HCA Press Releases
June 28, 2023
New Plan Provides a Shared Vision for Preserving the Iconic Texas Hill Country
A new report released this month by the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network (the Network) shines a spotlight on the need for investing in conservation as Central Texas grows. The Hill Country Land, Water, Sky and Natural Infrastructure Plan provides a data-driven vision for conservation of our region’s most important and defining natural resources. The 18-county Hill Country stretches from Austin to San Antonio and west to Uvalde and Junction, and includes three of the top ten fastest growing counties in the country. As the population grows, impacts are being felt in the form of increasing pressure on groundwater resources, land fragmentation and loss of natural areas, and light pollution that clouds the view of the stars at night. With these challenges in mind, conservation partners joined forces to create a plan for proactively protecting the natural resources so central to the identity of the Hill Country. Read the full media release.
April 4, 2023
Despite ongoing drought, Hill Country Alliance announces second annual Spring Water Revival month
Spring is in full force – native grasses are tall and green, trees have erupted in fresh leaves, and bluebonnets are gracing roadsides across the region. These blooms rely on long-awaited rains – and despite the vibrant floral displays, rainfall counts are already off to a rough start. Last year, the Hill Country Alliance, a regional nonprofit that works to preserve clear and flowing waters in the Hill Country, celebrated its first annual Spring Water Revival – a month-long springtime celebration of our region’s incredible waters – our bubbling springs, pristine streams, and flowing rivers. In an ironic twist of fate, since last spring the region has seen countless creeks and springs dry up in response to one of the cruelest one-year droughts on record. Read the full media release.
March 29, 2023
Hill Country Alliance 17th annual photo contest: Home in the Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country – famous for its pristine streams, blooming wildflowers, star-filled night skies, and tucked-away small towns – is home to over 3.8 million people and growing fast. Home to three of the fastest growing counties in the country, the Hill Country’s population is projected to grow to 5.2 million in the next seven years. Native flora and fauna that have called the region home for millennia – from beloved gray foxes and live oaks to delicate monarchs and milkweeds – are finding their habitats reduced as our human homes continually expand into their native ranges. As more and more people call the Hill Country home, many of the region’s most special qualities – like sweeping open spaces, clear flowing waters, and starry night skies – are at risk of being loved to death and lost forever. This spring, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) calls on anyone with a camera to share your view of this iconic region and its many inhabitants in the 2023 Hill Country Photo Contest, “Home in the Hill Country.” Read the full media release.
November 2, 2022
2022 Hill Country photo contest winners announced and 2023 Calendar for sale!
The Texas Hill Country is a unique region filled with diverse wildlife, clear springs, sprawling rural landscapes, historic towns, and some of the starriest night skies in the country. With a rapidly growing population and increasing development coming into the region, many of these special qualities are at risk of being lost. Each year the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) holds a photo contest encouraging photographers to capture images of the Texas Hill Country they would like to protect forever. Winning photo contest entries are then selected and displayed in the 2023 Hill Country Calendar, now available for purchase on the Hill Country Alliance website. Read the full media release.
October 27, 2022
Grassroots gathering of Hill Country water advocates reveals ongoing water challenges and opportunities in the region
Hill Country water advocates from across the region gathered in Bandera, TX on October 13th for a day of learning, connecting, and strategizing for water stewardship in our region. “The work to protect our aquifers and rivers is challenging but vital to the long-term prosperity of the Hill Country. It makes all the difference to be able to work together, learn from one another, and celebrate each other’s successes,” said Hill Country Alliance (HCA) Water Program Manager Marisa Bruno. More than 40 people, representing 27 different local organizations from 13 different Hill Country counties including Bandera, Blanco, Bexar, Comal, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Gillespie, Hays, Medina, Real, Travis, and Uvalde attended the grassroots gathering, which was organized by HCA. Read the full media release.
October 20, 2022
The Hill Country Steward: Where Water Meets Land – Riparian Areas – Central Texas Conservation Partnership
Often, when we think about the health of our Hill Country creeks or rivers, our tendency is to look straight down in the channel. Is there any water down there? How much? See any fish? No doubt, these are important questions. However, by narrowing our focus solely onto what is in the stream channel, we disregard the extensive natural infrastructure that sustains our creeks and rivers. A key part of this natural infrastructure is the riparian zone. Read the full media release and learn more at www.texasconservation.org.
October 18, 2022
Hill Country Leaders Gather in Dripping Springs for 2022 Hill Country Leadership Summit – Our Shared Stories: Past, Present, and Future
On Thursday, September 29th, conservation leaders from across the Texas Hill Country met at The Hall at Jester King Brewery for the Hill Country Alliance’s annual Leadership Summit. The event theme, Our Shared Stories: Past, Present, and Future, brought together more than 250 attendees – both online and in-person – eager to learn about conservation strategies, discuss complex natural resource challenges and solutions, and connect with community leaders across the Hill Country. Attendees ranged from college students to professionals across the conservation, development, and county government spaces. Read the full media release.
September 20, 2022
The Hill Country Steward: Flying Fall Migration – Birds and Butterflies – Central Texas Conservation Partnership
Something’s in the air! Recent rains and temperature drops have brought about greener fields, flowering native plants, and a promise of the coming fall. September is a time of migration and we can all do something in our own homes to make the journey easier on traveling wildlife. Read the full media release and learn more at www.texasconservation.org.
August 20, 2022
The Hill Country Steward: Finding the Balance – Ranching, Grazing, and Drought – Central Texas Conservation Partnership
One hundred percent of the Hill Country is currently in a drought – ranging from severe to exceptional. Since 2000, drought has cost the State of Texas between $20-50 billion – making it one of the most expensive and far-reaching natural disasters facing the US. So, what does this cost translate to for your local land steward or rancher? Read the full media release and learn more at www.texasconservation.org.
July 20, 2022
Introducing the Hill Country Steward – Central Texas Conservation Partnership
Despite the heat, drought and occasional ice storms, living in the Texas Hill Country is pretty great. We all want our own little piece of Texas, but once we have it, then what? I doubt that anyone who owns property, no matter what size, would say that it is perfect and there isn’t a single thing they would change. The truth is, there are always things that can be done to improve the health and functionality of our land. And most of these things don’t just happen on their own. They require active stewardship. Read the full media release and learn more at www.texasconservation.org.
May 16, 2022
Unique and creative approaches for conservation
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 drive it. We live in a remarkable place with beautiful resources, wonderful people, and amazing opportunities. People want to live here. They want to experience the quality of life that our region provides. They want to swim in the rivers and creeks, take in the views from the hilltops, and breathe clean air—and at the same time, have access to good jobs, affordable homes, low taxes, and a safe place to raise families. Unfortunately, without careful attention, this growth will negatively affect all the things we cherish and that drew us to this region in the first place. Read the full State of the Hill Country Op-ed from Commissioner Lon Shell.
May 2, 2022
Be a friend to the night sky
Protecting the night sky is not just about the stars, as magnificent as the sight of them might be. In Hays County, the fastest growing county in Texas and in the country for that matter, we’re working to counteract the conventional view that more people and more buildings automatically means more light and more light pollution. Hays County Friends of the Night Sky formed in 2018 to protect and restore our night skies, increase safety, reduce energy cost and waste, and enhance the health of the county’s people, plants and animals. Read the full State of the Hill Country Op-ed from Soll Sussman.
April 25, 2022
Removing the mystery of groundwater
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 Hill Country would not be the region we know and love. Although groundwater is invisible, concealed under layers of limestone beneath the land within aquifers, it sustains the springs and rivers that shape and define the Hill Country—from imposing limestone bluffs carved over millennia by the Guadalupe, to ancient shadowy Cypress trees with roots extending like tentacles into the clear waters of the Frio, to the trickling fern-lined springs tucked along tributaries of the Blanco. It is the beauty and abundance of the Hill Country’s water resources that have attracted people here for thousands of years. Read the full State of the Hill Country Op-ed from Vanessa Puig-Williams.
April 20, 2022
Protecting the Nueces, a lesson of love and legacy
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 organized opposition to keep wastewater out of the Nueces River. It all had to do with a proposed wastewater treatment plant in Camp Wood, located in the headwater region of the Nueces, the river we lived on. At the time, it was the Texas Water Commission, now TCEQ, that permitted a wastewater treatment operation without fully considering the voices in opposition, led by Elmo Jones, my father. Dad was an excellent community organizer before that was even a thing. As a fluent Spanish speaker, he raised awareness of potential pollution on the Nueces River to all audiences. The resulting outcry was loud, targeted and unrelenting. Read the full State of the Hill Country Op-ed from Sky Jones Lewey.
April 11, 2022
Rethinking our relationship with Hill Country water, before it’s too late
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 population is growing rapidly and, according to a comprehensive new study from the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network, there simply isn’t enough water available from traditional sources to match current consumption patterns. We need to urgently rethink how we capture water—and how we consume it. Read the full State of the Hill Country Op-ed from Jennifer Walker.
April 4, 2022
There Oughta Be a Law (But there’s probably not!)
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 acres are “coming soon.”I was left wondering how much more pressure can Gruene, New Braunfels, and all of the Texas Hill Country withstand before significant cracks begin to emerge—compromising their value forever. While few of us could reside in this region absent the growth of recent decades, the latest escalation of construction is alarming. The recent State of the Hill Country Report presents an unsettling truth—land development is necessary as population increases, yet its unchecked expansion may prove disastrous for environmental, aesthetic, and cultural/historical foundations. Read the full State of the Hill Country Op-ed from Francine Romero.
March 29, 2022
Open Space is the Key to Keep the Hill Country Thriving
Anyone who is familiar with the natural areas of the Texas Hill Country will attest to their beauty and wondrous nature. Crystal clear spring-fed streams, steep canyons and bluffs, majestic forests, and wildflower-laden savannas dotted with oak trees are common sites in this region. These lands boast long and distinctive histories, beginning with Indigenous peoples living off the land and its abundant wildlife and establishing sacred sites at the springs. Since then, many early Texans settled here, and there are still countless farms and ranches under the same family ownership, as well as those who moved here more recently to cherish the land’s beauty and recreational value. These original stewards ensured the richness of the land would remain for future generations. Read the full State of the Hill Country Op-ed from Frank Davis.
March 30, 2022
Healthy Creeks Initiative Online Information Session planned for April 13th
On Wednesday, April 13th, from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, community members can learn about non-native, invasive plants that are encroaching on local creek banks as well as some resources available to landowners for controlling these plants effectively to improve creek and river health. Since 2016, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Hill Country Alliance (HCA), and other organizations have partnered with volunteering landowners through the Healthy Creeks Initiative to enhance the creek-side (or riparian) habitat along Barons Creek, Town Creek, and other portions of the Pedernales River Basin. Controlling Arundo, commonly called giant reed or carrizo cane, has been a major focus of the Healthy Creek Initiative. Arundo, which has a cane-like stem that looks similar to bamboo, is a highly invasive, non-native grass that can grow more than 25 feet tall. Read the full media release.
March 24, 2022
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) is proud to announce the first annual Spring Water Revival – a month long, springtime celebration of water in the Hill Country. Throughout April, we will dive into the many ways water revives our communities, spirits, and our hope for the future through programming that focuses on education, outreach, and action. Join us for events, activities, and news celebrating the Hill Country’s water—one of our most precious resources. After ten years hosting the Rainwater Revival – a family-friendly, one-day event – the Hill Country Alliance is excited to expand beyond rainwater and highlight the many ways water revives, renews, and reconnects us with community and place. Read the full media release.
