November 30, 2012

Water, Water, Everywhere?

Texas is in a pickle when it comes to water issues and here in the Hill Country water scarcity hits home. “A do-nothing plan is not one to consider,” House Speaker Joe Straus told an audience at the recent Future of Water seminar hosted by The Texas Tribune. Read a recent editorial from the Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post here.

November 29, 2012

Streamside Management Workshop set at Cibolo

Nature Center on Dec. 8 for landowners, managers An in-depth workshop on Streamside Management will be presented from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Cibolo Nature Center. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist Rufus Stephens and hydrologist and fluvial geomorphologist Bruce Cole will provide an in-depth look at streamside management techniques for landowners and land managers that reduce erosion, enhance wildlife habitat and improve water quality. Details

Hays Citizens can and should provide input on County Transportation Plan, comments are due December 8th

Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) has taken time to carefully review the draft Hays County Transportation Plan. Help spread the word in Hays County that now is the time to review and comment. This plan is BIG and CARD points out several valid concerns. Please review carefully and speak up.

Save the Date – Regional Livability Symposium February 15 in Austin

Mark your calendars and keep an eye on our events page for more information about Envision Central Texas’ regional livability symposium, “Water: Key to Our Future”, February 15th, 2013 at the University of Texas Union – Details

Llano River landowners – You’re invited to participate in a Watershed Protection Plan

Please forward and help us reach more landowners along the Llano River. The first meeting of the Watershed Coordination Committee will be meeting December 11th at Texas Tech in Junction. Input and involvement from local citizens is so important. Protecting our watersheds is the best way to protect long-term water supply for our growing region. Learn more

Help 4th and 5th graders learn about our water

Please inform your neighborhood school and contact your children’s teachers directly. TWDB is now taking orders for their award winning Major Rivers Educational Program. Here’s a great opportunity to engage the next generation about how to care for water resources wisely. Learn More

November 21, 2012

Last Call at the Oasis – Wednesday the 28th at the Paramount!

“This film event is the first of four shows in our newly launched Beautiful World Series. The Paramount is proud to partner with The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation on this series. We look forward to sharing these events, covering current and important topics about celebrating, preserving and protecting our planet.” More event details including how to order tickets here.

LCRA hands down compromise emergency drought order

“The water release planning for 2013 has been the subject of a collision of interests as drought drags on in the region,” Read the Statesman report here. This decision is described as “incomprehensible” by some, read the news from the Highland Lakes Highlander here. The bottom line is that everyone needs to conserve and start thinking a whole new way about water use, this battle has just begun.

Blue Hole Regional Park continues to win awards!

The Texas Municipal League (“TML”) has presented the City of Wimberley with the 2012 Municipal Excellence Award for Public Works for cities of less than 25,000 population. The award recognizes the City for the unique design and development of the Blue Hole Regional Park. “The Park protects sacred Hill Country flora and fauna, water quality, and land forms through sustainable programming and design, native landscape restoration and habitat protection,” said Mayor Flocke. “It’s a true Texas treasure.” Learn More

TWDB Accepting Applications for the 2012 Texas Rain Catcher Award

Applications are being accepted for the 2012 Texas Rain Catcher Award. The Texas Water Development Board holds the annual competition to promote the technology, educate the public in the practice of harvesting rainwater, and recognize excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas. The competition is open to all individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities, and local and state governmental entities in Texas. The deadline for submitting an entry is December 31. Learn More

November 19, 2012

“This Riparian stuff is not Rocket Science…”

“The water challenges of Texas will never be resolved until more people understand how creeks and rivers work, including the vital role of voluntary land stewardship, which helps sustain flows and maintain water quality. Landowners, policy makers, agencies, conservation and agricultural organizations all need to work together with greater cooperation to help sustain, maintain and restore the most precious and valuable natural resources that we have.”Read and share Steve Nelle’s Riparian notes.

Private Lands/Public Benefits: Farmland = Drinking Water

By recognizing that healthy working lands provide clean water, an unlikely alliance of New York City officials and upstate farmers came together in the early 1990’s to create a unique watershed protection program. The ground-breaking program protected the purity of the region’s water without inflicting onerous regulations that would have decimated the region’s agricultural industry. Learn more

November 15, 2012

“Market Based Conservation and Managing for Endangered Species”

This webinar covers incentive opportunities for private landowners to manage for ecosystem services and rare and endangered species, habitat identification and management, a review of several Market Based Conservation Projects that are underway in Texas and other states, and more! Presented by Brian Hays, Texas A&M for the TWA webinar series. Can’t make the live webinar? All webinars are archived and available for viewing following the initial air date at the TWA website.

November 13, 2012

TX SWCDS Express Concern Over Current Sand Mining Operations

Texas soil and water conservation district directors representing 216 Texas SWCDs attending their 72nd Annual Meeting October 29-31 in Bastrop unanimously agreed through a resolution to seek legislation and the cooperative efforts of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to effect legislation and regulations requiring companies that commercially mine sand to be required to complete the reclamation of their mining operations for the purpose of maintaining air and water quality. More from Mason County News.

