Critics of Habitat Plan are Spouting Nonsense

The most important thing the public needs to know about the proposed plan is that it is completely voluntary. No one who doesn’t want to participate would have to do so at any price.” Read SA Express-News opinion piece here. Learn more about Habitat Plans here. View fact sheet.

Land Use, Water, Transportation and Economic Development

The Capital Area Council of Governments has released an assessment of recent and projected growth patterns for the 10-county region. The reportfocuses on land use, transportation, water, and economic development, making policy recommendations for local governments operating in the region. The report projects that the population in Travis County will grow more slowly than the surrounding counties, but Travis County will remain the primary seat of employment growth into 2035. Download the report here.

November 18, 2010

Sunset Report Takes Half Step Forward, More Change Needed at State Environmental Agency

The big ticket item that the staff report avoids is Texas’ flawed permitting program.” The Sunset staff report on TCEQ has been issued. Read more here.

November 17, 2010

Will Water Rights Be on the Legislature’s Agenda?

Next legislative session, during the few minutes not taken up with the budget, redistricting and immigration, an old stand-by of an issue could creep onto the agenda: water. Observers say legislative proposals on groundwater rights are probable, given that Texas is just wrapping up a controversial process for planning the allocation of water from aquifers, while environmentalists will be pushing more measures for water conservation. Read more from the Texas Tribune here.

November 15, 2010

Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment Meeting and updates

SOSHE will host their annual membership meeting on Tuesday, November 16 (tomorrow). Meeting details and the latest CREZ updates here.

Lake Marble Falls development – Hearing Nov. 16th

The Friends of Lake Marble Falls, a citizens’ group formed to advocate for the protection of Lake Marble Falls, is urging fellow residents of Marble Falls and the surrounding Hill Country to plan to attend the Marble Falls City Council meeting to be held Tuesday November 16th at 6PM at City Hall. Learn more

TCEQ Sunset Town Hall Meetings – Success in San Antonio – Austin scheduled this Wednesday

Town hall meetings are taking place around the state to engage and educate Texans about the TCEQ Sunset Review process. Speak up in Austin Wednesday, November 17th from 7 – 8:30 pm at the LBJ School. Learn more here.

Animating Groundwater Issues

The Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District developed an animated video explaining the complexities of Hill Country aquifers and groundwater management. As Milan explains, “Here’s a modern educational tool that will serve well to increase the understanding of the behavior of something that many years ago was considered ‘mysterious and occult’ by Texas law-groundwater.” Read more

Harnessing wind power

Texas leads the nation in wind energy, with a production capacity of 9,410 mega-watts from the state’s 40, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But since none of the windfarms are located locally, many private homeowners opt to have private turbines installed. Read more from DailyTimes.comhere.

November 12, 2010

Noise Free Texas launches petition drive

A new grassroots organization has been formed to “Keep the Peace” in rural Texas. is a petition drive to request our county officials, state senators and state representatives change the current noise statute from 85 decibels to 60 decibels. Learn more

November 11, 2010

Fall Foliage Colors Peaking at Lost Maples State Natural Area

A possible end-of-the-week freeze is expected to trigger peak color this weekend in the large stands of Uvalde bigtooth maples found in the Sabinal River Valley at Lost Maples State Natural Area. Read more here.

Controversial Hill Country Power Lines Canned

To Hill Country landowners’ undoubted relief, the Public Utility Commission will cancel plans to build one controversial wind-power transmission line, as well as a portion of a second. Read full Texas Tribune article here.

Town wages artful opposition to power line

In an effort to thwart a proposed electric transmission line that will skirt their town, the people of the tiny town of Clifton, northwest of Waco, sketched out a novel argument Wednesday to the Public Utility Commission: The line would hamper the town’s ability to attract artists and inspire art. Read full article here.

November 10, 2010

Texas Water Symposium Series Continues Thursday

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.

Local solar farm gets powered up

Under a blue sky, the sun beamed down on a phalanx of elected officials, industry executives — and 214,500 glinting blue solar panels. The former cornfield on the Southeast Side was dedicated Tuesday as the largest working solar farm in Texas. The 140-acre site now is generating enough energy to power 1,800 homes, emissions-free. Read more from SA Express News here.

November 7, 2010

Texas environmental keeps soft touch in regulating industry

In the seven years since the state auditor issued a report highly critical of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, little has changed. The agency’s coziness with industry and its reliance on weak penalties continue unabated, abetted by state lawmakers. And its laissez-faire regulatory style has led to an unprecedented threat by the Environmental Protection Agency to take over the state’s permitting of industries that pollute the air. Read more from here.

November 4, 2010

Update on high voltage transmission line options

A presentation entitled “CREZ Transmission Developments and The Rest of the Truth About Wind Energy” will be featured as the key part of an informational meeting hosted by Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment (SOSHCE) at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16 at the Gillespie County Farm Bureau building at 237 Equestrian Drive in Fredericksburg. The public is invited to attend. Read more from The Llano News here.

November 2, 2010

Sprawl Repair: What It Is and Why We Need It

Sprawl is malfunctioning. It has underperformed for decades, but its collapse has become obvious with the recent mortgage meltdown and economic crisis, and its abundance magnifies the problems of its failure. Read full Planetizen article here.

November 1, 2010

Wildlife Tax Valuation ABC’s

Do you currently have an agricultural tax valuation on your property? Is the native wildlife on your property what you are most interested in managing for? Then switching from a traditional agricultural valuation to a wildlife tax valuation might be just for you. At the November 15th meeting of the Hill Country Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist, Rufus Stephens, wildlife biologist for Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept, will cover what is the wildlife tax valuation, the qualifications and how to get started. Read more here.

Concern surrounds possible Falling Waters development

To San Antonio attorney Kirk Patterson, the proposed Falling Waters residential and commercial development represents an eventual luxury waterfront destination that would pump money into Marble Falls’ economy. But to software company owner Robert Ruff, who lives across Lake Marble Falls from the site of the proposed development, the plan is an irresponsible waste of natural resources. Read full Highland Lakes article here.

Public Invited to CREZ Transmission and Wind Energy Presentation

A presentation entitled “CREZ Transmission Developments and The Rest of the Truth About Wind Energy” will be featured as the key part of an informational meeting hosted by Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment (SOSHCE). The meeting will be at 6:30pm on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at the Gillespie County Farm Bureau building. Details