March 17, 2022
Hill Country Alliance 16th annual photo contest: Snapshot of the Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is changing. The scenic beauty and abundant natural resources that have brought folks to Central Texas for thousands of years are at risk of being loved to death. As a recently released report from the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network stresses, the window of opportunity to protect and sustain the Hill Country’s natural treasures will likely close within our generation. This report shows a brief impression – a snapshot – of life in the Hill Country that embodies what we have and what we stand to lose. When you look at the Hill Country, what do you see? This spring, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) calls on anyone with a camera to share your view of our changing region in the 16th annual Hill Country Photo Contest, “Snapshot of the Hill Country.” Read the full media release.
March 15, 2022
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 Counties with 176% growth. These are three of the five fastest growing counties in the entire United States. In Kendall County, the City of Boerne has enacted an award-winning Unified Development Code to address the negative impacts of development on the natural environment. As an incorporated area, the city has the authority to implement low impact development solutions that address stormwater pollution, preserve the night sky, ensure parkland dedication, protect heritage trees, and safeguard groundwater recharge features. Read the full State of the Hill Country Op-ed from Ben Eldredge.
March 2, 2022
New Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape Seeks to Strengthen Military Readiness, Natural Resource Conservation, and Agricultural Productivity
San Antonio, Texas – One of the nation’s newest Sentinel Landscape recognitions has been awarded to the area surrounding Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis. The national recognition, the first ever in Texas, will open significant new financial resources to protect military readiness, enhance agricultural productivity, and advance conservation in a multi-county region. Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) provides training opportunities for 266 mission partners. “The 266 missions at JBSA contribute over $41 billion to the Texas economy annually,” said Diane Rath, Executive Director of the Alamo Area Council of Governments (Alamo Area COG). “Every medic from all four branches of services train at Camp Bullis. In addition, the field training for many of the missions cannot be duplicated.” Read the full media release.
February 28, 2022
State of the Hill Country Report Reveals Threats to the Region
DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — Booming population growth and sprawling development, groundwater depletion, changing climate patterns, extreme droughts and floods, and a unique set of policy challenges threaten the natural resources that define the Hill County region—resources on which millions of people rely. A recently released report from the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network (THCCN) sets a baseline for eight key metrics to examine the current state of conservation and growth in the Hill Country. What it reveals is a region at a crossroads, facing tremendous threats to its future. Read the full media release.
November 18, 2021
Federal Infrastructure Funding, New Local Resources Offer a Historic Opportunity to Build a Water-Secure Future for the Texas Hill Country
The passage of the federal infrastructure package will deliver more than $2.9 billion for water infrastructure improvements in Texas. When combined with the recent release of a Hill Country-specific guide to integrated water planning, Central Texas faces a pivotal moment in ensuring the fast-growing Hill Country builds a more sustainable water future. “The Texas Hill Country is home to three of the top five fastest growing counties in the U.S.,” said Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance and co-author of the new guidebook. “A business-as-usual approach to development–with its associated high demands on limited water resources–spells disaster for the future of our region. Now is the time to invest in system upgrades, build water-smart, and engage in community-based, conservation-focused water management. The future of our economies, our quality of life, and our Hill Country depends on it. Read the full media release.
October 21, 2021
2021 Hill Country photo contest winners announced & 2022 Calendar for sale!
The Texas Hill Country is a unique region filled with diverse wildlife, clear springs, sprawling rural landscapes, historic towns, and some of the starriest night skies in the country. With a rapidly growing population and increasing development coming into the region, many of these special qualities are at risk of being lost forever. Each year the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) holds a photo contest encouraging photographers to capture images of the Texas Hill Country they would like to protect forever. Winning photo contest entries are then selected and displayed in the Hill Country Calendar, now available for purchase on the Hill Country Alliance website. Read the full media release.
August 20, 2021
AgriLife, Hill Country Alliance, and Gillespie County Partners Host Kolaches and Conservation Event
On Tuesday, September 14th, the Gillespie County AgriLife Extension and partners will host the annual “Kolaches and Conservation” event at the Extension Office from 8:30 am – 10:30 am. This informal event encourages landowners who have questions about wildlife habitat, trees, riparian management, soil health, farming, ranching, and controlling non-native, invasive plants to stop by and talk with officials from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Forest Service, the Gillespie County Soil & Water Conservation District, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hill Country Alliance, and Pheasants Forever. Read the full media release.
July 1, 2021
Healthy Creeks Initiative Underway
This month, contractors will begin the annual control efforts to manage Arundo along the Pedernales River and several tributary creeks. Arundo, also referred to as Giant Reed or Carrizo Cane, is a non-native, invasive plant that can take over creeks and rivers. Since 2016, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), Hill Country Alliance (HCA), City of Fredericksburg, and other organizations have partnered with volunteering landowners through the Healthy Creeks Initiative to control Arundo and enhance the creek-side (or riparian) habitat along Barons Creek, Town Creek, and other portions of the Pedernales River Basin primarily upstream of Johnson City. Read the full media release.
March 23, 2021
Hill Country Alliance 15th annual photo contest kicks off
The last year has been unimaginably difficult for so many of us. We have missed milestones and family members, traded neighborly potlucks for Zooms, and seen our worlds upended time and again. Through it all, the rugged beauty of the Hill Country has been restorative, offering calm and solace in a growing din of uncertainty. For the 15th annual Hill Country photo contest, HCA asks photographers to take out their cameras and share their view of “Solace and Strength: Portraits of Resilience in the Texas Hill Country.” Read the full media release.
March 16, 2021
Axis Deer Project Wraps Up
Hill Country Alliance, Texas Tech University’s Department of Natural Resources Management, and partners are grateful to the land stewards that supported the Axis Deer Control Project. Tissue samples will be used to understand the ecology and population dynamics of free-range Axis deer in the Hill Country. Axis deer are an exotic species that were introduced from India to the Texas Hill Country in the 1930s. Since their introduction, Axis deer have proliferated, adversely impacting agricultural production, native wildlife, and creek-side habitat in several Hill Country river basins. Read the full media release.
January 27, 2021
Partners Launch Axis Deer Control Project in Texas Hill Country
The Hill Country Alliance, Texas Tech University’s Department of Natural Resources Management, and partners have launched the 2021 Axis Deer Control Project and are encouraging landowners and hunters to participate. Axis deer are an exotic species that were introduced from India to the Texas Hill Country in the 1930s. Since their introduction, this species has proliferated in several portions of the Hill Country, adversely impacting agricultural production, native wildlife, and riparian, or creek-side, habitat. The goals of the Axis Deer Control Project are to raise awareness about the impacts of free-ranging Axis deer, recognize land stewards for their efforts to control this exotic species, and support research that will improve control efforts. Read the full media release.
November 19, 2020
2020 Hill Country photo contest winners announced
The Texas Hill Country is a unique region filled with diverse wildlife, clear springs, sprawling rural landscapes, historic towns, and some of the starriest night skies in the country. With a rapidly growing population and increasing development coming into the region, many of these special qualities are at risk of being lost forever. Each year the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) holds a photo contest encouraging photographers to capture images of the Texas Hill Country they would like to protect forever. Winning photo contest entries are then selected and displayed in the Hill Country Calendar, now available for purchase on the Hill Country Alliance website. Read the full media release.
October 13, 2020
Hill Country Living FESTIVAL + Rainwater Revival goes Virtual!
The annual Hill Country Living FESTIVAL + Rainwater Revival goes spectacularly virtual on Saturday, October 24. While a live, in-person FESTIVAL event is not possible this year, the Hill Country Alliance, along with its dedicated sponsors and partners, offers the next-best-thing—an online experience that continues to celebrate the collection of rainwater, the conservation of natural resources, and a common-sense approach to living lightly and sustainably in the Texas Hill County. Mark your calendar and register now at Rainwater Revival.com! Read the full media release.
September 8, 2020
Mark your calendars – First-annual Hill Country Night Sky Month happening in October
This October, celebrate the night sky all month long during the Hill Country Alliance’s inaugural Hill Country Night Sky Month! Created to bring awareness to the importance of night sky preservation in the Texas Hill Country, Hill Country Night Sky Month will feature events and activities across the Hill Country for night sky lovers of all ages. Read the full media release.
July 17, 2020
Healthy Creeks Initiative Underway
Contractors will soon begin the annual control efforts to manage Arundo along the Pedernales River and several tributary creeks. Arundo, also referred to as Giant Reed or Carrizo Cane, is a non-native, invasive plant that can take over creeks and rivers. Since 2016, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), Hill Country Alliance (HCA), City of Fredericksburg, and other organizations have partnered with participating landowners through the Healthy Creeks Initiative to control Arundo and enhance the creek-side (or riparian) habitat along Barons Creek, Town Creek, and other portions of the Pedernales River Basin. Read the full media release.
March 25, 2020
Hill Country Alliance 14th annual photo contest kicks off
The Texas Hill Country is a unique region of pristine springs, sprawling landscapes, diverse wildlife, star-filled skies, multi-generational land stewards, historic towns, and hidden oases. With a rapidly growing population and increasing development coming into the region, many of these special qualities are at risk of being lost forever. For the 14th annual Hill Country photo contest, HCA asks photographers to take out their cameras and focus on “The Wild and Wonderful Texas Hill Country.” Read the full media release.
March 12, 2020
Important Update: Hill Country Living FESTIVAL Rescheduled for October 24, 2020
Considering recent developments pertaining to COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Hill Country Alliance FESTIVAL planning team decided yesterday to RESCHEDULE the 4/4/20 Hill Country Living FESTIVAL + Rainwater Revival to SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2020. We have been closely following public health guidelines from local, regional, and state authorities and have watched as numerous cities and counties nearby have reacted accordingly. We believe this decision is in the best interest of our volunteers, vendors, partners, and the public. Read the full media release.
February 28, 2020
Festival in Dripping Springs Celebrates Hill Country Living
The Hill Country Living FESTIVAL + Rainwater Revival returns to the Dripping Spring Ranch Park on Saturday, April 4, from 10am to 5pm. This free, one-day event promises something for everyone who loves the Texas Hill Country — whether you call it home now, plan to make it home in the future, or just like to visit and play here. The Hill Country Alliance (HCA), FESTIVAL planner and host, has once again packed the day with fun things to do and good things to learn about living lightly in our precious Hill Country. In 2020 we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Rainwater Revival with attractions that include a green living Vendor Hall, a Hill Country Marketplace for artists and artisans, a native plant sale, exhibits and demonstrations from the Texas Night Sky Festival® team, and numerous opportunities to learn more about land stewardship, wildlife management, water conservation, renewable energy, green home building, sustainable products, and more. Read the full media release.
January 29, 2020
Comal Workshop to Provide Landowners with Information on Conservation Programs that Create a Family Land Legacy
On Friday, February 21, the Comal County Conservation Alliance and partners will host a landowner workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Anhalt Dance Hall, 2390 Anhalt Road, Spring Branch, TX 78070. The one-day workshop will highlight conservation easements and how they can help provide a family land legacy, the role of land trust organizations, wildlife and open space valuation, financial tools/resources available, and a panel discussion with landowners. Many landowners are concerned about conserving those special natural features and the agricultural heritage of their family-owned property. This seminar is designed to provide farmers, ranchers and other landowners with effective tools and resources to help them address issues inherent to passing family land on to future generations. Read the full media release.
January 28, 2020
Regional Impacts of Free-range Axis Deer
In September, Gillespie County AgriLife Extension and the Hill Country Alliance launched the Axis Deer Control Project, with a goal to raise awareness about the impacts of free-ranging Axis deer, support research that will improve management, and recognize land stewards for their efforts to control this exotic deer.Axis deer are an exotic species that were introduced from India to the Texas Hill Country in the 1930s. Since their introduction, Axis deer have proliferated, adversely impacting agricultural production, native wildlife, and creek-side habitat in several Hill Country river basins. Read the full media release.
