About HCA

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The Texas Hill Country

Click to view a map of the Hill Country, outlining our program areas and focus.

The Texas Hill Country is a unique geographic region that people have called home for more than 14,000 years. At the Hill Country Alliance, we are dedicated to ensuring current and future generations have the opportunity to experience, enjoy, and benefit from the remarkable beauty of the Hill Country we know and love. Our mission is to bring together a diverse coalition of partners to preserve the open spaces, starry night skies, clean and abundant waters, and the unique character of the Texas Hill Country.


2023 Annual Report

Click to view report

In 2023, the Hill Country Alliance hosted, convened, or presented at more than 160 events and connected with a digital audience of 20,300. HCA released an unprecedented number of new tools, reports, and guides in 2023 and reached broad audiences across Texas, with dozens of news stories and op-eds. We launched the Hill Country Leadership Institute – a brand new program focused on connecting local elected officials across the region with resources on everything from groundwater management to growth planning. Click here to view the most recent Hill Country Alliance Annual Report. 

HCA Program Areas

Click here to read a brochure about HCA’s work

Since the beginning, the Hill Country Alliance’s primary activity has been to reach out to inform citizens about current issues relating to growth and development in the Texas Hill Country. As our region has experienced growing pains, we’ve been able to help individuals and community groups by sharing resources and information. We host community meetings about current issues and participate in many regional planning activities. More than just leading the conversation, HCA is inspiring action. Our four program areas are how we maintain strategic focus and align our work within the region.

Land: Advancing local land stewardship and conservation
Water: Preserving clear and flowing waters
Night Skies: Protecting our view of the starry night sky
Communities: Supporting thriving rural and urban communities

IIn addition to our work as a standalone organization, the Hill Country Alliance serves as the convener and fiscal sponsor of the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network, a broad coalition of organizations and agencies who have come together to advance shared goals for conservation of the region. Learn more about the Network at OurTXHillCountry.org


Texas is losing heritage ranch lands faster than any other state in the country.

As ranch lands are divided and urban development pushes further into the rural Hill Country, we are losing wildlife habitat, healthy watershed function, open spaces and scenic vistas – the very things for which the region is known and loved.

HCA combats land fragmentation and degradation by promoting both land conservation and good land stewardship. We build consensus for place-based land management practices that enhance long-term water supply. We address the threat of invasive vegetation, promote restorative agriculture and ranching, and facilitate large-scale landscape conservation. We create resources, conversations and forums for landowners, neighbors, elected officials, and all concerned citizens.

Learn more about the Land Program

Thirteen Texas rivers begin in the Hill Country and provide water for millions of downstream neighbors.

As our region grows, our demands on limited aquifer resources threaten to dry up wells and springs that support the creeks and rivers of the Hill Country. Policy disconnects make it difficult to protect the region’s water supplies.

The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) works to address state-wide policy concerns about the management of surface water and groundwater. We support local groundwater management by elected district boards, and we respond to water quality threats. We promote land and water conservation and water infrastructure alternatives like rainwater harvesting and net zero water development. We advance sound science in groundwater decision-making and planning.

Learn more about the Water Program
Night Skies

Although the Hill Country sits on the edge of the night, eight out of ten children grow up unable to see the Milky Way due to light pollution.

The Hill Country is on the edge of night in Texas. As development pushes westward from the urban corridor, we are losing our view of the night sky that once inspired a songwriter to croon, “The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.”

HCA convenes diverse groups of stakeholders and community leaders to slow the spread of light pollution and the degradation of Hill Country night skies. We work with state parks and local communities to achieve dark sky designations and help electric cooperatives convert to night sky friendly lighting. We encourage night sky friendly businesses as well as local initiatives to pass resolutions and ordinances for the preservation of our starry night sky in cities and counties across the region.

Learn more about the Night Sky Program

Ninety percent of Hill Country lands are in unincorporated areas where there is little authority to plan for growth.

Unprecedented growth is diluting the heritage of our rural towns with sprawling development patterns that take away from courthouse squares and main streets. The culture center of our communities is being lost to new outward-spreading development.

HCA promotes new and better ways to grow healthy, vibrant communities both in the urban corridor and in rural areas throughout the region. We emphasize comprehensive growth planning and transportation alternatives that accommodate population projections while minimizing our footprint. We work to bring communities together around shared values. We support technologies and policies that allow the built environment to enhance, not detract from, our region’s resilience and the unique natural services it provides.

Learn more about the Community Program

Who is HCA?

The HCA team has grown tremendously in recent years and is made up of nearly a dozen staff members and another dozen board members. This has created a passionate and geographically diverse group, with experience and expertise in land stewardship, scenic protection, groundwater supply, county authority, subdivision rules, public and private land conservation, land planning, grassroots organizing and more across the 17-counties we serve.

Our program areas rely on community volunteers and partner organizations for energy and expertise on targeting issues. We also have a growing number of supporters who pass along information to a network of more than 7,000 Central Texans.

HCA is an “amazing organization which connects fragmented groups of folks who share a common energy, and then lets the sparks fly and new life come into important topics affecting the Hill Country.” ~ Paul Sumrall, Rice Construction Company, HCA Advisory Board Member, Blanco County; November, 2011

Why was HCA organized?

HCA was formed in response to the escalating challenges brought to the Texas Hill country by rapid development occurring in a sensitive eco-system. Concerned citizens began meeting in September of 2004 to share ideas about strengthening community activism and educating the public about water supply issues, scenic and night sky protection, land conservation and a more responsible approach growth in the Hill Country.

What does HCA believe?

The Hill Country Alliance promotes responsible and planned growth in a region under tremendous pressure to urbanize. We are neighbors who work cooperatively with landowners, ranchers, conservationists, developers and elected officials to preserve the water quality, water supply and natural beauty of our community. We believe a strong economic future for this region depends on our ability to direct growth in a way that conserves the very resources that make the Texas Hill Country such a desirable place to live. We encourage an open, fair and public process where citizens, neighborhoods and landowners participate in key decisions that will determine the future of our community.

What does HCA do?

Click to view 2022 annual report.

Since the beginning, HCA’s primary activity has been to reach out to inform citizens about current issues relating to growth and development in the Texas Hill Country. As our region has experienced growing pains, we’ve been able to help individuals and  community groups by sharing resources and information. We host community meetings about current issues and participate in many regional planning activities. HCA authors and publishes position papers on our Web site which are appropriate and pertinent to our mission. Additionally, we serve as a resource about Hill Country issues for elected officials at state and local levels, and we collaborate regularly with land trusts, universities, groundwater districts, government agencies, environmental groups and landowners.

Learn more about our work

Click the image above to view our 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.