HCA Director’s Notes – August 2017

HCA Director’s Notes – August 2017

  • August 17, 2017
  • News

How often in Texas can we say that August began on a refreshing note? Well, it’s thankfully true for the Hill Country as rain brought relief to the dry land and cracked creek beds that naturally accompanies summers in the Lone Star State. Although the temperatures are back up and soil moisture is creeping back down, those early August rains also serve as a reminder that summer is winding down to an end and a new season is just around…

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Neighborhood in Travis County designated a “Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction”

Neighborhood in Travis County designated a “Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction”

  • August 16, 2017
  • News

River Hills Neighborhood Association (RHNA) has been formally designated a Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). River Hills is a small Travis County neighborhood in the foothills of the Hill Country. In this tranquil area, big dark skies and clear starry nights still exist and provide a spectacular view of one of Texas’ great natural legacies. IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend notes: “The announcement of the River Hills Neighborhood as an IDA Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction…

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Chronic wasting disease continues to spread

An always-fatal neurologic disease is contributing to declines in Western deer and elk herds and raising the possibility of local extinctions. Bryan Richards, chronic wasting disease project leader within the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, has seen clear patterns of increasing spread and prevalence. “Where it’s established, it’s spreading and growing,” he said. “We have a lot of geographic areas with relatively recent detections, and we really do not have a very effective arsenal of tools with which…

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Groundwater Ownership in Texas

Groundwater is an integral part of the land, and private landowners have a vested ownership interest in the groundwater below the surface of their land. The Texas Constitution and more than 100 years of case law support this position. Secure, protectable property rights best assure conservation and stewardship of all resources, including groundwater. Not only does this provide the landowner a right to produce, but it ensures the ability to conserve groundwater if there is no rush to produce under…

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Branch Towers and T-Mobile Curtail Plans to Build Cell Tower

Branch Towers and T-Mobile Curtail Plans to Build Cell Tower

  • August 16, 2017
  • News

Thanks to some quick community organizing and excellent volunteer leadership from residents of Vanderpool, plans to build a new cell tower on the banks of the Sabinal River have been shifted to instead utilize an existing cell tower. With the help of HCA, Vanderpool residents reached out to those around the state who love this special corner of the Hill Country. Through petitions, letter writing campaigns, and a resolution from the Bandera County Commissioners Court, Vanderpool residents and their supporters…

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HCA board member Kathleen Tobin Krueger to take over Edwards Aquifer Authority board seat

HCA board member Kathleen Tobin Krueger to take over Edwards Aquifer Authority board seat

  • August 16, 2017
  • News

Dalondo Moultrie | Herald-Zeitung | New Braunfels resident Kathleen Tobin Krueger, a former mayor pro tem, was scheduled yesterday to be appointed to a vacated seat on the Edwards Aquifer Authority board of directors. Krueger is taking over for Craig Massouh, who was appointed to the board in 2012 and subsequently elected the same year. She said her appointment to Massouh’s unexpired term ends in November 2018, when an election will be held for the seat. “My personal history in…

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Abbott signs bill limiting annexation powers of cities

Abbott signs bill limiting annexation powers of cities

  • August 15, 2017
  • News

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 6, which requires cities in large counties to receive voter approval before annexing new areas, one of his top 20 priorities for the special legislative session. “I’m proud to sign legislation ending forced annexation practices, which is nothing more than a form of taxation without representation, and I thank the Legislature for their attention to this important issue during the special session,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. Abbott’s signature was…

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In South Texas, Threat of Border Wall Unites Naturalists and Politicians

In South Texas, Threat of Border Wall Unites Naturalists and Politicians

  • August 13, 2017
  • News

Last month, Marianna Wright, the executive director of the privately owned National Butterfly Center here, discovered survey stakes on the property marking out a 150-foot-wide swath of land. Ms. Wright later encountered a work crew cutting down trees and brush along a road through the center. The workers said they had been hired by United States Customs and Border Protection to clear the land. “You mean my land?” Ms. Wright asked, before kicking them out… Read more from the New York Times

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Infill Development Could Make or Break San Antonio

Infill Development Could Make or Break San Antonio

  • August 13, 2017
  • News

San Antonio is changing. Just a few years ago the city saw the odd infill project here and there among the rehabs of historic homes in King William or Monte Vista. These days, infill projects are everywhere in the collar neighborhoods – the ring of historic streetcar suburbs around downtown. Lavaca, Dignowity Hill, and Tobin Hill have experienced the greatest price-point pressure, but it’s ubiquitous – Mahncke Park, Beacon Hill, Government Hill, River Road, Lone Star, Westfort, Roosevelt, and Alta…

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Volunteers clean up South Llano River

Volunteers clean up South Llano River

  • August 10, 2017
  • News

On Friday, August 4th intrepid volunteers from the Texas Master Naturalist Program met with the Llano River Watershed Alliance, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and Hill Country Alliance to clean up a portion of the South Llano River south of Junction, Texas. They started at the County Road 150 river crossing, a site that is part of TPWD’s River Access and Conservation Areas (RACA) program. At this and two other river crossings, volunteers picked up trash and broadcast a…

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