November 22, 2019
Hill Country Photo Contest Winners Announced
The Texas Hill Country is a unique region filled with diverse wildlife, clear springs, sprawling rural landscapes, historic towns, and some of the starriest night skies in the country. Each year the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) holds a photo contest encouraging photographers to capture the Texas Hill Country they would like to protect forever. HCA received over 300 entries in the 2019 photo contest from amateur and professional photographers alike. Submissions, ranging from the starry sky over Enchanted Rock, to a stately Bald Eagle in Boerne and the brilliant beauty of fall on the Frio, encapsulated this year’s theme: The Hill Country: Capturing the Color and Character of the Heart of Texas. Read the full media release.
September 3, 2019
Hill Country Alliance, AgriLife, and Gillespie County Partners Host Kolaches and Conservation Event
On Tuesday, September 17th, the Gillespie County AgriLife Extension and partners will host the second “Kolaches and Conservation” event at the Extension Office from 8:30 am – 10:30 am. This informal event encourages landowners who have questions about wildlife habitat, trees, riparian management, the hunting season, soil health, farming, ranching, and controlling non-native, invasive plants and animals to stop by and talk with officials from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Forest Service, the Gillespie County Soil & Water Conservation District, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Hill Country Alliance. Read the full media release.
July 24, 2019
Boerne Workshop Provides Landowners with Information on Conservation Easements and Open Space and Wildlife Valuation
The Cibolo Conservancy Land Trust is hosting a landowner workshop from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, August 16, 2019, at the Cibolo Nature Center Auditorium, 140 City Park Road, Boerne, TX 78006. This workshop will focus on conservation easements and open space and wildlife valuation. Conservation easements —a tool available to help landowners steward and protect their land investment in the long term — are one of the most flexible and effective means to protect private property. A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that ensures a property will forever be conserved according to the landowner’s wishes. No public access is required. This agreement is negotiated between the landowner and the land trust organization which is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the terms of the conservation easement agreement. Read the full media release.
April 29, 2019
Healthy Creeks Initiative BBQ and Information Session planned for May 2nd
On Thursday, May 2nd, from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at the Gillespie County AgriLife Extension Office, community members can learn about non-native, invasive plants that are encroaching on local creek banks as well as some resources available to landowners for controlling these plants effectively to improve creek and river health. Since 2016, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), Hill Country Alliance (HCA), City of Fredericksburg, and other organizations have partnered with volunteering landowners through the Healthy Creeks Initiative to enhance the creek-side (or riparian) habitat along Barons Creek, Town Creek, and other portions of the Pedernales River Basin. Read the full media release.
April 5, 2019
Texas Public Radio to broadcast an exclusive interview on the Permian Highway Pipeline
Tune in to Texas Public Radio for streaming of the 2019 legislative edition of the Texas Water Symposium special broadcast as your local legislators discuss pressing challenges that confront Texas and the Hill Country. Property rights and natural resources dominate the event captured by Texas Public Radio at the State Capitol as Representatives Andrew Murr, Vikki Goodwin, and Kyle Biedermann’s environmental policy specialist Larry Bailey discuss topics ranging from the 42-inch Kinder-Morgan Permian Highway Oil and Gas Pipeline currently under construction, proliferating sand and gravel mines, state parks, and sewage discharges into our clean streams and rivers. Read the full media release.
March 11, 2019
Texas Water Symposium will feature Hill Country Representatives discussing emergent water issues in the 86th Legislature
Celebrate over 10 years of the Texas Water Symposium as our Hill Country State Representatives discuss emergent water and natural resource issues facing our region, and solutions being discussed at the Capitol. The program, titled “Water and the 2019 Legislative Session: The Outlook for Hill Country Water Resources,” will be held at 7pm on Thursday, March 28 at the Texas Capitol room E1.014 in Austin, Texas. Read the full media release.
February 28, 2019
Saving Family Lands: A Workshop for Landowners
The Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA) and the Hill Country Alliance co-hosted the workshop, “Saving Family Lands: Tools for Landowners in Comal County,” on February 15, 2019 at the Anhalt Dance Hall in Spring Branch, Texas. The one-day workshop, which highlighted financial and conservation tools available to rural landowners in fast-growing Hill Country counties, attracted ninety attendees. The workshop was designed to provide farmers, ranchers, and other landowners with effective tools and resources to help them address issues inherent in passing family land on to future generations. Read the full media release.
November 7, 2018
Texas Water Symposium will examine wastewater in Hill Country creeks and rivers
Join the Hill Country Alliance for a conversation about how man-made infrastructure can influence flooding in Hill Country creeks and rivers at 7pm on Thursday, November 15th. The program, titled The future of flooding in Texas: How do we protect life and property in the face of extreme weather events? will be held at the Texas State University Teaching Theater in San Marcos, Texas and will feature representatives from the Texas Water Development Board, San Antonio River Authority, United States Geological Survey, and Halff Associates engineering and architecture firm. This event is free and open to the public. Read the full media release.
October 8, 2018
Hill Country Living FESTIVAL Planned for Dripping Springs
The Hill Country Living + Rainwater Revival FESTIVAL returns to the Dripping Spring Ranch Park on Saturday, October 20, from 10am to 5pm. This free, one-day event promises something for everyone who loves the Texas Hill Country – whether you live there now, plan a move in the future, or visit often. The Hill Country Alliance (HCA), FESTIVAL planner, has packed the day with fun things to do and good things to learn about living lightly in our precious Hill Country. Read the full media release.
August 28, 2018
Hill Country Photo Contest Winners Announced
HCA received over 500 entries to the 2018 photo contest from amateur and professional photographers alike. Submissions, ranging from a bolt of lightning cutting across a star-filled sky, to a stately windmill on a sprawling ranch and an evening paddle through Blue Hole, beautifully captured this year’s theme: The Texas Hill Country: The Place and its People. Read the full media release
May 23, 2018
Texas Water Symposium will discuss “One Water” and how it can provide water for future needs
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Texas Water Symposium with a conversation about emerging water management techniques called “One Water” at 7pm on Wednesday, May 30th. The program, titled “What is “One Water” and can it meet the future water needs of a growing Hill Country?” will be held at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg, Texas and will feature representatives from the cities of Fredericksburg, Boerne, and experts on the implementation of One Water in Texas. This event is free and open to the public. Read full media release
April 31, 2018
Texas Water Symposium will explore “Ecosystem Services,” their function, and the money they save taxpayers
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Texas Water Symposium with an evening discussion about “Ecosystem Services” and the value of healthy lands and waters to all Texans. This installment of the Texas Water Symposium will take place at 7pm on Thursday, May 10th. The program, titled Ecosystem Services: how we can help preserve and protect our natural assets, will be held at the Texas Tech University Field Station in Junction, Texas. The Texas Water Symposium is free and open to the public. Read full media release
March 26, 2018
Burnet workshop provides information to landowners on conservation easements
The Hill Country Conservancy and the Hill Country Alliance are joining forces to host a landowner workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, April 20, 2018, at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office, 607 N. Vandeveer, Burnet, TX 78611. This workshop will focus on conservation easements—a tool available to help landowners steward and protect their land investment and family legacy for the long term. Read full media release
March 23, 2018
Pioneer Youth Leaders Taking on Dark Sky in Mason
In Mason, the students of the Pioneers Youth Leadership program have taken on Dark Sky Preservation as a focus for sharpening their leadership skills in their community. Working with their teacher Megan Bierschwale, Hill Country Alliance (HCA) Night Sky Program Manager Cliff Kaplan, and HCA Night Sky volunteer and Texas Master Naturalist Bridget Langdale, these students will write newspaper articles, give public presentations, host public star parties, improve the outdoor lighting at their school, and help business owners similarly improve their outdoor lighting. These activities will help preserve the starry skies over Mason for the next generation. Read full media release
March 21, 2018
Pipes, People, Pavement, and the Future of Water in the Hill Country
Join us on Wednesday, April 4 for the Kent Butler Summit with the theme “Pipes, People, Pavement, and the Future of Water in the Hill Country.”
The population of the I-35 corridor has nearly doubled in the last 25 years and is projected to do the same in the next 25. This summit brings together scientists and policy-makers to share information and address the challenges and innovations in the management of our regional water supplies. Read full media release
March 13, 2018
Hill Country Alliance 12th annual photo contest kicks off
Theme of contest is “The Texas Hill Country: The Place and Its People.” The Texas Hill Country is a unique region of scenic beauty, diverse wildlife, star-filled skies, and historic towns. With a rapidly growing population and increasing development coming to the region, many of these special qualities are at risk of being lost forever. For their 12th annual photography contest, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) asks photographers to take out their cameras and capture what is unique and special about the Texas Hill Country that they would like to conserve. Read full media release
January 31, 2018
Schools in Mason and Center Point Win Rainwater Revival Grants to Fund Water Conservation Projects
Managers of the Rainwater Revival School Grant Program were happily overwhelmed with 6 grant applications from Hill Country schools this year. Though all projects had merit, the three judges made difficult choices and picked two deserving high schools in Mason and Center Point to receive a combined $4,000 of grant funds. Read full media release
December 21, 2017
Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Offers Exceptional Opportunity to Help Wildlife and Business in Texas and the Hill Country
With fish and wildlife populations under increasing pressure in Texas and throughout the country, Texans are hailing a new opportunity to reverse this trend. House bill 4647, known as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, would provide $1.3 billion annually from existing federal revenues for state-led projects to improve and restore fish and wildlife habitats, without any increase in taxes. This federal legislation represents a once in a generation opportunity to modernize conservation funding, provide more regulatory certainty for business and industries, repair the nation’s ecological infrastructure, and change the course of history for thousands of at-risk fish and wildlife species. Read full media release
November 30, 2017
Can Rainwater Harvesting bring water security to the Hill Country? Boerne’s upcoming Texas Water Symposium will discuss innovative rainwater use as an alternative to skyrocketing water costs
Declining aquifer levels and the rapidly rising cost of water supply and management has prompted suppliers, builders, and homeowners across the region to turn to alternative sources of water. As we look to a long-term future of increasing population growth and demand on groundwater resources, how can individuals, businesses, and cities create sustainable water supply in innovative ways? How can we incentivize water independence and conservation? Read full media release
November 10, 2017
Wild and Scenic Film Festival Screening Planned for Fredericksburg
The Wild and Scenic Film Festival, the nation’s premier environmental film festival, is returning to the Texas Hill Country this fall with screening events the whole family will enjoy. The theme of the festival will be “Celebrating Hill Country Rivers,” and the featured films will celebrate individuals and communities coming together and taking action for the protection and restoration of our natural resources. Read full media release
November 9, 2017
Students Work to Enhance Habitat along Comanche Creek
On Tuesday, November 7th, students from Mason High School spent the day along Comanche Creek at Fort Mason City Park. As part of the School District’s Blue-Ribbon Service Day, these five students learned about the importance of creek-side (riparian) systems, and the negative impacts of non-native, invasive plants such as Chinaberry trees. Read full media release
October 11, 2017
Texas Water Symposium will discuss climate, water, and the future of Central Texas
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Texas Water Symposium and the opening of the 2017-2018 season with a conversation about climate change and the future of water in Central Texas at 7pm on Thursday, November 9th. The program, titled Climate and Water in Central Texas: Planning for a Changing Resource, will be held at the Schreiner University Cailloux Campus Activity Center Ballroom in Kerrville, Texas. Texas Water Symposium is free and open to the public. Read full media release
October 6, 2017
Festival Will Celebrate the Joy and Beauty of Hill Country Living
