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. 
Pride, Passion and Vision in the Texas Hill Country
Christy Muse
Executive Director of the Hill Country Alliance
There’s a lot of love and pride in the Texas Hill Country. It’s a place of rugged beauty, cool, clear swimming holes, and passionate people. Putting that love, pride, and passion into action toward a common vision is what the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is all about.
For past generations, this vast region of wide-open spaces may have seemed invincible and untamable. Caring for a Hill Country ranch has never been easy. Every drop of water must count, and the limited carrying capacity of the land is a challenge. We have seen best practices for taking care of this land evolve over the years, and it’s encouraging to note the Hill Country’s natural landscape today is more beautiful and healthier than it was years ago when heavily grazed.
Central Texas is experiencing some of the highest rates of growth in the country, creating a whole new set of issues for the landowner community. We are losing working lands and wide-open spaces at an alarming rate—partly because of development pressure and partly because the family ranch is not easy to hold on to these days. Even the most thoughtful, resourceful, well-intentioned private land stewards face a very vulnerable situation wondering how and when a development, infrastructure, or industrial project might impact their land… Read full Mitchel Foundation blog post