June 30, 2009

Wind Energy and Transmission presentations scheduled for July 15 in Fredericksburg

The public is invited to a meeting where wind energy and transmission presentations will be made by officials from the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA). The meeting will be at 7pm Wednesday, July 15 at the Gillespie County Farm Bureau building at 237 Equestrian Way. Sponsored by Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment (SOSHCE) – Details

Where the first raindrop falls

John Graves said it best in Texas Rivers: “The loss of our primeval forests and prairies, the extinction or increasing rarity of many species of living things, the disruption of our waters’ flow and their pollution — all these evils and more … are the price we have paid for progress and prosperity and our nation’s power, for getting to the point we have reached today.” What point have we reached? Gunnar Brune’s Springs of Texas (1973) gives a clue. “Texas originally had 281 major and historically significant springs, other than saline springs. Sixty-three springs, many with important historical backgrounds, have completely failed.” – Read full TPWD article here.

June 29, 2009

PEC Board elects officers and new board members.

A significant leadership change has taken place at the PEC. Newly elected board member Larry Landaker is now the President of PEC and new board member Cristi Clement is Vice President. More about the election from Dave Collin’s report for the Hay’s County Round-up here.

June 28, 2009

It’s Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado

DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West. Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago. Read full NY Times article here.

June 18, 2009

Edwards Aquifer Authority declairs critical period stage two

The Edwards Aquifer Authority today declared stage two of the region’s critical period management plan, further limiting how much groundwater can be pumped from the Edwards Aquifer across a seven-county area of south-central Texas. Citing declining aquifer levels that are the result of a continuing drought and seasonal demand on the aquifer, the Authority declared stage two for Edwards groundwater users within the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer region. Read full media release here.

June 16, 2009

EPA joins housing and transportation agencies to bolster affordable housing and transportation options

In a long overdue move, the US EPA today formally pledged to work in tandem with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “help American families … gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs,” according to an EPA statement. See full media release here.

Texas High Wires – A Balancing Act for Private Landowners

Today, because of a confluence of factors, more landowners are finding themselves in the path of electrical transmission lines than ever before. Like most issues affecting private property rights, land use, and the law, it is important to be informed. Read full article here.

June 15, 2009

The Public Utility Commission is the Problem

By Richard Nagel of Clear View Alliance
The Public Utility Commission is the one who makes many of the power line rules and decides how much money to spend. LCRA must follow PUC’s rules, PUC’s rules must be changed so that anyone whose property value is damaged is compensated to their satisfaction. Read full article here.

June 12, 2009

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awards grant for habitat conservation plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday it will grant $1.3 million to Bexar County and the City of San Antonio to fund the development of a regional habitat conservation plan. The County and City will split a 25 percent match, or $446,897. Read full media release here.

June 12, 2009

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awards grant for habitat conservation plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday it will grant $1.3 million to Bexar County and the City of San Antonio to fund the development of a regional habitat conservation plan. The County and City will split a 25 percent match, or $446,897. Read full media release here.

Water users express concerns about groundwater supplies during drought

Groundwater users in the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District expressed concerns about groundwater supplies holding up if the current Critical Stage drought worsens. The District held town two hall meetings on June 2 and June 8 in Sunset Valley and Buda to review and get feedback on proposed rule changes that would better prepare the District to regulate and conserve groundwater resources during extreme drought. Read full releasehere.

June 10, 2009

Aquifer District Partners with State and Local Organizations in Leading Summer Institute for Educators

Fourteen organizations have come together to host the upcoming, fourth annual “Groundwater to the Gulf: Summer Institute for Educators” on June 23 through 25. The three-day, field-based program will provide hands-on experiences with local water experts for 50 educators. Participants will follow the path of water in Central Texas from its origins to its final destination in the Gulf of Mexico. Activities will focus on hydrogeology, groundwater, runoff and urban watersheds, water quality, water protection, and water conservation. See full press release here.

June 8, 2009

The Back Porch – Water and wildlife in the marketplace

Texas contains nearly 200,000 miles of streams and rivers. Thirteen of the state’s 15 rivers flow through metropolitan areas supply-ing water for more than 22 million people. Twenty percent of those people depend on a single river: the Trinity. To supply water for people while balancing the needs for wildlife, positive things must happen on the landscape — 95 percent of which is in private hands. – Read full TPWD article here.

June 4, 2009

Tag You’re Out: The struggle for county authority continues

Liz Sumter, Hays County judge, was extremely disturbed to learn that construction runoff from development within a subdivision in Hays County was silting up the once clear, sparkling water of Hamilton Creek and Hamilton Pool. “Tragedies like Hamilton Pool point out that things must change more quickly,” she says. One major hindrance in making change needed to protect water resources and Hill Country treasures like Hamilton Pool is the lack of county authority to ensure healthful and orderly development in a region experiencing rampant growth. Read full article here.

June 3, 2009

Some Bullis bills run into buzz saw

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff would tell you that protecting Camp Bullis and its mission of training combat medics for war should have been a slam-dunk, but it wasn’t. Hence, local leaders are taking no chances over one bill that squeaked out of the 81st session. Wolff, Mayor Julián Castro, Sen. Jeff Wentworth and Fort Sam Houston’s top commander will meet with the media today to show support for House Bill 2919 that would create a panel charged with making recommendations to area governments on development projects near Bullis. See full MySA.com article here.

June 2, 2009

Fossil-fueled Texas can’t see solar light

Commentary by Jim Marston, Environmental Defense Fund:
What began as “the sunny” 81st legislative session ended overcast this week as political wrangling and well-funded special interests clouded opportunities to bring thousands of jobs to Texas and position us as a leader in the new energy economy. It appears that the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” rings true once again. While other states develop economically beneficial policies to bring jobs and cleaner energy, Texas is stuck trying to hold on to our fossil-fueled past. See full Statesman.com commentary here.

June 1, 2009

Showing just what ‘green’ means

Motorists are driving to Seguin from as far as 100 miles away to get a first-hand look at possible renewable resources of the future. They’ve logged as much as an hour on the road from towns such as Kerrville and Shiner, or just minutes from the local area for a glimpse of silver blades spinning atop a tall turbine. See full MySA.com article here.

Colleen Gardner new director for Blanco-Pedernales Groundwater Conservation Dist. Place 2

Hill Country Alliance board member Colleen Gardner has been appointed director of Blanco-Pedernales Groundwater Conservation District Place 2. Gardner, Bamberger Ranch Preserve executive director, is well-known for conservation education at the ranch. With her business expertise and environmental resource management knowledge, Gardner brings both fiscal savvy and experience in water matters to the GCD appointment. See full release here.