The Rainwater Revival + Hill Country Living Festival, an annual event of the Hill Country Alliance, returns to the Dripping Spring Ranch Park on Saturday, November 4, from 10am to 5pm. The festival is free, family friendly, and promises plenty to do and see for all ages and all who love the Hill Country. This event is a major expansion from the past seven years of the Rainwater Revival, now with a broader focus on living lightly, recreating responsibly, and loving the land in our beautiful Texas Hill Country. Read full media release
September 29, 2017
2017 Hill Country Alliance Leadership Summit Draws Crowd with Message of Inclusion and Storytelling
On September 21st, conservation leaders from across the Texas Hill Country met at Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs for the Hill Country Alliance’s Annual Leadership Summit. The event theme, From Local to Regional: The Shared Story of the Texas Hill Country, brought together more than 190 participants to learn about conservation strategies such as collaboration and story-telling to solve complex natural resource problems. Read full media release
September 26, 2017
2018 Texas Hill Country Calendar features winners of annual Hill Country Alliance Photo Contest
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) recently released their 11th Texas Hill Country Calendar. Once again, the HCA calendar pairs stunning imagery of incredible Hill Country scenes with important messages about why we must actively work to protect and preserve all that we know and love about this region. Read full media release
September 15, 2017
Wild and Scenic Film Festival screenings planned for Kerrville and Mason
The Wild and Scenic Film Festival, the nation’s premier environmental film festival, is coming to the
Texas Hill Country this fall with three screening events the whole family will enjoy. The theme of the festivals will be “Celebrating Hill Country Rivers,” and the featured films will celebrate individuals and communities coming
together and taking action for the protection and restoration of our natural resources. Read full media release
September 7, 2017
Rainwater Revival Calls for Grant Applications from Hill Country Schools
As Texas Hill Country residents and businesses look for ways to conserve water, the Hill Country Alliance’s Rainwater Revival School Grant Program lends a helping hand to schools throughout the 17-county region. HCA is now taking applications from schools that want to implement or enhance rainwater collection and water conservation programs on their campuses. So far our grant program has supported 17 schools set up or continue their water conservation education programs. Read full media release
August 10, 2017
Volunteers clean up South Llano River
Yes, the usual beer cans and bits of plastic were found. But so too were diapers, hygiene products, and a rotted chair. On Friday, August 4th intrepid volunteers from the Texas Master Naturalist Program met with the Llano River Watershed Alliance, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and Hill Country Alliance to clean up a portion of the South Llano River south of Junction, Texas. Read full media release
August 2, 2017
Boerne workshop will provide landowners with information on conservation easements
The Cibolo Conservancy Land Trust, in partnership with the Hill Country Alliance, is hosting a landowner workshop from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, August 25, 2017, at the Cibolo Nature Center Auditorium, 140 City Park Road, Boerne, TX 78006. This workshop will focus on conservation easements—a tool available to help landowners steward and protect their land investment in the long term. Read full media release
July 31, 2017
Volunteers improve creek-side habitat at Fort Mason City Park
If you have walked along the nature trail at Fort Mason City Park recently, you may have noticed something new. Something pink. Last week, volunteers from the Texas Master Naturalist Program joined staff from Fort Mason City Park and the Hill Country Alliance to discuss the adverse impacts of non-native, invasive plants to the local ecology, economy, and public safety. Read full media release
July 14, 2017
Volunteers Work to Protect Native Trees Along South Llano River
On Sunday, July 9th, volunteers from the Texas Master Naturalist Program joined staff from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Llano River Watershed Alliance, Hill Country Alliance, and Texas Tech University Field Station at the South Llano River State Park in Junction. The team worked together to identify native tree saplings and install caging around them, to protect them from deer and other browsing animals. Read full media release
June 12, 2017
Volunteers and Partners Work to Control Invasive Chinaberry Trees Along Llano River
On Monday, June 12th, volunteers joined staff from the Hill Country Alliance and Native American Seed at the Texas Tech University (TTU) Llano River Field Station in Junction, Texas. There, they set fort an ambitious goal: control the more than 100 Chinaberry trees that are quickly spreading their footprint along the Llano River at the TTU field station. Read full media release
May 31, 2017
17 Hill Country Communities Represented at Regional Dark Sky Conference in Fredericksburg
There are more community efforts to preserve the night sky in the Hill Country than there are in any other similarly sized region on earth.” That was the message from Dr. John Barentine, Program Manager for the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), at the Hill Country Dark Sky Conference in Fredericksburg on Friday, May 19th. “And, as this region grows, these efforts will pay off in a higher quality of life, energy savings, increased tourism, and a night sky worthy of our children’s wonder. But we must continue our efforts to enjoy these benefits in the future.” Read full media release
May 10, 2017
Rainwater Revival Calls for Grant Applications from Hill Country Schools
As Texas Hill Country residents and businesses look for ways to conserve water, the Hill Country Alliance’s Rainwater Revival School Grant Program lends a helping hand to schools throughout the 17-county region. HCA is now taking applications from schools that want to implement or enhance rainwater collection and water conservation programs on their campuses. So far our grant program has supported 17 schools set up or continue their water conservation education programs. The deadline for applications for grants to be used during the 2017-2018 school year is Friday, September 15, 2017. Read full media release
March 28, 2017
Texas Water Symposium planned for April 27 in Fredericksburg: Invasive Species Impacts On Water Resources, Economics and Ecosystems
The final Texas Water Symposium of the 2016-2017 school year has been set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 27th at the Texas Tech Hill Country University Center, Fredericksburg, Texas. The Texas Water Symposium is free and open to the public. Join our panel in a discussion of potential costs of invasive species to native wildlife and infrastructure, approaching threats, and the most effective ways for Hill Country boaters, ranchers and landowner to protect our waterways. Read full media release
January 16, 2017
Exciting new leadership within HCA board to start 2017
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) announced the appointment of a new member to its board of directors, Dr. Francine S. Romero. HCA also announced the appointment of Judge Garry Merritt of Real County as board president, taking over for Dr. Leo Tynan of Fredericksburg who served as board president for two years. Read full media release
January 13, 2017
Hill Country workshop provides landowners with information on conservation easements
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is hosting a landowner workshop from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, February 10, 2017, at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area, Bass Conference Facility, 138 Kerr WMA Rd W, Hunt, TX 78024. This workshop will focus on conservation easements—a tool available to help landowners steward and protect their land investment in the long term. Read full media release
October 26, 2016
Rainwater Revival Agenda Now Set: Speakers to Bring Messages of Free, Easy, Dependable Water
The annual Rainwater Revival is the largest gathering of rainwater harvesting businesses and contractors in the state. Now in its 7th year, the Revival continues to evangelize the message of delicious water that comes free from the sky and is so easy to capture, store and use for home or garden. The Rainwater Revival, ever popular with homeowners and businesses alike, is free, family-friendly and set for Saturday, November 5, 10am to 4pm at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park. The covered event center near Dripping Springs will be a-buzz with more than 50 vendors, exhibitors, food trucks, live music at noon, the Raindrop Stop for kids, and a line-up of speakers who will bring their passion and expertise for rainwater harvesting to the stage. Read full media release
Texas Water Symposium planned for November 10th in Austin: 2017 Legislative Outlook: Population Growth and Groundwater Management
The Texas Legislature will be convening in 2017 and one of the most important issues they will consider is the management of our state’s groundwater resources. With the population of Texas projected to double by the year 2050, how can the state meet growing water demands with limited resources? How do we balance established agricultural, municipal and industrial production demands, while continuing to ensure water for rural landowners, small communities, rivers, and downstream users? Read full media release
October 11, 2016
Rainwater Revival Raises Funds for School Grants
A good place to learn about the many benefits of rainwater harvesting is at the 7th annual RAINWATER REVIVAL to be held Saturday, November 5, from 10am to 4pm at Dripping Springs Ranch Park in Dripping Springs, Texas. This year, for the first time, a RAFFLE of “all things Hill Country” is in place to raise funds for the HCA School Grant program. The online raffle, RainwaterRevivalRaffle.com, ends Friday, November 4, but tickets will be available for purchase at the RAINWATER REVIVAL on November 5. Raffle winners, who need not be present to win, will be drawn and announced during the RAINWATER REVIVAL in Dripping Springs. Read full media release
October 7, 2016
Emily Warren, Associate Director at Meadows Center, Joins Hill Country Alliance Board of Directors
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is proud to announce that Emily Warren, a water resources expert with more than 15 years of experience in the public sector, recently joined as the newest member to the HCA Board of Directors. Warren is currently the Associate Director for the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, a research and education center dedicated to inspiring leadership and research that ensures clean, abundant water for the environment and all humanity. She also serves as the Operations Director for a nonprofit organization, United4Iran, that focuses on using technology to engage citizens in advancing their civil liberties. Read full media release
October 3, 2016
2017 Texas Hill Country Calendar Available for Sale: Photo Contest Winners Announced
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) recently released their 10th Texas Hill Country Calendar. Once again, the HCA calendar pairs stunning imagery of incredible Hill Country scenes with important messages about why we must actively work to protect and preserve all that we know and love about this region. The calendar addresses issues including groundwater resource protection, native pollinators, land conservation, land stewardship, and night sky protection. HCA hopes their calendar will inspire people to learn more and become involved in the issues important to keeping the natural resources of this beautiful and fragile region intact. Read full media release
August 1, 2016
Texas Water Symposium Planned for September 1st in Kerrville – How Micro-Flora & Fauna Contribute to Water Quality
The first Texas Water Symposium of 2016-2017 season has been set for 7 pm to 8:30 pm on Thursday September 1st at Schreiner University’s Cailloux Campus Activity Center Ballroom in Kerrville, Texas. The program will feature a conversation between leading biology experts about the effect that micro-organisms have on Hill Country streams and rivers. Read full media release
July 28, 2016
On the Edge of Night: Preserving the night skies of the Texas Hill Country
Bill Wren recalls how fascinated he was by the night sky when he was a child. “I remember many evenings lying in the grass looking up at the stars and wondering about the world beyond my immediate surroundings.” A veteran astronomer at the McDonald Observatory, Wren is concerned that children of future generations may not be able to experience the wonder of a brilliant starry sky because of light pollution. “In the United States, three-quarters of the population live in and around major cities where they can’t see the Milky Way,” Wren said. “Naturally dark night skies are vanishing and becoming really hard to find.” Read full media release
June 28, 2016
Katherine Romans selected as Executive Director of Hill Country Alliance
The Board of Directors of the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is proud to announce the selection of Katherine Romans to serve as full-time executive director of HCA. The selection was made after a nationwide search. Katherine will fill the vacancy created when founding HCA executive director, Christy Muse, departed in February to join the Shield Ranch. “We could not be happier to have Katherine step into the role of Executive Director,” said Dr. Leo Tynan, President of the HCA board of directors and chair of the search committee. “With her unique insight into the organization’s history, mission and culture, Katherine is in a perfect position to seize this opportunity to bring a transformational change to HCA and the region.” Read full media release
May 4, 2016
Texas Water Symposium – Economic and Conservation Perspectives on Protected Species
The second Texas Water Symposium of 2016 has been set for May 18th at the Llano River Field Station at Texas Tech University in Junction. The program will feature a conversation between leading biology experts about endangered species on the Hill Country’s rivers. The symposium will take place from 7 pm to 8:30 pm on Wednesday, May 18 in the Packard Hall North building at Texas Tech Junction, Junction, TX. The Texas Water Symposium is free and open to the public. Parking is available on campus. Read full media release
April 6, 2016
Hill Country Workshop provides landowners with information on conservation easements
