environment

Flying east to west over Kansas, the land transforms from lush green to desert brown. Rectangular farm plots fill in with emerald circles, the work of center-pivot irrigation.

Outside Garden City, in the middle of one of those circles, Dwane Roth scoops up soil to reveal an inconspicuous PVC pipe. It’s a soil moisture probe that tells Roth exactly how much water his crops need. The device is one of many new technologies designed to help farmers make the most of every drop.

“All that you have to do is open up your app,” said Roth. “It’s going to tell you, you don’t need to irrigate or you’re going to need to apply an inch within  six days.”

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media/File photo

New research suggests that no-till farming could help mitigate climate change.

A study from Iowa State University, released Monday, examined Midwest land use between 1850 to 2015. As agriculture and the practice of tilling spread, less carbon was being stored in the ground and more was going into the atmosphere. That added to the carbon emissions already accumulating from burning coal and driving cars.

A solution, according to study co-author Chaoqun Lu, is ending tilling.

usgs.gov

Watershed conservation groups in Wichita made their pitch Wednesday for more money from the federal farm bill.

But for two Kansas congressmen, conservation falls a bit lower on the wishlist.

ARVIN G. BOYER / KANSAS CITY DISTRICT U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

The Kansas Water Office has received more than $2.5 million from the federal government to help fight harmful algae blooms in the state's largest lake. 

Kansas Geological Survey

Zack Pistora, legislative director of the Kansas Sierra Club, was worried about the number of earthquakes in the state and wanted to do something about it.

“Those earthquakes can cause damage to people’s homes, businesses, public buildings,” he said. “Right now there’s no recourse for those Kansans who get affected.”

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

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

Luca Sartoni / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas says the Environmental Protection Agency has informed the state that all 105 counties in the state meet the most recent ozone standards.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in a news release that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently sent a letter to Gov. Sam Brownback saying this is good news for the citizens of Kansas. Pruitt's letter also encouraged the state to continue efforts to maintain air quality that meets the 2015 ground-level ozone standards.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Kansas’ energy-regulating agency will investigate nearly a decade’s worth of permits it granted to oil and gas companies after learning recently that some wells received permits without meeting certain state regulations.

The probe, announced Tuesday, will determine the number of wells approved since 2008 without the companies giving nearby residents accurate information about their rights to protest the wells.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas’ energy-regulating agency is trying to determine why permits were issued for half a dozen wastewater wells whose operators didn’t accurately inform nearby residents of their rights to protest the wells.

The deficiencies were discovered by a resident of Matfield Green in Chase County who objects to the wells, into which companies can pour hundreds or thousands of barrels of oil- and gas-related wastewater per day.

Cindy Hoedel wants the Kansas Corporation Commission to shut down the wells and make the companies in question redo the application process.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The fight over an oil-related waste disposal well in Kansas’ Flint Hills has broadened into a campaign to protest similar wells across several counties and lobby lawmakers for regulatory changes.

Last month residents of Chase, Morris and other counties known for their rolling topography, open pastures and tallgrass ecology lost their effort to block operation of a saltwater injection well near Strong City and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

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