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Unique and creative approaches for conservation

Editorial by Commissioner Lon Shell As our population surges, will the Hill Country retain its character? I believe it can, however it is a challenge that will require unique and creative approaches to balance that growth with preservation of the very things that...

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When a quarry closes, can its damage be undone?

A hypnotic maze of subdivisions stretches along Anderson Mill Road as you drive north out of Austin. Then, just before you reach downtown Cedar Park, towering mounds of loose rock rise like ashes from a giant cigarette. Throughout the Texas Hill Country, this sort of...

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Texas cities are booming. I feel it in the country.

About a year ago, I was kayaking down the Llano River, about 80 miles west of Austin, Texas. It’s spring-fed and runs through the countryside, representative of the state’s beauty. I was paddling a usually serene route when I noticed the water becoming shallow and the...

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Over the moon: City of Blanco becomes 5th Dark Sky community in Texas, 35th on planet Earth

The city of Blanco in Blanco County has joined four other Texas cities — all in the Hill Country as well — as the latest to be granted the sought-after International Dark Sky Community designation. The International Dark-Sky Association announced this week that the...

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Seizing the moment for rural water infrastructure

In February, 2021, Winter Storm Uri shined a light on the fragility of our state’s infrastructure as an energy crisis quickly evolved into a water crisis. However, even before Texas was plunged into the ice, our state’s water infrastructure systems received a C- for...

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Hays County Celebrates Earth Day with Upcoming Land Purchase of Sentinel Peak Preserve

Hays County expects to close on its purchase of the Sentinel Peak Preserve by April 29, 2022, mere days after celebrating Earth Day (April 22). This is the first project funded under the 2020 Hays County Parks and Open Space Bond. Read more from Hays County here.

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Removing the mystery of groundwater

Editorial by Vanessa Puig-Williams, Environmental Defense Fund What makes the Texas Hill Country unique? In my mind, it comes down to one thing: groundwater. It is impossible to overstate the importance of groundwater to this precious region, because without it, the...

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Report finds on-site water reuse can boost affordable housing, spread climate resilience

Strategic integration of onsite water reuse can bring financial and quality-of-life benefits to affordable housing residents, according to an extensive new study by the National Wildlife Federation. The report finds on-site collection, treatment, and non-potable use...

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Protecting the Nueces, a lesson of love and legacy

Editorial by Sky Jones Lewey, Nueces River Authority (retired) Fighting to protect water quality in Texas Hill Country waterways is nothing new. I had the privilege to watch, learn from, and help my parents back in the early 1980s as they raised awareness and...

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100-mile nature trail connecting Austin to San Antonio springs into next phase

The Great Springs Project has released its Trails Plan, another step along the path to a proposed 100-plus-mile network of trails from the Alamo to the Capitol.The project, launched in 2018, aims to create a corridor of protected lands over the Edwards Aquifer...

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Rethinking our relationship with Hill Country water, before it’s too late

Editorial by Jennifer Walker, National Wildlife Federation Water is an integral part of the Hill Country fabric, and it is embodied in the rivers and springs that make this region special. It is also the single most limiting factor in the Hill Country. The region’s...

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USDA Takes Action to Strengthen Pollinator Research Support.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced its strengthened commitment to advancing research and programmatic priorities that support pollinator health by soliciting nominations for members to serve on its newly formed USDA National Pollinator Subcommittee.The...

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If drought conditions don’t improve, more water restrictions could come to Central Texas.

Drought conditions across the state are getting worse. Here in Austin, many areas are already feeling its effects. Mark Wentzel is the Instream Flows Leader with the Texas Water Development Board. He said Lakes Travis and Buchanan are some of the main water reservoirs...

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Texan By Nature announces 2022 conservation wranglers.

Texan By Nature, a conservation non-profit, today announces the selection of the 2022 TxN Conservation Wranglers. Conservation Wrangler is an accelerator program that catalyzes the very best Texan-led conservation projects occurring in the state. Selected projects are...

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There oughta be a law (But there’s probably not!)

Editorial by Francine Romero, University of Texas at San Antonio After visiting Gruene recently and encountering the explosion of new housing developments along the old rural roads leading to downtown, I was further disheartened to read that 252 duplex units on 22...

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‘Tipping point’: Waters under fire in Texas Hill Country as development, population boom

The Texas Hill Country has long been lauded as the Land of 1,100 Springs, but there’s trouble brewing in those pristine waters. The area is growing at breakneck speed. More people are drawing water from a finite supply. More are putting wastewater — which helps...

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Annual photo contest returns!

The Hill Country Alliance, a nonprofit organization to raise awareness of the Central Texas Hill Country, is now hosting its 16th annual photo contest.This year’s Hill Country Photo Contest, entitled “Snapshot of the Hill Country,” challenges photographers to share...

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Director’s Note: Pristine Streams Petition Hearing on March 30, 2022

A note from HCA Executive Director, Katherine Romans The Commissioners of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had the opportunity Wednesday to initiate a rule making process to protect the few remaining pristine streams in the state of Texas. Brought...

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‘There’s been historic flooding and neglect’: San Antonio councilwomen aim to improve drainage

One San Antonio resident said water builds up seven or eight feet high after heavy rain. Another compared their street to the Amazon River. Dozens shared their flooding experiences last fall with the city’s drainage bond committee, a group appointed by City Council to...

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Growth in unincorporated areas of Kendall County

As the new State of the Hill Country Report illustrates, the Hill Country population has increased by 50% since 1990, with most of this growth occurring along the I-35 corridor. The fastest growing counties are Hays County with 195% growth, and both Comal and Kendall...

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You can get a permit to dump treated wastewater into Barton Creek. Some are trying to change that.

Several conservationist groups are banding together to stop treated effluent from getting into certain waterways in Texas, including Barton and Onion creeks.That means human waste where pollutants have been removed.Currently, the Texas Commission on Environmental...

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The Hill Country Alliance presents Spring Water Revival: Splash into learning, spring into action.

Spring in the Hill Country is a time of blooming wildflowers, flowing creeks, and (hopefully) the arrival of long-awaited rains. This spring, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) has announced the first annual Spring Water Revival – a month long, springtime celebration of...

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TCEQ denies petition to create rule against issuing wastewater discharge permits on pristine streams

While some Texans spent Wednesday’s warm temperatures outdoors enjoying Barton Creek, others spent the day indoors fighting on its behalf. At a public meeting Wednesday morning, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) heard comments on a petition filed by...

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Is Texas Hill Country in danger of being ‘loved to death’?

Deep in the heart of Texas, the traffic is backed up for almost a mile. It’s a jarring sight for long-time residents of the Hill Country, a rural oasis of scrubby green hills, crystalline water, and bright white limestone west of Austin and San Antonio. But it’s not...

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