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust (GBRT) are hosting a landowner workshop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 13, 2016, at the Upper Guadalupe River Authority Lecture Hall, 125 Lehmann Drive, Suite 100 Kerrville, Texas 78028. This workshop will focus on conservation easements—a tool available to help landowners steward and protect their land investment in the long term. Read full media release
March 9, 2016
Rainwater Revival Calls for Grant Applications from Hill Country Schools
As Texas Hill Country residents and businesses look for ways to conserve water, the Hill Country Alliance’s (HCA) Rainwater Revival grants lend a helping hand to schools throughout the 17-county region. HCA is now taking applications through May 2 from schools that want to implement or enhance rainwater collection and water conservation programs on their campuses. Read full media release
February 29, 2016
Hill Country Alliance Call for Photos Begins March 1
The annual Hill Country Alliance photography contest poses a thematic question for this year’s participants: What are the contrasts you see in your day-to-day life in the Texas Hill Country? Read full media release
January 21, 2016
Regional Experts Recommend Ways to Protect the Texas Hill Country While Supporting State Growth
New strategies for protecting the Texas Hill Country came out of a recently published study by regional planning experts and graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. The study addresses threats to water resources, scenic beauty and cultural heritage in the face of rapid population growth in the region. Read full media release
January 4, 2016
Senate Candidate Forum set Jan. 27 in Fredericksburg
Seven candidates running for the Texas Senate District 24 seat of retiring Troy Fraser will take part in a forum from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27 at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg. A welcome will begin at 6 p.m. Ross Ramsey, executive editor and co-founder of the online media outlet Texas Tribune, will moderate the forum. Read full media release
December 14, 2015
Pride, Passion and Vision in the Texas Hill Country
In this guest post on the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation blog, Christy Muse explores some of the most fundamental threats landowners in the Hill Country face. In a region where private property rights are often held up as the rule of the land, we are increasingly seeing private property owners facing industrial sand and gravel mines, large developments and associated sewage disposals, unregulated groundwater withdrawals and large infrastructure projects — right on their fence lines. Christy lays out the 5 critical actions that must be taken to protect this region into the future. Read full media release
November 2, 2015
Art Barrel Auction Goes Online for Good Cause
Artists from around the Hill Country have once again donated their time and talent turning 55-gallon drums into beautiful functional works of art for the 2015 Rainwater Revival and the Hill Country Alliance’s School Grant Program. Starting on November 1, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is conducting an online auction of four “art barrels” with all proceeds funding grants to local schools for rainwater harvesting projects and water conservation education. Read full media release
October 22, 2015
Rainwater Revival Celebrates 6th Year
The Rainwater Revival is back in Dripping Springs for its 6th Anniversary to be held on Saturday, Nov 7, at Dripping Springs Ranch Park. The popular, annual event is part festival, part educational series, and always a celebration of the ease, sweet taste, and wisdom of harvesting rainwater. Read full media release
October 9, 2015
Texas Water Symposium – The San Antonio/Vista Ridge Pipeline: Regional Considerations of a Potential Municipal Water Supply Project
An upcoming Texas Water Symposium, set for October 21 in San Antonio will take a close look at the SAWS/Vista Ridge pipeline project. The program will feature a conversation about the regional, financial and ecological considerations of the 142-mile pipeline. Read full media release
October 9, 2015
Film addresses lessons and future strategies following Blanco River flood
The Texas Hill Country, known as “Flash Flood Alley”, is a semi-arid region known for extended periods of drought interrupted by significant flooding events. The Memorial Day flood along the Blanco River was one of the most devastating on record. Citizens and communities along the river were left with heartbreaking losses of life and property, and also many questions about how this happened and how can we reduce future impacts from floods. Read full media release
September 21, 2015
Comanche Moon to Eclipse this Sunday Night
Wayne Gosnell: My friend Sandy and I get great pleasure out of being the first to text the other whenever we first glimpse a Comanche Moon. That’s when the full moon rises out of the eastern horizon just after sunset, catching the rays of the setting sun, which paint it a deep orange. It is said the Comanche warriors of old liked to make their raids into Texas and Mexico by the light of this full moon—the Comanche Moon. The next Comanche Moon will rise this Sunday night, September 27, and it will be a very special one. It will also be a “Super Moon,” meaning that it will be at its perigee or the closest it comes to us in its elliptical orbit around the Earth. Read full media release
September 16, 2015
Hill Country Workshop Provides Landowners with Information on Conservation Easements
The Hill Country Land Trust (HCLT) and The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) are hosting a conservation easement workshop on Friday, October 23. This workshop will focus on the landowners in the nineteen-county Hill Country region and will bring landowners the message about how to steward and protect their land investment with a conservation easement agreement. Read full media release
September 8, 2015
Winning Photos in Calendar Contest Capture Extraordinary Moments of Hill Country Beauty
Dazzling color and light emanate from each of the winning photographs from Hill Country Alliance’s (HCA) annul photography contest. Soft ripples of lavender and tangerine clouds over a field of wildflowers; an egret perched on a bald cypress branch in the mango light of dawn; ethereal shades of blue in a wispy, flowing river; a golden sunset backdrop for a cruise on Lake Austin—these are the winning images captured by dedicated photographers, to be featured in the HCA’s 2016 calendar. The eagerly awaited annual calendar will be available for purchase on HCA’s website starting September 11. Read the full media release
August 27, 2015
RPA President Emeritus Robert Yaro Appointed Potter Rose Visiting Professor of Planning
at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with UT’s exceptional faculty and students on strategies to preserve the Texas Hill Country,” said Yaro. “This is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the country. The future livability of Austin, San Antonio and the fast growing I-35 corridor will hinge in part on our ability to safeguard its water, wildlife and scenic resources.” Read full media release
July 13, 2015
Story series on Texas Groundwater Depletion Launches
The Texas Center for Policy Studies recently launched Our Desired Future, a multimedia project to educate Texans on the interconnections between water above and below ground and what Texans can do to keep water flowing for future generations. Even as the drought has broken across most of Texas, the long-term overdraft of the state’s groundwater basins continues unabated. Groundwater accounts for 60% of the water used in Texas and a 2014 report from the House Natural Resources Committee recommends that legislators encourage groundwater districts to maximize groundwater production permitting. Read full media release
June 2, 2015
Texas Water Symposium to Feature Regional Water Experts
The 8th Annual Texas Water Symposium series continues this June in Fredericksburg with a personal conversation between Hill Country water experts about the State’s water planning process and the need for public participation. As Central Texas grapples with population growth, increasing demands on our water supply and cycles of intense drought and floods, it is essential that the public is aware of the water infrastructure planning process that is happening now. Read full media release.
May 22, 2015
Share your vision of the Hill Country
Imagine the Texas Hill Country you want future generations to inherit. That is the call and theme for this year’s photo contest hosted by the Hill Country Alliance (HCA). Winning images will become the visual heart of HCA’s 2016 calendar. The deadline to enter is midnight, May 31, 2015. Read full media release.
March 25, 2015
Rainwater Revival Calls for Grant Applications from Hill Country Schools
As Texas Hill Country residents and businesses look for ways to conserve water, the Hill Country Alliance’s Rainwater Revival grants lend a helping hand to schools throughout the 17-county region. The HCA is now taking applications through May 1 from schools that want to implement or enhance rainwater collection and water conservation programs on their campuses. Read full media release.
February 24, 2015
Imagine the Future of the Hill Country
What is your vision of the Hill Country that future generations will inherit? The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) asks this question as it calls for photographs for its 2016 calendar. The annual HCA photo contest opens on March 1 and runs through May 31. Winners receive cash prizes and their photos will appear in the popular HCA calendar and in the organization’s various educational products. Entering the contest is easy through the HCA website. Read full media release.
January 22, 2015
Study shows Texas voters maintain strong support for state parks
“Conservation and the importance of preserving our natural habitat are deeply held Texas values,” said Dan Allen Hughes, Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. “Texas voters understand that a strong and thriving system of state parks contributes to a vibrant economy, is an important source of recreation for Texas families and helps protect the natural environment that makes Texas unique.”Read full media release from TPWC.
January 9, 2015
Defending Local Control
Letter to the Editor: Federicksburg Times Standard – “Texans living in the Hill Country have a deep and abiding understanding of the importance of clear, flowing streams, heritage trees, trash-free landscapes, and a calm, quiet environment. We also have a very strong belief in property rights and the responsibilities that accompany those rights.” Read full letter.
November 10, 2014
Texas Water Symposium, Nov. 20 in Kerrville
Join us for the final Texas Water Symposium of 2014 – Thursday, November 20 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Schreiner University. The topic for the evening will be Balancing Rural and Urban Water Needs: How Local and Regional Planning Activities Ensure Long-Term Supplies. The Symposium will be moderated by State Representative-Elect Andrew Murr and recorded for rebroadcast by Texas Public Radio.Read full media release
October 2, 2014
2015 Texas Hill Country Calendar Available for Sale
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) recently released their 9th Texas Hill Country Calendar. Once again, this calendar delivers stunning photography while remaining an informative resource on Hill Country conservation – addressing such issues as groundwater resource protection, native habitat conservation, land stewardship, night sky protection and more. HCA hopes their calendar will inspire people to learn more and become involved in the issues important to keeping the natural resources of this beautiful and fragile region intact. Read full press release.
August 18, 2014
Rainwater Revival Returns to Dripping Springs on October 25
Look to the sky for your water supply—and learn how to capture and use it at the fifth annual Rainwater Revival, which returns to Dripping Springs on October 25. The popular and free edu-fest event is put on by the Hill Country Alliance. “We began our part-educational, part-fun fest in Dripping Springs in 2010, and after two years there we took the event on the road to other parts of the Hill Country,” said Event Chair Karen Ford. “We’re happy to be coming ‘home’ to share the latest information about rainwater conservation and harvesting at Dripping Springs Ranch Park. Read full press release.
August 13, 2014
Hill Country Alliance Announces Winners of Photography Contest for 2015 Calendar
“It’s through photographs like these that we help share the importance of protecting our Hill Country environment, and one of the reasons our calendar has been so popular with both area residents and nature lovers worldwide,” said Milan J. Michalec, board president of HCA. Read full media release.
June 12, 2014
Hill Country Alliance Urges Texas Water Development Board to Make Conservation Priority in Funding State Water Projects
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) soon will announce draft rules and priorities for how SWIFT funds will be spent. In advance of that announcement, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) convened a roundtable discussion in Blanco on June 4th where HCA board, advisory team and other water and land stewardship experts discussed a range of solutions that could save money and provide water to see the state through future severe droughts. Read full media release.
June 3, 2014
Three Hill Country Schools Win Rainwater Revival Grants to Fund Water Conservation Projects
Impressed by the quality of proposals for its rainwater harvesting and conservation grant program, the Hill Country Alliance is awarding three – instead of the planned two – $1,000 grants to Hill Country schools to help teachers and students design and implement water-saving techniques. Read full media release.
May 6, 2014
Hill Country Alliance Adds New Staff to Focus on Water Policy and Landowner Outreach Programs
The Hill Country Alliance is pleased to welcome two new full-time staff members, Charlie Flatten and Katherine Romans, who will respectively manage the organization’s water policy and landowner outreach programs. Read full media release.
April 23, 2014
CASE CLOSED: Disappointment for Hill Country Aquifer Protection
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently halted a process that could have created groundwater conservation districts (GCDs) in some of the fasted growing areas of the Hill Country. TCEQ Executive Director Richard Hyde successfully petitioned the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) with a motion to dismiss the case that had been underway since 2010 to create GCDs in Western Travis and Western Comal counties. The request was granted January 27, 2014, and the case is now closed. Read full media release.
