October 25, 2012

Texas Parks, Towns Embrace Dark Sky Movement

In recent years, Texas’ state parks have struggled with falling visitor numbers and budget cuts. These days, in their quest to lure people back, the parks are promoting opportunities for night-sky viewing, away from city lights. Read more from Texas Tribune.

October 25, 2012

Tighter Conservation Water Rules Needed

In light of the continuing rapid growth of Bexar County and the San Antonio Water System’s customer base, plus the ongoing climate change effects upon our region, we should consider that what is now Stage I should become the “new normal” for SAWS. Read Mike Mecke’s guest commentary published in the San Antonio Express News here…

October 24, 2012

Early Voting begins

Time to Vote! Early voting has begun. Don’t put this off, your vote is too important. Scroll down the ballot and pay close attention to your local Groundwater Conservation District and County Commissioner races. Find out who, what, where, when, how here.

Why Texas Rice Farmers May Get Water Next Year

Once again, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is coming under fire from some Central Texans. The reason? A recommendation by agency staff that could lead to water being sent downstream next year for rice farming. Read more from State Impact.

October 22, 2012

Rainwater Revival Offers Down-to-Earth Ways to Save Water Resources and Money

Saving money on your water bill and saving precious water resources go hand-in-hand when you collect free water from the sky for your indoor or outdoor water use. “This is a one-stop place to learn about water catchment from a variety of professionals and homeowners – some live entirely on rainwater, some use rain catchment only for outside irrigation,” said Karen Ford, Chair of the Rainwater Revival and owner of a Hill Country public affairs company.Learn more.

Purchase a beautiful Rain Barrel and help a Hill Country school project

Beautifully painted Rain Barrels, functional works of art, will be auctioned off this Saturday at the Rainwater Revival. If you fall in love with one of these rain barrels, you can buy it now and we’ll deliver the barrel to your door. The proceeds from all sales will fund grants to help regional schools initiate rainwater harvesting and native landscaping projects. Download this flyer and help spread the word in your community.

Water misers have low bills

Mary Lou and Macon Roemer are water misers. In August, they used less than half the average number of gallons as did their neighbors, yet their yard is no desert landscape of rocks and cactus. The Roemers, whose house was featured on the 2012 Watersaver Landscape Tour, are among a growing group of homeowners who’ve found ways to reduce their water use. Their strategies save money and provide a way to maintain a nice-looking landscape during times of drought. More from MySA.com.

Whooping Crane Migration Watch Gets Under Way

Endangered whooping cranes have begun their annual 2,400-mile fall migration from Canada to Texas. As the rare birds approach Texas, a new citizen science initiative is inviting Texas residents and visitors to help collect sightings of whoopers. Details

LCRA staff recommends against cutting off rice farmers for second year

In the most recent signal that drought conditions have eased since 2011, the staff of the Lower Colorado River Authority recommended last week that board members not seek emergency power from the state to cut off water next year for rice farmers. That’s a reversal from September 2011, when the LCRA’s board approved an emergency plan to cut off water to rice farmers if less than 850,000 acre-feet of water was stored in lakes Travis and Buchanan, the LCRA’s two main reservoirs, on March 1 of this year. More from Statesman.com.

Medina Lake Preservation Society, Awards event Saturday, November 17th

In addition to presenting the annual “Buoy Awards” to five distinguished community leaders, the program will included guest speaker, Matt Synatschk of the Texas Historical Commission to speak about tourism and economic development through preservation strategies. Learn more about the Medina Lake Preservation Society (MLPS) here. Sponsorships for the awards banquet are available, seating is limited. More information about this event here.

October 16, 2012

Time had come for city to register private water wells

The northern segment of the Edwards Aquifer, which stretches from Lady Bird Lake to the Lampasas River, is lightly regulated, unlike the southern Barton Springs segment, which is controlled by the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. The district restricts the drilling of water wells and has the authority to limit the amount of water that can be pumped during a severe drought. Read more from Statesman.com.

Austin voters to consider water quality protection purchases on November ballot

“Development-rights deals keep the land in private hands and typically involve no access to the general public.” This is one of the best Hill Country strategies for improving water supply and water quality while protecting heritage ranch lands. The cities of Austin and San Antonio and Travis, Hays and Bexar Counties have had tremendous success with bond initiatives. HCA’s research indicates that it’s feasible for other high growth counties such as Kendall, Kerr, Comal and Blanco to do the same. Read more from the American Statesman. More from Statesman.com.

