Director’s Notes: December 2016

Director’s Notes: December 2016

  • December 20, 2016
  • News

Warm Wishes for the Holiday Season! As 2016 winds to a close, I have found myself both reflecting on the significant milestones that HCA achieved in the past 12 months as well as looking ahead to the promise of all that 2017 holds. Sitting in the audience at a Rural Planning and Development workshop that HCA hosted this month in Bandera, I was struck by the immense energy and creativity emanating from the crowd of community leaders that had gathered from…

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It’s not just Corpus Christi – Water infrastructure is a problem across Texas

It’s not just Corpus Christi – Water infrastructure is a problem across Texas

  • December 19, 2016
  • News

Officials lifted the three-and-a-half day ban on the use of tap water in Corpus Christi on Sunday. Residents can now use the water for drinking, showering and washing clothes and dishes. The source of the contamination has been linked to a nearby asphalt plant, but city officials have not yet named a responsible party. As the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and others have reported, there have been four water quality advisories – including this most recent one – in the past…

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Hill Country Land Trust Video: Reading the Land

Hill Country Land Trust Video: Reading the Land

The Hill Country Land Trust has released their fourth video in a series of videos on land management topics. Reading the Land explains the importance of knowing how to interpret the condition of your land by acquiring an intimate, knowledge of plants, soils, animals and their role in maintaining healthy land.  Careful and patient observation of site specific qualities is essential in order to make sound and realistic management decisions that can best help your land improve and self-heal.  Learn more…

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Arctic cold front sweeps across Texas

Arctic cold front sweeps across Texas

  • December 19, 2016
  • News

“When the arctic cold front blew through Austin area Saturday evening, the temperature at Camp Mabry dropped from 68 degrees at 7:00 pm to 42 degrees by 9:00 pm.  That was a drop of 26 degrees in 2 hours!  By midnight the temperature had dropped all the way to 34 degrees.  For the calendar day, the temperature went from a high of 76 degrees to a low of 34 degrees; a difference of 42 degrees.  According to the National Weather…

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Opinion: San Antonio needs strong stormwater policies

Opinion: San Antonio needs strong stormwater policies

  • December 18, 2016
  • News

How long will San Antonio residents be required to subsidize the city’s developers at the cost of our own safety, health and pocketbooks?  Except for a few visionaries, our city representatives and staff continue to be appallingly shortsighted and reactionary, supporting policies that lead to flooding and health hazards, and amount to welfare for developers. It’s high time to implement the proven policies of water management, outlined in the Davila-Gibbons articles, that promote flood control, clean waterways and a sustainable…

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Effort to fight Arundo ramps up along Hill Country rivers

Effort to fight Arundo ramps up along Hill Country rivers

  • December 15, 2016
  • News

A coalition of government and nonprofit conservation groups is expanding the war on Arundo (Arundo donax), an invasive plant that threatens to take over scenic Hill Country rivers. It’s one aspect of a broader statewide effort made possible by a record $6.3 million to control invasive aquatic species approved by the Texas Legislature for the 2016-17 biennium, an increase from $1.1 million in the previous two-year cycle. Like fire ants and feral hogs, Arundo does not belong in Texas, but…

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Hill Country Science Mill Bridges the Urban/Rural Divide

Hill Country Science Mill Bridges the Urban/Rural Divide

  • December 15, 2016
  • News

With the holidays upon us, many families will be staring at blank calendar days, wondering what to do with restless kids. A trip to the Hill Country Science Mill is a welcome alternative to the sugar-fueled, gift-obsessed holiday vortex. In addition to a day of family fun and scientific exploration, it might hold one key to healing the schism between urban and rural communities in America. The old feed mill on Main Street in Johnson City, Texas was a local landmark…

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Black-capped vireo no longer considered endangered

Black-capped vireo no longer considered endangered

  • December 15, 2016
  • News

In the latest turn in the divisive saga involving rare Central Texas species, the population of a songbird has recovered enough for it to move off the endangered species list, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials announced Wednesday. The lifting of habitat protections for the black-capped vireo, long a bulwark against development, is unlikely to open long-restricted areas to construction or road building, given the number of other species that remain protected. But property rights groups and some birders greeted the…

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EPA Raises Questions About Dripping Springs Wastewater

EPA Raises Questions About Dripping Springs Wastewater

  • December 15, 2016
  • News

Onion Creek may yet dodge the bullet – more precisely, the treated wastewater discharge requested by the city of Dripping Springs as an alternative to the current practice of spraying the effluent on land, where it is less likely to pollute nearby creeks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has written to the Texas Commission on Environ­ment­al Quality (which is considering the draft permit), requesting more information and suggesting that the TCEQ’s water quality standards are inadequate to protect the creek.…

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Hill Country Alliance hosts government planning session

Hill Country Alliance hosts government planning session

  • December 15, 2016
  • News

The Hill Country Alliance recently hosted a public forum  in which government officials from Bandera, San Antonio, Austin and other Texas Hill Country communities came together to discuss implementing plans they have for their cities. The points of the forum were to cover specific issues in the Texas Hill Country communities, have the Texas Hill Country officials learn from one another and help the cities enlarge their networks. Presenters recommended cities ask themselves if they knew who owned their Master…

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