Capturing Community Wealth and Using it for Community Good

As the current older generation departs the scene, and as the baby boomers follow them, untold billions of dollars will pass from one generation to the next. In rural Texas, much of that wealth will migrate to the major metro areas in Texas and beyond, unless we take measures to counteract that out-flow. This forum will tell the story of the impending transfer of wealth and share successful methods that are being used to capture that wealth before it disappears from our rural communities. December 7th in Fredericksburg, brought to you by Texas Rural Innovators. Details

H2O4Texas Founder Discusses Water Shortages, Water Plan

Joey Park is the founding member of H2O4Texas. He told listeners at the South Texans’ Property Rights Association annual meeting that Texas has a water plan, though many people don’t know about it. “That brings us to a problem. That’s all it’s been: a book on the shelf for the last 10 years. We have not done anything about it except refer to it as our State Water Plan.” It is a serious document, though, with a list of things that need to be done, can be done and will be done to address the water needs of the state. It is missing a couple of things, namely funding. Read full Livestock Weekly article.

November 12, 2012

Looking for Water Data?

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has recently announced a helpful new website: This resource will provide the most comprehensive information available on Texas reservoir conditions, plus it is easy to access and very user friendly. Also, the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts has just unveiled a great database of Groundwater Conservation District information. Compare what GCD’s are doing across the state.

With drier forecast, LCRA staff suggests less water be released for rice farmers in 2013

After a month of below-normal rainfall and under pressure from Central Texas officials and businesses, Lower Colorado River Authority staff members are recommending that the utility release less water in 2013 to downstream rice farmers than the current state-approved water plan requires. The LCRA board could make a decision on the matter, which pits downstream agricultural interests against urban upstream residents and businesses, this week.More from The Central Texas Water Coalition (CTWC) has been pushing hard on this issue, they have inspired a resolution campaign. “The water we have in the Lakes is precious, limited, and must be protected; there is no new water; and your voice can help protect our water and our future.” Learn more about CTWC here. The LCRA Board Meeting Agenda is available here.

November 7, 2012

Starry Skies at Enchanted Rock Thursday, November 15th

Join us for “Better Lights for Starry Nights”. The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is taking action to retrofit their own lighting – learn simple steps you can take to protect our beautiful Hill Country night skies. “Bill Wren of the McDonald Observatory will share his expertise on the importance of protecting the starry skies. Wren has been an astronomer at the observatory for more than 20 years. Like many of us, he developed an interest in looking at the stars as a child.” Read a wonderful Editorial from the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post here. Download a Starry Skies event flyer here. To learn more about the Hill Country Night Sky issue click here.

Great video clip about Edwards Aquifer Protection

San Antonio program steps outside city limits to protect water source: SA buys easements from willing landowners to protect aquifer. This two-minute video from KSAT tells a great Hill Country conservation story. Listen and learn.

The greatest grassland myth of the Texas Hill Country

Myths and misperceptions are common in the realm of nature and natural resource management. Some myths are harmless folklore and not really worth much debate. Other myths are more significant since they can affect natural resource decisions and influence public policy. One of the most oft repeated myths involves the historic landscape vegetation of the Hill Country…“The Hill Country was once vast open grassland with only scattered brush and trees.”Read full Texas Wildlife Magazine article.

Austin commits another $30 million for Land Conservation!

Hill Country voters keep on proving they value open space and land conservation. Yesterday, Austin passed another bond election that includes $30 million to buy land or easements in environmentally fragile areas to protect those areas from development. “I think the bonds passing reflects Austin’s determination to have a high quality of life,” said George Cofer, executive director of the Hill Country Conservancy. “The voters of this town have shown they will do whatever it takes to make that happen.” Read more from the Statesman.

November 5, 2012

Government Canyon may add hundreds of new acres, Colin McDonald, San Antonio Express-News

“The second-highest point in Bexar County and the 461 acres around it could soon become part of Government Canyon State Natural Area – the culmination of several years of negotiations with a developer inclined to protect the land rather than bulldoze it. Hisler (past Superintendent) said she watched Lowder, 54, a successful developer from Dallas, slowly change his focus from profits to ensuring that the land would be around for future generations to enjoy. “This is being preserved in perpetuity for my grandkids,” Lowder said in a phone interview. “It’s a win-win for everybody.” Read more from San Antonio Express News here…

Join Imagine San Antonio this Friday

“Growing for the Future” – A look at regional and state population projections; demographic, economic and geographic shifts; impacts on housing, transportation and the built environment. Be part of the dialog this Friday, November 9th from 7:45am – 1:30pm at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio. Learn more here…

Thanks to many volunteers and participants, the Rainwater Revival was a huge success

Roughly 900 people attended throughout the day sharing tips about home system installations, learning about sustainable living in the Hill Country and exploring complex water resource issues facing our region. More than $2,400 was raised for our school grant program. We plan on returning to Boerne in 2013! Thank you Boerne for your hospitality. Learn More

November 1, 2012

Comal County continues to work on a Groundwater District

Comal County (along with Western Travis County), landowners and residents are vulnerable to groundwater depletion because a Groundwater Conservation District has not yet been created – TCEQ considered a multi-county GCD to fill this gap back in 2010. Now Comal County stakeholders are recommending the creation of a District. Read more from the San Antonio Express News here…