April 17, 2014
City Wastewater Discharge May Threaten Clear-running Creeks and Water Wells
Some water experts believe Hill Country clear-running creeks and streams may soon be a thing of the past if cities are permitted to discharge treated wastewater directly into creeks such as Onion Creek. Water wells may also become contaminated. Read full media release.
April 16, 2014
Kent Butler Summit, March 25
“Faucets, Toilets, and Automobiles: Balancing Growth and Sustainability in the Barton Springs Aquifer Region.”
The population of Travis and Hays Counties has nearly doubled in the last 25 years, intensifying the pressure on natural resources. This summit brings together scientists and policy-makers to share information and address current and future challenges in the management of the Barton Springs Zone. Read full media release.
March 17, 2014
Build Smart Water Now
While we continue to reduce our water use, demands increase every day with new homes of suburbia appearing on the horizon. Each will require more water, with a considerable amount going to establish and maintain hundreds of acres of new turf grass each year. In this region, traditional home lawns typically consume 25 to 35% of the annual treated water. Projecting into the future, new residential yards could require up to 30,000 acre-feet per year by 2040—enough water to meet about 20 percent of Austin’s current demand. Read full media release.
March 11, 2014
HCA’s Rainwater Revival calls for grant applications to fund water conservation and catchment programs at Hill Country schools
The Hill Country Alliance has set an April 30 deadline for local schools to apply for grants of up to $1,000 to develop or continue water catchment and conservation programs. The auction of “art barrels” during the Alliance’s annual Rainwater Revival, held in November, funds the grants. Read full media release
March 3, 2014
Symposium Will Explore Issues Facing Iconic Pedernales River, March 20 in Fredericksburg
The first Texas Water Symposium of 2014 will feature a conversation between Hill Country landowners and water experts about the Pedernales River. As Central Texas grapples with population growth, land fragmentation and changing land uses, understanding the impact of land and water management on the health of our rivers and their associated catchment areas is essential. Read full media release.
February 25, 2014
The Hill Country Alliance Photo Contest kicks off March 1st
What’s your view of Hill Country Stewardship? HCA is seeking photographs that tell the story of our region’s stewardship ethic for publication in its 2015 calendar. The Texas Hill Country is a cherished place, yet it is threatened by land fragmentation, over-allocated rivers and aquifers, incompatible land development practices and a lack of understanding about appropriate stewardship. Read full media release.
October 28 2013
Rainwater Revival Pitches its Tents in Boerne on Nov 2
Rainwater harvesting is part of the new water culture in Texas, especially in the Texas Hill Country where water is scarce and precious. On Saturday, November 2, the Rainwater Revival returns to the Boerne Civic Center where rain harvesting experts and practitioners will speak throughout the day in tandem with a variety of exhibitor and vendor tents, a live auction of artful rain barrels, the Raindrop Stop for kids, food trailers, music, and fun for the whole family. Read full media release.
Save the Night Program at Texas State University
Is it dark outside? Is it really dark? Darkness is a good thing for the environment as well as your emotional and physical well-being. The reasons why disappearing “dark skies” can adversely affect plant and animal life (including humans) will be explained November 7 when nationally recognized conservationist and author Paul Bogard joins Cindy Luongo Cassidy to discuss the impact of artificial light on the environment and its inhabitants. Read full media release.
October 11, 2013
4th Annual Rainwater Revival Shows Ease of Harvesting Rainwater for Indoor and Outdoor Use
On November 2 in Boerne, Texas, the Hill Country Alliance will once again host its annual Rainwater Revival – a lively, free event for novices and wannabe harvesters of rainwater. A full day of speakers, exhibitors, food and fun is planned to help homeowners and businesses reduce their impact on the environment, save money on their water bills and learn the joys and deliciousness of captured rainwater. Read full media release.
October 10, 2013
Texas Water Symposium: A Conversation about Private Property Rights, October 24
As we struggle to meet water resource challenges, what is the proper role that government should play regarding land development and other traditionally unregulated issues, in order to protect stream flows and the private property rights of landowners? All are potentially impacted by water marketing and increased withdrawals from aquifers. Moderated by Weir Labatt and featuring Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, Sharlene Leurig and Garry Merritt. Read full media release.
September 12, 2013
Four Hill Country Photographers Awarded Prizes
Thirteen exceptional photos of the Texas Hill Country grace the Hill Country Alliance’s much anticipated 2014 calendar. Among the photos chosen from HCA’s annual photo contest, four stunning shots were selected for special recognition by an HCA committee of local artists and Hill Country conservationists. Read full media release.
June 5, 2013
Huber: Don’t let short-term interests steal future prosperity
It’s not about the birds; “it’s about the economy, folks!” It’s about our “habitat” — the health of the human race not just that of the whooping cranes. The recent federal court ruling, faulting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the deaths of 23 endangered whooping cranes, directly relates to maintaining prosperity. Read full media release.
June 4, 2013
Rainwater Revival Awards Grants to Hill Country Schools
Austin, Texas (June 4, 2013) – Three Hill Country schools have each been awarded $1,000 grants to further their plans to bring rainwater harvesting to their schools and education about water resources to their students. “The innovation and enthusiasm that these schools, through their administrators and teachers, bring to their students is very gratifying,” said Karen Ford, a Hill Country Alliance board member and chair of the annual Rainwater Revival. “These students will learn the importance of water conservation and that conservation is easy, fun, and a very important thing to do.” Read the full release.
May 7, 2013
Bringing back the Milky Way, May 14 in Uvalde
HCA has been partnering with the McDonald Observatory and local Hill Country community organization’s creating an entire menu of programs aimed at reducing light pollution. The next workshop will take place May 14 at the Cactus Room of the Uvalde Convention Center. Details
May 6, 2013
People conform to political boundaries. Water does not.
Ten years ago, recognizing the rapidly growing threat to the water quality of the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer, 13 unconnected Texas Hill Country jurisdictions sat down together and talked. Acknowledging that water, especially groundwater, does not conform to human boundaries, they devised a bold plan to conform to water, by crossing those boundaries. With help from the HCA, 65 participants from those jurisdictions re-convened on April 26 in Buda for The Next Wave, a workshop to share how they are each implementing the plan now. Read full media release.
March 18, 2013
Bringing back the Milky Way
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) presents a tour of events March 25th through March 28th to further a movement to foster a night sky friendly Hill Country. Programs will take place in Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Llano and Johnson City. Working with local partners, HCA has created a model workshop to teach and inspire ways to protect our night sky from light pollution. Read full media release.
March 14, 2013
Hill Country Alliance Calls for Entries in 7th Annual Photo Contest
For its 7th Annual Hill Country Photo Contest, HCA is looking for photography that captures the spectacular beauty of this region, images that illuminate the very things that are worth protecting, and the historical or cultural stories that need to be told. The Photo Contest Call for Entries is open through May 31, 2013. Read full media release.
March 8, 2013
Texas’ water options: before pipelines & dams
Texas has been growing rapidly for many decades and seems that we are also getting hotter and drier. Many Texans are “water short” now or will be in the future. Whether this was caused by too much growth, poorly planned growth, water waste or a declining, local water resource(s) – or a combination, varies. Read full media release.
March 5, 2013
Rainwater Revival Garners ‘Texas Rain Catcher’ Award for Public Education Excellence
“We’re honored to receive this recognition from the Texas Water Development Board,” said Karen Ford, HCA Board Member and chair of the event. “Our goal is to offer a useful, entertaining event that inspires anyone interested in conserving our water resources to learn how rainwater harvesting can become a reality for their home or business. With hundreds of people attending each of our three annual events to date, we help make rainwater catchment an easy priority for everyone.” Read full media release.
February 27, 2013
Conservation is conservative approach to solving Texas water problems
Testimony to the drought of 2011 is still all around us — dried-up reservoirs in West Texas, purposeless docks on the parched Pedernales River. On the heels of the drought, the idea of seeding a fund to meet the next 50 years of Texas’ water supply needs is a hard idea to pass up. But before we pluck that money from the state’s rainy day fund, let’s take a second look at what the state’s water needs really are, and how we ensure that state funds aren’t squandered in speculative water development. Read full media release.
February 25, 2013
Texas Springs Symposium March 8th
The 6th Annual Texas Water Symposium series continues this month at Junction with a personal conversation between Hill Country landowners and water experts about springs – the connection between groundwater and surface water. Read full media release.
January 28, 2013
Why is Texas out of water during severe droughts?
Bringing science to policy is one of HCA’s core goals. As HCA Technical Advisor Raymond Slade explains, “Three major schemes are needed: (1) increased conservation of water to minimize waste, (2) funding for at least some of the most-promising Water Management Strategies, and (3) consistent water-use regulation for both groundwater and surface water.” Read full media release.
January 16, 2013
Rainwater Revival Sets Grant Application Deadline for Hill Country Schools
Hill Country schools in 17 counties are now eligible to apply for grants funded by professionally painted “art rain barrels” that were auctioned at the highly successful 2012 Rainwater Revival, held in Boerne in October. Read full media release.
January 15, 2013
Milan J. Michalec Takes the Helm at Hill Country Alliance
As new president of Hill Country Alliance (HCA), Milan Michalec says he wants to see the organization lead the discussion on topics such as county authority and the State Water Plan, not just participate. “I want to be able to take advantage of the tools we’ve developed in the strategic plan and work with electronic media opportunities to be the story rather than respond to it,” he says. Read full media release
December 20, 2012
Seven Blanco Businesses Honored with Night Sky-Friendly Awards
Blanco Chamber of Commerce President Marcy Westcott presented the Chamber’s first Night Sky-Friendly Business Certificates of Merit to seven Blanco businesses on December 18 in the Chamber office. “We are excited about our new Night Sky-Friendly Business Recognition Program and the positive reception it has received amongst our Chamber members,” said Westcott. Read full media release.
October 10, 2012
Bandera Middle School Receives $900 Rainwater Revival Conservation Grant to Fund Innovative Campus Projects
The Rainwater Revival recently awarded a $900 grant to Bandera Middle School that will help fund water conservation efforts and native plant landscaping at its campus in the Bandera ISD. Read full media release.
October 4, 2012
The Art of Rainwater Harvest is on Display at the Rainwater Revival
Functional works of art will join words of wisdom about rainwater catchment during the third annual Rainwater Revival, October 27 at the Boerne Convention Center. Read full media release.
September 18, 2012
Better Lights for Starry Nights, October 2 in Bee Cave
A dark night sky full of big bright stars is important here in the Hill Country, just like clean rivers, scenic vistas and natural landscapes. Little by little, light-by-light, the magical mystery of the big Texas night sky is diminishing. But it’s not too late to reverse this trend. Learn how you can do your part reduce light pollution. Read full media release.
September 10, 2012
Photo contest winners share love, respect for natural areas
Sometimes the Texas Hill Country shares its bewitching beauty openly, other times it requires planning to be in the right place at the right time to see an especially magical scene. Thirteen photographers who will share their photographs in the 2013 Hill Country Alliance calendar had their cameras at the ready to take advantage of stunning scenes that will be shared when the calendar goes on sale this week. Read full media release.
June 27, 2012
Schools Reap Benefits of ‘Rain Barrel Art Auction’
Challenging students to learn about water conservation and to take action to conserve resources will be easier this fall at three Hill Country area schools thanks to grants from the 2011 Rainwater Revival and the Hill Country Alliance. Each year the Rainwater Revival, a day-long festival that promotes rainwater catchment as an alternative to using dwindling supplies of surface and ground water, auctions rain barrels decorated by the Hill Country region’s professional artists. The funds raised go to help elementary and middle school teachers design and implement water conservation-focused programs and projects. Read full media release.
