Young Pioneers set their sights on protecting the night skies

Young Pioneers set their sights on protecting the night skies

  • February 28, 2018
  • News

Recently the High School special projects group called the Young Pioneers has added a new direction to their program to support and educate the public regarding some other stars in Mason. In addition to their rainwater catchment project, they have begun to look at ways they can have a positive impact on the preservation of our local dark skies and the night time enjoyment of all of the stars that we can see here in Mason County. On Monday morning…

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State permit sought for second concrete plant on Texas 46 east of Boerne

State permit sought for second concrete plant on Texas 46 east of Boerne

  • February 26, 2018
  • News

A concrete batch plant proposed on Texas 46 by Vulcan Materials has sparked intense opposition, including from Kendall County, but a similar project taking shape just down the highway has garnered comparatively little attention. Corvara West LLC applied last July for a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality permit to mix and load concrete at 236 E. Texas 46, a 20-acre site just east of Boerne and a few miles west of the Vulcan site. TCEQ received only three comments on…

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What can Nebraska teach the American West about managing water? A lot.

What can Nebraska teach the American West about managing water? A lot.

Nebraska is one of the top producers of corn, soybeans and hogs in the country. With 91 percent of the state’s total land area dedicated to agricultural production, a lot of water is needed to support all of Nebraska’s farms and ranches. Fortunately, the state sits atop one of the largest underground aquifers in the world. The High Plains Aquifer, commonly referred to as the Ogallala Aquifer, underlies parts of eight states from Texas to South Dakota, and is a…

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Cape Town Pushes Back ‘Day Zero’ as Residents Conserve Water

Cape Town Pushes Back ‘Day Zero’ as Residents Conserve Water

Cape Town residents have drastically lowered their water use, allowing their drought-plagued city to push back the dreaded “Day Zero,” when the system is expected to run dry, by more than 10 weeks. Just three weeks ago, officials were predicting that Cape Town would reach Day Zero — a first for a major city in modern times — in late April, forcing its four million residents to line up at collection points to receive water rations from trucks. Now, after…

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Director’s Report – February 2018

Director’s Report – February 2018

  • February 23, 2018
  • News

February is the month of love! Here at the Hill Country Alliance, one of the things we love most is the wide-open lands of the Hill Country. Rolling hills, deep canyons, wooded grottos, and wide river basins are just a few of the things that define our special region. We share this love by working with landowners and partners across 17 counties to preserve the Hill Country’s open spaces and working ranchlands. As more and more people move to our…

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Commissioners debate the creation and funding of a groundwater conservation district in southwest Travis County

Commissioners debate the creation and funding of a groundwater conservation district in southwest Travis County

Commissioners recently debated over whether to hold an election to create and fund a conservation district that would regulate, protect and conserve the groundwater supply derived from the Trinity Aquifer, one of nine major aquifers in the state. In January 2017, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, recommended to the 85th Legislature that a regulatory entity be created to protect an area over the Trinity Aquifer which is not covered by any groundwater conservation district. State Rep. Paul…

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Emerald Crown Trail: Network of county trails closer to fruition

Emerald Crown Trail: Network of county trails closer to fruition

  • February 23, 2018
  • News

The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance (SMGA), in partnership with San Marcos, Kyle, Buda and other park development agencies, is looking for a way to connect the three biggest cities in Hays County with a trail. The Emerald Crown Trail is a proposed transportation trail that will serve Hays County in non-motorized transit. Unlike other recreational trails in the area, Emerald Crown is a means for citizens to get from point A to point B. The proposed trail is a joint…

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Bandera’s outdoor lighting gets refocused

Bandera’s outdoor lighting gets refocused

  • February 19, 2018
  • News

The Bandera City Council last week endorsed the Dark Skies movement that has swept the Hill Country by modifying its outdoor lighting regulations to get outdoor lights focused downward rather than allowing rays to stray into the night sky. The new outdoor lighting amendment won quick passage from council on Feb. 6 as members agreed changes were needed to preserve the clarity of the stars in the night sky by limiting where light from outdoor fixtures is allowed to shine.…

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Groundwater conservation district up and running

Groundwater conservation district up and running

With no funding, no staff and a board of temporary directors, the Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District is up and running. The body was created with the intent of monitoring and protecting the area’s supply of groundwater, but it must receive voter approval before it can fully perform its functions. State Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin) tried to pass a bill in the last legislative session that would create a groundwater conservation district in the last portion of the Hill…

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As World Eyes Cape Town Water Crisis, Texas Study Explores New Options

As World Eyes Cape Town Water Crisis, Texas Study Explores New Options

It’s a resource so precious that human life can’t be sustained without it, yet so common most of us take it for granted. But water is becoming scarce, a growing problem stemming from wasteful usage and exacerbated by climate change. Cape Town, South Africa, is bracing for Day Zero, when its municipal water supply runs out – likely June 4. Closer to home, Los Angeles endured a record-setting, 3-year drought that ended, just barely, last year, while Georgia and Florida are locked in a…

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