Reserve a big part of local dark sky efforts

Reserve a big part of local dark sky efforts

  • December 13, 2018
  • News

The stars at night are big and bright … for now. But encroaching development and lights are making our views of the nightly heavens less heavenly. But several communities and individuals are working to see that this part of the Hill Country can still focus upward for inspiration and awe at night and see the Milky Way in all its glory. A Dark Sky Reserve area is being planned with Enchanted Rock State Natural Area serving as its center. The…

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TCEQ grants hearing on Vulcan quarry project

TCEQ grants hearing on Vulcan quarry project

  • December 13, 2018
  • News

As expected, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Wednesday granted numerous requests for a contested hearing on an application by Vulcan Construction Materials for an air permit to operate a limestone quarry in Comal County. If approved, the project would be developed on a 1,500-acre site at the intersection of Texas 46 and FM 3009. It could be operational for 80 years. The commission also designated 12 people and two organizations as “affected parties,” giving them standing to have…

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Austin’s Water Forward plan is a bold step into the future

Austin’s Water Forward plan is a bold step into the future

  • December 11, 2018
  • News

One of the clearest threats to the future of the Texas economy and the well-being of our communities is the lack of water. During times of drought, supplies are already stretched razor thin in many areas of the state – so, what will happen when our state’s population more than doubles in the coming decades? Millions of Texans could be left high and dry. This is not an issue that we can afford to ignore, and last week the City of…

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Report: Edwards Aquifer at greater risk with climate change, population growth

Report: Edwards Aquifer at greater risk with climate change, population growth

The Edwards Aquifer could be at risk in the next 50 years as a result of warmer temperatures and more frequent and severe droughts, compounded by population growth. “These climate change impacts will be exacerbated in central Texas’s rapidly urbanizing regions, as increasing impervious cover will affect water quality and rates of runoff and recharge,” stated the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a 1,656-page report released by the federal government. Officials in California, Florida and other coastal states are increasingly concerned…

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Texas parks department, advocates pushing Congress to reauthorize key conservation fund

Texas parks department, advocates pushing Congress to reauthorize key conservation fund

The chief of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the absence of the 54-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund is a “substantial loss” for state parks and natural areas. With Congress set to adjourn next week, parks advocates are pushing for lawmakers to revive a half-century-old program that has pumped more than a half-billion dollars into Texas’ parks and natural areas. Congress let the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) expire on Sept. 30. The fund — established in…

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Wharton County reservoir key in updated Colorado River management plan

Wharton County reservoir key in updated Colorado River management plan

  • December 10, 2018
  • News

A long-running feud pitting Austin-area lakeside communities against farmers downriver could settle down with proposed changes to a water management plan for the Highland Lakes. The pending update to what’s essentially a user’s manual for operating the river could mean that more water will stay in Central Texas because of a new reservoir designed to help quench thirsty rice farms. The Arbuckle Reservoir, scheduled to come online in 2019, will store water for agricultural use in Wharton and Matagorda counties…

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Agency: Cost to curb Texas flooding over 10 years is $31.5B

Agency: Cost to curb Texas flooding over 10 years is $31.5B

  • December 10, 2018
  • News

DALLAS — The cost to curtail damaging flooding across Texas over the next 10 years is more than $31.5 billion and state officials are urging lawmakers to adopt legislation meant to end a cycle of “repairing and rebuilding,” according to a series of recommendations released Thursday. The Texas Water Development Board provided the recommendations to lawmakers ahead of the legislative session that begins next month. They’re part of an updated Texas Water Development Board flood assessment report that says coastal…

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Big Bend Conservation Alliance hires Executive Director

Big Bend Conservation Alliance hires Executive Director

  • December 7, 2018
  • News

Alpine – The Big Bend Conservation Alliance (BBCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of James “J.D.” Newsom as Executive Director. Born and raised in Midland, J.D. grew up surfing the Monahans Sandhills, swimming at Balmorhea, camping at the Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch, and hiking through Big Bend National Park. “J.D.’s passion for the region, as well as his incredible experience managing non-profits made him an ideal candidate for the job,” said BBCA board member, Matt Lara. Mr. Newsom has…

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Locals ready to fight 430-mile gas pipeline

Locals ready to fight 430-mile gas pipeline

  • December 7, 2018
  • News

As Houston-based company Kinder Morgan moves ahead on a proposed 430-mile underground natural gas pipeline that could bisect Hays County, local landowners worry the project could harbor a negative environmental impact. Bill Johnson, owner of the historic Halifax and 6F ranches and whose land could be affected by the project, said he opposes the pipeline as it encroaches on land that has been nearly untouched for generations. “I’m very upset about the idea of them coming to something that’s treasured…

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As we grow, streams and rivers need TLC

As we grow, streams and rivers need TLC

  • December 4, 2018
  • News

There were four of five things going on in town last Thursday that I wanted to attend. Typical night in the busy ’Burg, huh? One of them I had to let pass was a forum at Schreiner University dealing with water pollution sponsored by the Hill Country Alliance. Fortunately, Texas Public Radio recorded and archived the talk, which can be found at www.tpr.org/post/balancing-population-growth-and-healthy-rivers-texas. Ann Rogers Harrison, water quality program leader with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, served as moderator. Panelists…

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