October 30, 2013

Feds Establish National Center to Pick Up the Slack on Sustainable Transportation

Despite transportation becoming cleaner, quieter and safer over the past few decades, little has been done to limit how passenger and freight travel contribute to climate change. That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation this week announced a $5.6 million grant to help six universities establish the National Center for Sustainable Transportation. Read the full article from Nextcity.org.

October 29, 2013

Water is life

For the past 6 years, the free Texas Water Symposium Series has been co-sponsored by Schreiner University, Texas Tech University and the Hill Country Alliance as an open discussion to explore the tangle of perceptions and regulations that ride herd over water use and policy. The most recent event held at Schreiner University, October 24, featured water veteran Weir Labatt as moderator for the panel of Real County Judge Garry Merritt; Joseph Fitzsimons, former chairman of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission; and Sharlene Leurig of Sustainable Water Infrastructure Program at Ceres. Read the guest commentary from Susan M. Sander here.

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. Learn More

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. Details

October 22, 2013

We Love the Texas Master Naturalists in the Hill Country!

This volunteer organization provides hands on training to enhance wildlife and native plant habitats on private lands and in your community. Find helpful resources and events in the most recent Hill Country Chapter newsletter. Find a Master Naturalist Chapter near you here.

October 20, 2013

TPWD Wildlife Diversity Program offers grants to support conservation-related projects

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is accepting proposals through November 3rd to fund conservation-related projects in Texas. Find out more.

Seeing the Milky Way in San Antonio — The Easiest Environmental Problem to Fix

“Whether you’re an astronomer or a casual observer of beauty, if you vacation in the Hill Country, you expect a beautiful landscape during the day and at night. Losing the night sky – like losing the peaceful silence of some Hill Country inns and campsites – would have an impact.” HCA intern Julie Cornelius quoted in the Rivard Report. Read the full story.

October 18, 2013

Landowners alarmed at re-classification of Hill Country streams

Landowners in the western Hill Country have been alarmed by recent reports that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is re-classifying certain non-navigable streams as navigable, thereby converting private property to state land and opening it to the public. Read reports from Caroline Runge of Menard County, a response from TCEQ and letter from Scott Zesch to Livestock Weekly.

Rivard Report highlights an engaging exchange of ideas at the sold out Energy/Water forum in San Antonio

“The audience of about 450 heard from the panel that sustaining the relationship between water and energy depends on a combination of 1) continued strong leadership within and collaboration between SAWS, CPS, and the City of San Antonio, 2) effective growth policies that respect these natural resources and plans for the future, and 3) behavioral changes by the people of San Antonio themselves.” Read the latest from the Rivard Report.

We said, “goodbye” to John Graves this month

“There’s something intangible about the river that flows in most people’s souls, rising in the prolific spring of the mind, coursing through the veins of our experiences and pooling in our hearts. Not surprisingly — given that the ancient bond between man and river formed the very nexus of civilization — some of the world’s greatest books have to do with rivers. Slow down with this memorial written by Mike Cox published in TPWD Magazine.

October 15, 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. Event-goers can admire and purchase rain barrels that have been turned into functional works of art by Hill Country artists. Learn More

Hill Country Alliance information about Proposition 6

Proposition 6, to provide some funding and implementation of the State Water Plan, will appear on the November 6th ballot. Does HCA support everything about the State Water Plan and everything in it? No. Does HCA support the need to prioritize the projects included in the State Water Plan and invest heavily in conservation? YES!” Learn more from HCA.

SAWS reminds us that new legislation means more water conservation freedom!

Install drought-tolerant landscapes; Compost vegetation such as grass clippings, leaves and brush; Leave grass clippings uncollected on turf; Install rain barrels or rain harvesting systems and Convert irrigation systems to drip. Learn more from SAWS.

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. Learn More

October 9, 2013

Water Shortage needs attention

“The Texas Drought: We Can’t Build Our Way Out of It,” Andy Sansom has consistently been delivering this message. A great article from News-Journal.com explains.

The Future of San Antonio: Water and Energy Needs Meet Land Use Planning

In her recent contribution to the Rivard Report, Amy Hardberger explains, “The success of the city depends on a plan that includes all aspects of planning including water and energy needs within a land use context. A city cannot predict demand of resources before first determining who it will service, which is dependent on land use decisions.” This is true over the entire Hill Country region, especially beyond the city limits where counties don’t have any land use planning tools at all. Read Amy’s article here.

October 8, 2013

Cutting off Matagorda Bay’s Water is Unwise and Inconsistent with Texas Law

On September 26th LCRA submitted a request to TCEQ to seek emergency authorization to allow them to diverge from their Water Management Plan and suspend river flows to Matagorda Bay. Learn more from TexasLivingWaters.org.

October 1, 2013

HCA partners with AIA COTE for a Night Sky program in San Antonio!

The San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) is partnering with HCA to host a screening of “The City Dark” and a presentation by Bill Wren of the McDonald Observatory about night sky lighting. Bill has been traveling the Hill Country teaching simple techniques for lighting to protect our starry skies above. This “COTE Cinema event will be held October 17th. Details