makers of the herbicide dicamba will be centralized in the federal court in St. Louis.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Ligitation decided Thursday to centralize the 11 cases, which allege the herbicide caused significant damage to soybean crops. 

Shelby Knowles / The Texas Tribune

Dozens of small and rural utilities in the state have for years provided water that contains illegal levels of radiation, lead and arsenic. Lack of resources is largely to blame — but there's more to it than that.

From The Texas Tribune:

Luke Clayton

In today's show, Luke talks about a recent hog hunt he enjoyed with his friend Jeff Rice on Jeff's ranch, The Buck and Bass.

Jeff's ranch is located on the upper end of Lake Fork in East Texas and is home to countless wild hogs. Luke connected with a fat 100-pounder and turned the backstraps into what he describes as, "The best pork I've even eaten".

Here's Luke's recipe: 

From Texas Standard.

In 1941, Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie published The Longhorns, the definitive book on the quintessential Lone Star State livestock. Dobie was unsparing in his description of the breed, calling them bony, thin-flanked, some even grotesquely narrow-hipped, but also uniquely suited for the Texas terrain. They were built for survival, not show, which makes them quite different from their modern relatives.

In a time when good news and brotherly love sometimes seems to be at a low ebb, it's nice to know there are brilliant ideas still soaring through the minds of gifted innovators. Today's Growing on the High Plains shares the story of a British aeronautics engineer that's exploring novel methods to provide food aid to those in need. Spurred by war or natural disasters, critical food shortages have become all too common in our troubled times, but this man's solution warmed my gardening heart.

CC0 Creative Commons

If you live on the High Plains, you’re likely familiar with grackles.

In Amarillo the birds can often be seen in prolific numbers, lurking in trees above strip mall parking lots, like an image out of a postmodern Edgar Alan Poe spoof.

KTRK recently published a few facts about the black birds, courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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The Texas Panhandle is in the middle of one of its longest dry spells ever.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the Amarillo area hasn't received measurable rainfall in more than 100 days. The Panhandle is the most severe example of a larger problem. According to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, 40 percent of Texas is now experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions. And things aren’t expected to improve anytime soon.

Luke Clayton

Deer season is a done deal for this year so it's time to hang up the rifle or bow, but now is perfect the perfect time for breaking out the camera and "long" lens and taking some great photos. Camera equipment doesn't have to be expensive, an aftermarket 200mm or 300mm lens can be purchased for a few hundred dollars or ... a few thousand for the top-of-the-line professional lens.

Colorado State University

In the mid-1980s, when I returned to western Kansas after a sixteen-year absence, I was shocked by the changes irrigation had brought to our once dry-land wheat farm. Many of the wheat fields and pastures of my childhood had been replaced by irrigated corn. The water that made this more lucrative, but very thirsty, crop possible came from the vast Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies western Kansas and portions of seven other states.

When Texans – mostly farmers and ranchers – sat down to write the state Constitution in the 1800s, they didn’t see the need for an elected agriculture commissioner.

That oversight was quickly remedied.

Every High Plains gardener knows that moisture maintenance can be a trying task in the unpredictable weather patterns of our region--and that's as true for our wild winters as it is for the sweltering heat of summer.

National Centers for Environmental Informaiton / Public Domain

Last year was the second hottest year in recorded Texas history, reports The Texas Observer.

When it came to warm temperatures, 2017 ranks only behind 2012 in terms of hotness in Texas. Furthermore, six of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century.

National Park Service

Lake Meredith—a recreation area that was once one of the most popular in West Texas but has fallen on hard times in recent years—may be on the rebound.

As The Amarillo Globe News reports, the lake near Fritch in the northern Panhandle had its highest number of visitors in over a decade and a half last year. In 2017, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area received 1.3 million visits-the most since the dawn of the 21st century.

Wikimedia

Some hunters believe that if a deer they hunt doesn’t appear sickly, then it’s ok to eat the meat.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, however, that reasoning could be risky when dealing with deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

The recent frigid weather across the Midwest has slowed river barges carrying grain to shipment ports, especially those destined for the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois rivers.

Luke Clayton

This week, Luke visits with Will Herring, owner of Wild Boar Meats in Hubbard, Texas and discusses putting wild hog meat to good use. Herring's processing plant buys thousands of wild hogs each year and puts the meat to good use in the form of pet food.

The demand for wild hogs is so great that the plant is currently expanding so that more hogs can be utilized.

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?

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