May 29, 2012
Rainwater Revival Extends Application Deadline for Classroom Grants
Elementary and Middle Schools in 17 Hill Country counties now have until June 15 to apply for classroom grants focused on teaching water conservation and rainwater catchment to students, courtesy of the annual Rainwater Revival. Grants of up to $900 per selected application will be awarded for use during the 2012-2013 school year. Read full media release.
May 26, 2012
Healthy Groundwater Policy Conversations
The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith moderated the final installment of the Texas Water Symposium at Trinity University in San Antonio on the evening of May 17. A panel of prominent water attorneys, including Russell Johnson, Greg Ellis and Tom Mason engaged in respectful civic discourse for 90 minutes on the merits and implications of the recent Texas Supreme Court’s groundwater decision, Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) vs. Day. Read full media release.
May 7, 2012
Texas Water Symposium May 17th – Groundwater Ownership
Groundwater for Texans — a panel discussion about the recent ruling by the Texas Supreme Court on the highly publicized Day v. EAA case regarding ownership of groundwater. The discussion will explore the effects on a variety of stakeholders and a look at our complex water policy framework in Texas. A mix of viewpoints will be presented and discussed. Read Full Media Release.
April 4, 2012
Texas Water Symposium at Schreiner April 12: A Close Look at Hydraulic Fracturing or “Fracking”
The topic for the April symposium will be “Fracking and the Energy/Water Nexus: A look at every aspect and every question surrounding this timely issue.” Fracking—or hydraulic fracturing—is a way of releasing oil and natural gas by using a highly pressurized liquid to fracture surrounding rock layers. Fracking creates new channels in the rock, making the extraction of fossil fuels easier. Questions exist about the effects of this process on our water supply. Read More
April 4, 2012
Hill Country Unites to Preserve Night Skies
In the Texas Hill Country, the stars at night are not as bright as they once were. The view of this treasured natural resource, the awe of generations past, is being slowly dimmed due to the effects of encroaching light pollution. On April 3, 2012, a group of prominent Hill Country residents, businesses, and ranchers banded together at the Preserve at Walnut Springs, west of Johnson City, and formed the Hill Country Night Sky Cooperative. Read More
March 23, 2012
Symposium Underscores Importance of Watershed Planning to Protect Texas Water for Future Generations
Hill Country residents, policymakers, scientists, water experts, and regional leaders met yesterday in Junction for a highly informative conversation about the inescapable need for healthy watersheds (or “catchments”), those life nourishing land areas where the surface and subsurface water drains. Read More
March 8, 2012
Healthy Watershed Symposium March 22
The 5th Annual Texas Water Symposium series continues this month at Junction with a lively conversation about creating healthy watersheds. Distinguished panelists will discuss watershed planning as a proactive alternative to the traditional, piecemeal approach to managing natural resources and as a critical strategy for protecting limited water resources for future generations. Learn More
February 27, 2012
Hill Country Photo Contest Kicks Off March 1st
What do you love the most about the Hill Country? Is it a cool blue swimming hole, your family’s ranch, a field of native grasses or your favorite dance hall? The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) invites you to head outside with a camera and capture what makes the region so special to you. HCA’s 6th annual photo contest opens on March 1st and runs through March 31st. Read More
February 6, 2012
Do more soon to preserve our waters
It’s official. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the year 2011 was the driest on record. The average total rainfall across the state was 14.88 inches, beating the previous record low of 14.99 inches established in 1917.
Now, more than ever, is the time for each of us to take an active role in water conservation in order to extend our existing water supplies. Without waiting for plans and finances or rains to catch up, there are ways to increase your water supply today. Read More
November 15, 2011
Our treasured springs need protection
The canary is in the coal mine and he’s thirsty. Without thoughtful stewardship, public treasures such as Jacob’s Well, Hays County’s historic perennial spring, as well as the private legacies of the many unnamed springs feeding Block Creek on Kendall County’s historic Hillingdon Ranch could stop flowing forever. Read More
October 6, 2011
The 5th season of the Texas Water Symposium begins October 13 in Junction
The first of four Texas Water Symposia will be held Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the Texas Tech University campus in Junction. The topic will be, “Drought: What, Where, Why and When…will it end?” Read More
October 5, 2011
2012 Hill Country Alliance Calendar Available for Sale
The 2012 Hill Country Alliance calendar, available now, captures the spectacular beauty and treasures of the Texas Hill Country with contributions from area photographers and writers. Read more
September 27, 2011
Is Our Rural Heritage at Risk?
How we conserve our rural heritage is a concern not only of people who live in rural areas of Texas, but also of urban dwellers. Many Texans cherish their family roots in farming and ranching communities and want to ensure the character of Texas continues to include values that spring from a love of the land and a sense of stewardship for our natural resources, including the wildlife that defines our south central Texas region. “Conserving Our Rural Heritage” is the theme of this year’s Farm & Range Forum to be held in Uvalde on October 14 and 15. Read more
September 8, 2011
Report your Hill Country Water Well Condition
Beneath many places in the Texas Hill Country, more groundwater is already being pumped than can be replaced through recharge. This was observed as many wells went dry during the 2007-2009 drought, one from which the Trinity Aquifer did not fully recover before this most recent drought began. HCA is urging people to report low water levels in wells, dry wells and poor water quality during this time of drought. “The future of your groundwater may very well depend on your observations.” states Milan J. Michalec, HCA Board Member. Read full media release here.
September 6, 2011
How Can We Conserve Our Rural Heritage?
“Conserving Our Rural Heritage” is the theme of this year’s Farm & Range Forum to be held in Uvalde on October 14 and 15. “When we began to plan this year’s Forum,” explained Susan Hughes, one of the Forum organizers, we had no idea we would be facing such difficult times in terms of water shortages, extraordinary heat, and exceptional drought, as the U.S. Drought Monitor report calls it. We feel this Forum will provide great value to attendees in terms of the information that will be presented, and through the interactions available with other landowners, conservationists, and agency professionals who will be sharing their expertise. Read full media release here.
June 30, 2011
Hill Country Alliance announces photo contest winners
The fifth annual photography contest held by the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) received hundreds of beautiful entries that capture the unique places, lasting treasures and special qualities the Texas Hill Country is known for.
HCA announces four winning photographs, each capture the magical qualities of this region that need to be protected for future generations to enjoy and experience. Read full media release here.
May 24, 2011
Texas House Bill 3391 – The Rainwater Harvesting Bill Passes
The passage of Texas House Bill 3391, known as the Rainwater Harvesting Bill, represents a giant step forward for conservation of water resources and water security for the state. Rainwater harvesting is one of the best solutions to limited water resources and an increasing demand on water supply in Texas. Read full media release here.
May 9, 2011
Hill Country Alliance Provides Valuable Information
for Area Water District Voters
In response to a heightened interest in groundwater management and elections coming up on May 14th in several area groundwater districts, the Hill Country Alliance distributed more than 13,000 pieces of informational material to Hill Country citizens. Read more
April 12, 2011
Proposed Water Pipeline Concerns Many in South Central Texas
Numerous South Central Texas local governments and citizens are alarmed by a bill filed in the Texas Legislature by a San Antonio representative that would allow a private company to annually pipe 40,000 acre feet of rural Edwards Aquifer water to the San Antonio area. If passed, the bill would change the Edwards Aquifer Authority Act of 1993, to eliminate a provision prohibiting transfer of aquifer water out of Uvalde and Medina counties. Read more
March 15, 2011
Kathleen Krueger: Improving the world where she lives
Kathleen Krueger, mayor pro-tem, New Braunfels City Council, and new Hill Country Alliance (HCA) board member, is a world traveler…but her roots are in the Hill Country. No matter where she is living, Krueger finds a way to help the people and improve the environment. Read more
March 21, 2011
Texas Water Symposium March 31 at Schreiner University
Water, the environment and natural resources are daunting issues for Texans, especially with a projected doubling in population over the next 50 years. Local stakeholder organizations and programs that encourage land and water stewardship through collaboration, education, and community participation are critical for protection and preservation of water resources and quality for present and future generations. Find out more at the final session of the 2010-2011 Texas Water Symposium Series, “River Watch Programs and Activities in the Hill Country: How Local Communities Take Care of Their Rivers and Water.” Read more
Ann Newman Joins Hill Country Alliance Board of Directors
Organizing neighbors to conserve the land comes naturally for Newman; As a new board member with Hill Country Alliance, Ann Newman plans to use her neighborhood organizing skills to bring land owners together to conserve the land. Read more
March 8, 2011
Conserving Our Rural Heritage
On April 1st and 2nd, the 2011 Farm & Range Forum will be held in Uvalde, Texas. The focus of this year’s forum is “Conserving Our Rural Heritage.” Landowners, urban and rural conservationists, and anyone interested in the history and dynamics of the region as it faces economic and social challenges are encouraged to participate. Read full media release here.
Februrary 23, 2011
5th Annual HCA Photo Contest Kicks off March 1st
The Texas Hill Country region is full of magical, irreplaceable places — a photographer’s paradise any time of year. The 5th annual Hill Country Alliance (HCA) photo contest call for entries opens March 1st and runs through May 31st. Everyone is welcome to participate, young and old, amateurs, professionals, landowners, residents and visitors. The Hill Country is a place we all share. Read full media release here.
January 13, 2011
Texas Water Symposium on Water-Energy Nexus, January 27
With a rapidly growing population, Texas needs a lot of water and a lot of energy. These resources are usually considered separately. The Texas Water Symposium goes deep into the complex issues of water and energy, and explains the critical interrelated aspects of these two essential resources. Read full media release here.
November 2, 2010
Texas Water Symposium Series Continues Nov. 11
Invasions by plants, animals and parasites are regarded by biologists as a major threat to biological diversity worldwide and can have major impacts on water resources and economics. They threaten the survival of native plants and animals, interfere with ecosystems and hybridize with native species. Find out more at Session Two of the 2010-2011 Texas Water Symposium Series: “The Insidious and Stealthy Water Thieves of Texas: Invasive species impacts on resources, economics and ecosystems.” Read full media release here.
September 29, 2010
Hill Country Alliance Announces Calendar Photography Contest Winners and 2011 Calendar Release
The remains of an ancient cypress rise from an autumnal creek’s mist, trail riders gather for cowboy coffee on a fog shrouded morning, and cotton candy rows of a peach orchard in bloom foretell of summer sweetness. In the fourth annual contest held by the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) to photographically convey the beauty and uniqueness of the Texas Hill Country for the 2011 HCA Hill Country Calendar, the three winning photographs do just that. Read full HCA media release here.
September 15, 2010
Texas Water Symposium: Legislative Action Affecting Water Resources on September 30th at the Texas State Capitol
Texas water policy and the upcoming legislative session will be the focus of the first in a series of four symposia about water issues in Texas. State Representative Harvey Hilderbran will moderate a panel discussion at 7:00 pm on Thursday, September 30th in the Capitol Auditorium located in the Texas Capitol Extension in Austin. Read HCA press release here.
July 21, 2010
Future Water – Guest Article re: critical Hill Country groundwater decision on July 26th
Beneath many places in the Texas Hill Country, more groundwater is being pumped out than can be replaced through the water cycle. “What does a Desired Future Condition (DFC) have to do with your water?” On 26 July 2010, you can comment on this question. Read more here.
May 18, 2010
Celebrate the Stars at LBJ Ranch June 2
Enjoy an evening of star gazing and a presentation on what you can do to preserve the night skies starting 7:30 pm, Wednesday, June 2, at the LBJ Ranch. The event is hosted by Hill Country Alliance, Hill Country Land Trust and Green Living for the Hill Country. Read full release here.
