August 28, 2012

Hill Country River and Stream Angler Survey Underway

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division is partnering with Texas Tech University’s Department of Biological Sciences and the TTU Llano River Field Station to conduct a four-month survey of anglers who fish Texas Hill Country rivers and streams. Details

August 27, 2012

Groundwater deals may land LCRA in a quagmire

With the Aug. 15 announcement that it wanted to purchase 34,000 acres belonging to an aluminum smelting company in Milam County, the Lower Colorado River Authority made a bold step toward its goal of expanding its water supplies. But by seeking to export water, the river authority steps into a quagmire east of Austin in which landowners, environmentalists and water marketers are grappling over the future of water supplies. Whatever millions the river authority invests in pulling water from these areas, it will almost certainly have to deal, in a policy shift, with the vagaries of local groundwater districts. Read full article.

Surface and Groundwater Policy Integration

In Texas, water law and regulatory policy treat groundwater differently, and for the most part separately from surface water. This approach has long confounded hydrologists and geo-hydrologists – the designations “groundwater” and “surface water” merely describe the physical location of the water in the hydrologic cycle. Learn more from HCA’s most recent issue paper on the connection between groundwater and surface water supply.

Road Closure in Leon Springs to Impact Historic Road, Historic Site and Traffic

San Antonio’s Planning Commission and City Council voted June 21, 2012 to close the historic Old Fredericksburg Road in Leon Springs behind Rudy’s BBQ and The Grill and sell it to developers of a planned housing unit complex. This development would dwarf the historic Aue Settlement Complex, a National Register of Historic Places site (NRHP) and create more traffic on the IH10 frontage road. City of San Antonio (CoSA) does not yet own the historic road. TXDOT, San Antonio District, has proposed to its Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) that the road be listed “surplus” and given to CoSA. On August 30 TTC votes on this proposal. Learn More

Revised Landscape Rebate If you’re tired of watering and mowing your lawn, it may be time to consider a landscape makeover. Austin Water has revamped its popular WaterWise Landscape rebate which offers cash back to customers who replace thirsty grass with native plants. The rebate also covers installing permeable hardscape. Read more from Austin Water.

Colorado River Basin public comments

Because different parts of Texas have unique water needs and challenges, the Legislature has parceled the state into manageable areas. Region K is one of 16 regional water planning groups created to craft policy at a local level. If you live in the Colorado River Basin, your region is K. Region K is now taking public input regarding non-municipal water demands for long-term future planning. Show Austin that you are paying attention. Learn more and voice your opinion.

Four workshops offered in early September at the Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne

Learn to identify native grasses or how to plant trees and shrubs, go birding with your children or volunteer to teach kids about nature during programs offered at the non-profit Cibolo Nature Center in September. Learn More

Texas State Receives Major Gift for Water Research

With plans Friday to rename Texas State University’s River Systems Institute, the Texas State University System Board of Regents aims to recognize a Dallas-based philanthropic organization. The institute, which focuses on developing and promoting strategies for sustainable water use, will now be known as the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, following a $1 million gift from the Meadows Foundation. The university’s plan is to grow the institute into a $10 million center focused on water research. Read full Texas Tribune article.

August 23, 2012

A landscape full of lessons

Next month’s Texas Gardener features a sustainable landscape at Junction Middle School. The landscape was built by students, teachers and the Junction community in honor of a beloved teacher. “One of our goals with this design was to provide an example to the students and to the community that it is possible to take what we have naturally in this area and create something beautiful, functional and sustainable. We wanted to encourage everyone to be aware that we need to conserve water and to be good stewards of the land and our natural resources.” Read More

August 18, 2012

Don’t Waste The Drought

We’re in the worst drought in the United States since the 1950s, and we’re wasting it. For decades, Americans have typically handled drought the same way. We are asked to limit lawn-watering and car-washing, to fully load dishwashers and washing machines before running them, to turn off the tap while brushing our teeth. When the rain comes, we all go back to our old water habits. But just as the oil crisis of the 1970s spurred advances in fuel efficiency, so should the Drought of 2012 inspire efforts to reduce water consumption. Read more from the NY Times.

New EAA website, video explain Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan

A new website and video developed by the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) help explain the purpose and goals of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan (EAHCP), which is currently under review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The website went live August 3, 2012, and features helpful background information on the development of the EAHCP, its history, mission and goals, including a new informational video. Learn More

August 16, 2012

“Art and Conservation” to feature landowner-artist collaboration to promote Hill Country conservation

Some Hill Country landowners have invited a group of artists to spend time over a one-year period exploring 21 properties not typically open to the public, so the artists can interpret their experiences in nature through art. Next April, that art will be exhibited and sold to the public as part of “Art and Conservation: Hidden Treasures,” presented by the Cibolo Nature Center and the Hill Country Council for the Arts to raise awareness about and promote conservation of Hill Country animals, plants, land and water. Learn More

August 15, 2012

Major development proposal in Leon Springs

One of the greatest points of contention surrounding the project has been a portion of Old Fredericksburg Road…..“The Old Fredericksburg Road is more than just a road. It was part of the Old Spanish Trail,” Richardson said during the LSBA luncheon. Read more at the Boerne Star online.

HCC and TNC encourage conservation funding in Austin

The Austin City Council will vote this week to determine the amount of funding that will be on the ballot in the November election for Open Space, Parks and Trails. Now is the strategic moment to take action and voice your support for full funding for open space, parks and trails. Take action now.

August 14, 2012

Save the Trees: Kyle residents call for ordinance to protect trees

Several protestors took to the street last weekend to voice their concern in the ongoing tug-of-war between environmental preservation and the city’s plans for continued development. The activists were once again calling for a citywide ordinance to protect Heritage Oak Trees while bemoaning the city’s latest development proposal, a truck stop near I-35 at the Yarrington Road exit. A tree ordinance has already been passed in Buda, where developers are required to provide for the planting of replacement trees when Heritage trees are leveled, but a similar proposal from the Kyle City Council was tabled last month for further inquiry and public testimony. Read full Hays Free Press article.

Water Is Life

As stewards of more than 95 percent of the landscape in Texas, private landowners do have a huge role to play in our water future, and they are not getting much help. Texas loses rural and agricultural land faster than any other state, and this continued fragmentation of family lands is irrevocably impairing the function of our watersheds and aquifer recharge zones, as well as increasing nonpoint source pollution, which is runoff from agricultural fields, highways, parking lots and an increasingly paved-over countryside. Read full article by Andrew Sansom.

August 13, 2012

Welcome Scenic Comal County

Scenic Texas welcomes their newest chapter, Scenic Comal County. Committed to preserving the county’s landscape, a group of concerned residents led by Chris Cornwell, Dave Bohn, Robbi Boone, and Comal County Commissioner Jan Kennady want to raise awareness about the negative effects of visual pollution. Scenic Comal County’s mission is to preserve the scenic beauty of Comal County by curbing billboard proliferation, minimizing light pollution, and cleaning up litter. To learn more about Scenic Comal County or join their efforts, visit

August 8, 2012

It’s All the Same Water

Texas is the only Western state where rule of capture is law. That may work well for property owners wanting to sell their groundwater, or sell their mineral rights, but not so great for most of the rest of the population that relies on water as a life source. Read full article by Joe Nick Patoski.