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Conservation Is Essential To Texas’ Future, And It’s Time To Get Serious

Conservation is essential to Texas’ future, and it’s time to get serious

As we head into another hot Texas summer and ponder future summers in a warming climate, the imperative to sustain adequate water availability for our communities and support fish and wildlife habitat continues to grow. The just-released 2020 Water Conservation Scorecard addresses this concern head-on by offering an in-depth look at how effectively Texas water utilities are saving water. Since the release of the initial Scorecard in 2016, utilities have made some advances, but these new scores highlight that the…

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Great American Outdoors Act Would Improve National Parks—and U.S. Economy

Great American Outdoors Act would improve National Parks—and U.S. economy

For the thousands of communities across America that serve as gateways to our national parks, the condition of these treasured sites is critical to economic vitality. That’s because the hotels, restaurants, outfitters, and other businesses in gateway communities count on revenue from people coming to the parks. A bill that the House of Representatives will consider next week—the Great American Outdoors Act—would help restore the parks to top shape by investing nontaxpayer dollars to fix deteriorating assets within our aging…

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Accelerated Drying Increases Potential Wildfire Ignitions Statewide

Accelerated drying increases potential wildfire ignitions statewide

Significant wildfire activity has increased statewide, and accelerated drying has elevated the potential for new wildfire ignitions. New wildfires will become increasingly difficult to extinguish if current temperatures and drying conditions persist into August as forecasted. “Vegetation is rapidly losing moisture due to consecutive days of extremely high temperatures,” said Brad Smith, Texas A&M Forest Service Predictive Services Department Head. “Grass that was green five days ago has wilted and turned brown under the accelerated drying produced from the extreme…

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How To See Comet NEOWISE

How to See Comet NEOWISE

Observers in the Northern Hemisphere are hoping to catch a glimpse of Comet NEOWISE as it zips through the inner solar system before it speeds away into the depths of space. Discovered on March 27, 2020 by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission, Comet NEOWISE is putting on a dazzling display for skywatchers before it disappears, not to be seen again for another 6,800 years. For those hoping to catch a glimpse of  Comet NEOWISE before it’s…

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Applied Research At Spring Lake: Exploring The Value Of Mindfulness In Interpretive Education

Applied research at Spring Lake: Exploring the value of mindfulness in interpretive education

Spending time in nature provides numerous physical, social, and psychological benefits. However, increasing urbanization has created a growing disconnect between people and the natural world. A personal connection is important because it can not only change how people experience and perceive nature but also foster the desire to care for those natural spaces. Dr. Rob Dussler, chief education officer for the Meadows Center, directs and designs nature experiences for the center’s education program, which engages more than 120,000 visitors each…

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Mega-droughts Could Put Texas’ Water Supply In Jeopardy

Mega-droughts could put Texas’ water supply in jeopardy

Researchers at the Environmental Science Institute at the University of Texas believe Texas’ current water plan is not ready for the effects of climate change. They’re concerned that mega-droughts, droughts that can last ten years or more, could be brought on by climate change. The mega-droughts, plus a mixture of rising temperatures, changes in rain patterns and a booming population could lead to a dwindling water supply. “Water has always been a big deal in Texas. Recent changes in our…

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Clayton Wolf Named TPWD Chief Operating Officer

Clayton Wolf named TPWD Chief Operating Officer

Clayton Wolf, a 27-year veteran of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), has been named Chief Operating Officer (COO). Wolf, previously the Wildlife Division Director, joined TPWD as a wildlife biologist in 1993. “What attracted me to this position is the appreciation that I have for all of my TPWD colleagues and the critically important work they do on a daily basis to conserve the natural resources of Texas.  I’ve had an appreciation for the wild things and wild places…

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Win For Texas Landowner In Pipeline Condemnation Appeal

Win for Texas landowner in pipeline condemnation appeal

Recently, the First District Court of Appeals in Houston sided with a landowner who challenged the eminent domain authority of a pipeline company seeking to condemn property.  The case is important for landowners and helps to further flesh out the facts that a pipeline company must be able to show in order to be a “common carrier” and illustrates some considerations in proving fair market value.  [Read full opinion here.] The Hlavinkas own 15,000-16,000 acres of land in Brazoria County,…

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Reclamation Soil Testing Campaign

Reclamation soil testing campaign

Press Release: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Gillespie County – For Immediate Release: June 29, 2020 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be hosting a Reclamation Soil Testing Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to make sure we have the best environment for new seedling grasses to survive and thrive in. This will increase our chances of establishment of desirable plant communities and therefore hopefully reduce erosion and runoff of previously disturbed soil. The testing campaign will be…

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The Hill Country Alliance Is Preserving Our Beautiful Land In Central Texas

The Hill Country Alliance is preserving our beautiful land in Central Texas

The non-profit environmental organization, The Hill Country Alliance plays a vital role in preserving the beauty of the hill country of Texas. Their mission is: “The mission of the Hill Country Alliance is to bring together an ever-expanding alliance of groups throughout a multi- county region of Central Texas with the long-term objective of preserving open spaces, water supply, water quality and the unique character of the Texas Hill Country.” Our guest on Shades of Green is Daniel Oppenheimer, Land…

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