October 15, 2012

National Audubon Society promoting bipartisan conservation message

“Conservation is not left, right or center—it’s common sense. Let’s send our leaders a message: stop playing politics with the planet.” Read more and take the pledge here. Visit the Eagle’s Nest blog, a gathering place for concerned conservationists, regardless of political affiliation. Its purpose is to deepen our common values and aspirations for the planet.

SAWS told to better manage its water

“We need to be very careful in not misleading the people that we can build our way out of this problem,” he said, noting the loss of agriculture and undeveloped land is a direct threat to water quality and that no amount of reservoirs or pipelines could replace the water needed if Texas loses the natural systems it is dependent on. Read more from SA Express-News.

Chasing Monarchs on the Llano River with Dr. Chip Taylor, Champion of Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Watch founder Dr. Chip Taylor visits ranch along the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country. His prescription: cultivate seeds, plugs and plants of more native milkweed species through a Texas version of Bring Back the Monarchs, an innovative prairie restoration program that NPSOT is importing from Kansas. Why the Texas focus? ”It’s the most important state. Spring conditions in Texas determine Monarchs numbers,” he told the NPSOT audience.Learn More

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. “Bandera Middle School is right on the mark, setting a great example for schools throughout Central Texas by capturing not only rainwater, but amazing amounts of condensation from the school’s air conditioning system to use to water the grounds.” Read More

October 8, 2012

Calling all Llano River landowners

If you, or someone you know, owns land or has a special interest in the Upper Llano River Watershed, please participate Tuesday (Tomorrow) October 9th, at 6:30pm in Junction. This will be the second in a series of watershed planning stakeholder meetings intended to come up with strategies to keep this healthy watershed clean and flowing for generations to come. Learn more – be involved!

October 7, 2012

Forward to Nature

A powerful vision for the future of the Hill Country – that’ what we’re talking about! Check out another great read from Richard Louv who brought us the Children in Nature movement, “The new nature movement isn’t about going back to nature, but forward to a nature-rich civilization.”

October 5, 2012

Public Meeting will address Water Quality concerns on the Pedernales River

A new sand and gravel operation along the Pedernales River, just downstream from Fredericksburg is seeking a permit through the Texas Pollution Discharge Elimination System at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The purpose of the meeting is for members of the public to present questions to the operators of Sunbelt Sand and for the TCEQ staff to hear and address public concerns about the permit. Details, questions and concerns.

We Can’t Do It Alone

David K. Langford tells an eloquent story about his family’s longstanding connection to the land, and about a problem he is facing that is bigger than even he can deal with. With an earnestness that reveals his passion, David describes how his ranch’s natural springs and creeks that are so vital to the health and diversity of his land are being jeopardized by an external threat over which he has little to no control. Read More

Telling graphic of private wells on the rise in Central Texas

Private wells are on the rise, mostly for landscape irrigation. Take a look at this story from the most recent edition of the BSEACD Aquifer Bulletin. While groundwater conservation districts (GCD’s) are the preferred method of groundwater management in Texas, it’s important to remember that Western Travis County and Western Comal Counties still have not created (GCDs). Learn more from HCA and BSEACD.

October 4, 2012

Keeping our Water Healthy: New Easements to Protect Edwards Aquifer

Over the next few months, San Antonio City Council will begin considering recommendations from the Conservation Advisory Board (CAB), signaling the commencement of the current round of the $90 million sales-tax-funded, voter-approved Edwards Aquifer Protection Program. Read more from the Rivard Report.

The Art of Rainwater Harvest 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. In addition to the eight artistically interpreted rain barrels that will be auctioned off to raise funds for school water conservation programs, visitors at the free event will have the opportunity to hear a number of experts discuss all types of rainwater catchment and water conservation techniques. Learn More

October 2, 2012

Board delaying vote on new drought rules

The board of the San Antonio Water System voted Tuesday to postpone its vote on new drought restrictions after hearing requests to do so from irrigation and environmental groups. Read more from SA Express-News.

October 1, 2012

Aldo Leopold’s field notes score a lost “soundscape”

Aldo Leopold recognized that you can get a pretty good sense of land health by listening to the soundscape. If sounds are missing and things are there that shouldn’t be, it often indicates underlying ecological problems. Read More