May 4, 2010
Hill Country Photo Contest Closes May 31st
The Hill Country Alliance Photo Contest runs through the end of May. Winners receive not only cash prizes, but will be featured in the popular Hill Country calendar produced each fall by the Hill Country Alliance (HCA). Read full release here.
March 18, 2010
Texas Water Symposium at Schreiner March 25
The last of the 2009-10 Texas Water Symposium series will be at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 25, in the ballroom of the Floyd & Kathleen Cailloux Campus Activity Center at Schreiner University. Read full release here.
February 25, 2010
Hill Country Alliance receives $25,000 grant for water conservation education and advocacy
The Hill Country Alliance announces the receipt of a $25,000 grant from the Kirk Mitchell Environmental Law Fund to support the Alliance’s water conservation education advocacy. Read full release here.
February 22, 2010
2010 Hill Country Alliance Photo Contest begins March 1st
The Texas Hill Country is a photographer’s paradise. Creeks are once again flowing, and the forecast calls for a green spring with plenty of wildflowers. Now is the time to dust off your camera and head outside to capture the beauty and mystique of this special region. Read full media release here.
February 18, 2010
Water Symposium Essay Contest – Inform your schools!
Schreiner University and the Water Symposium project announce a student essay contest for elementary, middle and high school students. “Kids, Water and Science: Perspectives from our Future”. Read full release here.
February 2, 2010
Langford Selected for Inaugural Keystone Award
for Lifetime Contributions to Land and Wildlife Conservation
David K. Langford is a steadfast conservationist, well-respected regionally and nationally. In recognition of his lifetime of service conserving our agricultural heritage and protecting native wildlife, wildlife habitat, and natural lands in Texas, Langford will receive the inaugural Keystone Award at a reception held at Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, Texas, from 5:00 to 7:00pm, Friday, February 26th. Read full release here.
January 7, 2010
Texas Water Symposium January 28th in Junction
Join us for the second in the 2009-10 series of discussions and forums about Texas water issues. The symposium’s topic will be “Climate Change and Impacts on Floods, Weather and Drought in Texas: What Controversy?” – Read media release here.
December 2, 2009
Hill Country Photography Exhibit opens this weekend at Cibolo Nature Center
The holidays are the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the splendor of the Hill Country region. Just northwest of San Antonio in Boerne, the Cibolo Nature Center is 100 acres of trails and wilderness waiting for you and your family to explore. This season as you visit the preserve you’ll be treated to something special. The Hill Country Alliance, a nonprofit organization in Central Texas, is placing winning photographs of its 2009 Hill Country Photography contest on display in the visitor’s center. See full media release here.
November 19, 2009
“Sustaining the Hill Country – Now and for future generations”, forum Scheduled February 26th and 27th in Fredericksburg
Central Texas is all about the Hill Country — rolling vistas, dramatic bluffs, seeps and springs, and diverse wildlife. But the character of the Hill Country is changing due to explosive growth. On February 26th and 27th, 2010, the Bexar Audubon Society, Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas, the Hill Country Alliance, the Texas Wildlife Association, and the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service will focus on this challenge at the 7th Farm & Range Forum, “Sustaining the Hill Country — Now and for Future Generations.” – Details.
November 2, 2009
Texas Water Symposia
Third annual water symposium series starts Nov. 12
The first symposium in the annual series of symposia dealing with the issues of water use and conservation in Texas will be Thursday, Nov. 12 at the University of Texas-San Antonio campus. Read full media release here.
September 10, 2009
2009 Photo Contest Winners
Photographers from across the Hill Country took the theme of Hill Country Alliance’s Third Annual Photo Contest seriously: Celebrating the Treasure of the Hill Country is now possible with a look through the beautiful photographs in the 2010 Hill Country Alliance calendar. “Our desire is for this contest and the calendar to increase awareness of the need to care for the treasures of the Hill Country with regional planning and conservation,” says Christy Muse, HCA executive director. Read full media release here.
August 17, 2009
The Reality of Drought
The ongoing drought has kept water not only in the local headlines, but regionally throughout the Hill Country from San Antonio to Austin. As the drought persists, water availability, which by definition of State water planners is “the maximum amount of water available during the drought of record, regardless of whether the supply is physically or legally available”, is being reduced. Read full media release here.
August 6, 2009
Water Supply Drying Up: It’s not just about the drought
Water supplies are dangerously low in the Hill Country, but Raymond Slade, hydrologist, says it’s not just because of the drought. Slade has been analyzing droughts, floods, and water quality issues for almost 40 years. He says the drought is severe, but in the last 100 years there have been three or four periods with equal or less precipitation. Slade says stream flows and spring flows are extremely low, but not near record lows. Read full media release here.
July 6, 2009
Wind Turbines and Transmission Lines carry anxiety across the Hill Country
Once you’ve visited Enchanted Rock, you never forget the scenic beauty and power of this natural wonder. What would a farm of 400-foot-tall wind turbines do to the unique vista adorned by the dome profile of this pink granite marvel? Junction is known as the “Land of the Living Waters” and is named for the rivers coming together there: the North and South Llano Rivers. The Johnson Fork Creek, that feeds into the rivers, provides amazing canoeing and kayaking experiences. Young boys fishing the creek boast about catching 50 pound catfish. How will this wild, beautiful area, change if high voltage transmission lines cross the creek in four places? Read full media release here.
June 1, 2009
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.
David Baker new director for Hays-Trinity Groundwater Conservation District Place 4
Hill Country Alliance board member David Baker has been elected director of Hays-Trinity Groundwater Conservation District Place 4. Baker is well known for his work to protect and preserve Jacob’s Well. Serving as executive director of the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) for over 10 years, he’s raised over five million dollars for watershed protection and led the organization to preserve 55 acres of land surrounding the spring. See full release here.
May 19, 2009
Deadline for Photo Contest Draws Near
Herb Smith didn’t expect to win when he entered the 2007 Hill Country Alliance (HCA) Photo Contest. “I entered just hoping I’d get an image in the calendar,” Smith recalls. He was “very pleasantly surprised” to win the first year he entered. Smith turned around and won the 2008 contest. “The second year, I was blown away.” Download full release here.
April 7, 2009
$500 bonus added to Hill Country Alliance Photo Contest
The Texas Hill Country Nature Photography Alliance (THCNPA) is a group of ranchers offering up their ranches to guests for nature photography and tourism. Most of the ranches have several established photography sites with food and water to attract wildlife, with one or more professionally established photo blinds carefully situated for optimal photographic opportunities. Many also offer overnight accommodations, allowing guests the chance to enjoy magnificent hill country scenery, and special encounters with critters, in privacy.
For the second year, THCNPA is offering $500 prize that may be split by the HCA Photo Contest winner(s) of either category 2 – “Working the Land: gardening, agriculture, ranching, farming; or category 4 – “Natural treasures: wildlife, plants, springs, parks, rivers, special places in nature,” provided the winning photo(s) were created on one of the Alliance member properties. Read more here
March 18, 2009
Rething Growth Workshop
Hill Country Alliance Co-sponsors “Rethinking Growth” The Economic Benefits of Conservation-Based Development Austin. The Hill Country is facing critical issues that many desirable locations across the country are facing. How do we conserve the natural resources vital to our region and preserve the heritage that make the Hill Country unique while accommodating population growth in an economically viable way? Randall Arendt, a land-use planner, site designer, author, lecturer and an advocate of conservation planning, is the most sought after speaker on these topics. Arendt is presenting a one-day event to offer solutions for the critical issues that come with rapid growth. Read more here.
March 5, 2009
Final Water Symposia
Schreiner University will host the fourth and final in this year’s series of symposia and forums about water issues in Texas at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 12th, in the Floyd & Kathleen Cailloux Campus Activity Center on the Schreiner campus. The topic will be “Forging Partnerships to Address Complex Water Issues in Texas: Obstacles, Perspectives and Solutions.”
Read more here.
February 16, 2009
Two Hill Country Treasures on ‘Most Endangered Places’ List
Instead of letting Hamilton Pool become a mud hole, Hill Country Alliance board member Nell Penridge made it her mission to find a way to save Hamilton Pool. With the help of Hill Country Alliance and Hamilton Pool Road Scenic Corridor Coalition, she applied to Preservation Texas for designation. Preservation Texas then included Hamilton Pool Preserve on its 2009 Most Endangered Places List, because of devastation to the pool from major silt and erosion runoff from subdivision development upstream. Read more here.
Read the Lake Travis View’s story on Hamilton Pool’s placement on the list here.
February 15, 2009
2009 Hill Country Alliance Photo Contest, Celebrating the Treasures of the Hill Country
Austin (February 11, 2009) – Get your cameras ready to capture the treasures of the Hill Country. It is time to enter your best photographs in the Hill Country Alliance’s (HCA) third annual photo contest. “We hold this contest each year to help raise awareness of the beauty, heritage and the natural resources that make the Hill Country unique,” says Christy Muse, HCA executive director. “We want to encourage residents, landowners and elected officials to take care of this very special part of Texas.” The contest officially opens March 1st.
Read more here.
January 20, 2009
Next Texas Water Symposium to be in Fredericksburg
The first Texas Water Symposium of the new year will be 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Admiral Nimitz Ballroom in Fredericksburg. The topic under discussion will be “History of the Rule of Capture and its Role and Status in Shaping Water Policy and Planning in Texas.” Gregory M. Ellis, attorney and executive director of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts, will argue that the Rule of Capture does not grant a vested property right in groundwater and that groundwater conservation districts are the only method of preserving our aquifers; Ed McCarthy, an attorney practicing primarily in water and water-related matters, will argue that groundwater conservation districts may not confiscate private property rights.
Read more here or click here to download a copy of the full release.
December 2, 2008
Hill Country Photography Exhibit opens this weekend at Westcave Preserve
Roughly 40 miles outside of Austin in Southwest Travis County, Westcave Preserve is an oasis in the Texas Hill Country. The 75-acre site lies at the meeting point of two Texas ecosystems: grasslands scattered with wildflower meadows, and a lush, sheltered canyon with towering limestone walls and a 40-foot waterfall tumbling over fern-covered travertine columns into an emerald pool. The Hill Country Alliance will place the 12 winning photographs of its 2008 Hill Country Photography contest on display at the Westcave Preserve.
Read more here or click here to download the full press release with pictures.
November 10, 2008
Lighting strikes twice in Hill Country Contest
As one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, the Hill Country faces many unique problems. Each year, the Hill Country Alliance holds a contest to find the best pictures taken of the Hill Country. The alliance chose the best 12 pictures from a pool of more than 400 entrants to appear in their annual calendar and represent the alliance’s mission of regional planning, preservation and conservation. This year’s first-place winner, Herb Smith, also took home the top prize in last year’s contest.
November 6, 2008
UTSA to host second Texas Water Symposium
The second in the annual series of symposia on Texas water issues will be at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13, in Auditorium Room, number MB 0.104 on the ground floor of the Main Building at The University of Texas-San Antonio. Free parking will be available and refreshments donated by UTSA will follow the meeting.
September 23, 2008
What do we expect the Hill Country to be like in 20 Years? Why are Texas Springs vanishing?
Don’t miss the Texas Water Symposia this Thursday evening in Boerne.
The first of four Texas Water Symposia will be held Thursday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Boerne Convention Center. Texas Tech University, Schreiner University, San Antonio Public Radio and the Hill Country Alliance have teamed up to present this series of free educational public events about water issues, sustainability and the relationship between science and policy when it comes to water resource planning for future generations.