Landowners, volunteers wade into riparian restoration effort

Landowners, volunteers wade into riparian restoration effort

While the cooler temperatures March 2 were enough to send some people inside, a number of folks rolled up their sleeves, and pants legs, sowed seeds, and planted vegetation along a stretch of Sandy Creek. “We want to be proactive by doing riparian zone restoration,” Fermin Ortiz said. He and about 25 local landowners, concerned residents, and volunteers gathered along the creek at CR 316 in Llano County. Ortiz and several other residents and landowners are concerned about a sand-mining…

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Rep. Erin Zwiener brings aggregate industry bills

Rep. Erin Zwiener brings aggregate industry bills

Austin, TX — State Representative Erin Zwiener filed four bills to address concerns from House District 45 residents regarding the proliferating aggregate industry. Aggregate operators include concrete batch plants, gravel pits, and stone crushers. With a rapidly growing district, some areas have seen a growing number of aggregate operators who are unconcerned with being good neighbors to the community around them. “I’m working with my Hill Country neighbors, Representatives Terry Wilson and Andy Murr, to provide comprehensive oversight for aggregate…

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J. David Bamberger on fifty years of coaxing his Blanco county ranch back to life

J. David Bamberger on fifty years of coaxing his Blanco county ranch back to life

On an overcast day in early February, J. David Bamberger charged down a trail at his ranch near Blanco, pointing out maples he’d planted more than a decade ago. The ninety-year-old land conservationist wanted to determine why the leaves of some of the trees turned orange last fall, while those on others became deep red or golden yellow. To collect the data he sought, he needed to clear the brush from around each maple. The former door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman…

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UPDATE: Georgetown evacuations continue for third week after natural gas leak

UPDATE: Georgetown evacuations continue for third week after natural gas leak

  • March 20, 2019
  • News

The evacuation of 64 businesses and 57 homes in Georgetown due to the results of an initial natural gas leak continued Monday, according to a news release from Atmos Energy. The company would not say when it planned to lift the evacuation order, which started Feb. 20. “Out of an abundance of caution, evacuations will remain in place until we are confident it is safe to re-occupy the structures,” the release said. The number of businesses and home evacuated have…

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Texas Stream Team honored by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Texas Stream Team honored by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

The Texas Stream Team, part of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, received a Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Governor Greg Abbott and TCEQ commissioners selected 10 winners in nine categories. The awards recognize efforts to use less water or energy, educate the public about natural resources and reduce pollution. “I am proud to announce this year’s winners,” said TCEQ Chairman Jon Niermann. “Not only are they innovative,…

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New report by the Texas Land Trust Council highlights over $1 billion in annual economic benefits of conserved lands to flood mitigation, agriculture, water resources

New report by the Texas Land Trust Council highlights over $1 billion in annual economic benefits of conserved lands to flood mitigation, agriculture, water resources

The new study, produced by Siglo Group in partnership with the Texas Land Trust Council, quantifies the value of lands and conservation easements that have been conserved by or with assistance from the Texas land trust community. Values for benefits provided by these conserved lands were calculated using an ecosystem services approach. Specifically, the study assessed the more than 1.6 million acres of open space lands that have been compiled into a statewide conserved lands database by TLTC members, and evaluated those acres for the services they offer Texas in terms water quality, water quantity, flood prevention, and…

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Going dark to reconnect to the night sky

Going dark to reconnect to the night sky

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

For those who missed it, Feb. 19 brought a super snow moon, the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year. Social media and national news sites lit up with spectacular photos of the event, with an unusually large full moon rising above the horizon. Although reminding us of the beauty of the night sky, similar events can also highlight the spread of light pollution, which dramatically limits celestial views and deprives us of those awe-inspiring encounters with the night sky.…

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How a Central Texas community is preparing for wildfires before an emergency happens

How a Central Texas community is preparing for wildfires before an emergency happens

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

Last month, the Lubbock Avalanche Journal reported that though wildfire season typically begins in March, West Texas is seeing wildfires even earlier in the year. As a result, lots of communities have a plan of action for wildfires. But how many Texas communities perform a dry run before an emergency actually happens? So far, only one, the Comanche Trail neighborhood near Lake Travis, has done such a drill. “I’m on the top of a hill, so I worry about a…

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Final draft of Austin Strategic Mobility Plan passes Environmental Commission

Final draft of Austin Strategic Mobility Plan passes Environmental Commission

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

Following a presentation on the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan at the March 6 meeting of the Environmental Commission by Annick Beaudet, the assistant director of Austin Transportation, commissioners began asking about some of the environmental aspects of the plan. While questions about tree canopy removal in order to widen streets made a predictable appearance, issues of air quality, right-of-way and autonomous vehicles were also raised. Commissioner Mary Ann Neely noted that Austin is uncomfortably close to being in violation of air quality…

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Landowners work to “heal” Sandy Creek after flood

Landowners work to “heal” Sandy Creek after flood

An effort to restore Sandy Creek has taken root in Llano County. About 25 landowners, conservationists and other volunteers attended the Sandy Creek Riparian Restoration Field Day March 2 on private property (County Road 316) adjacent to Sandy Creek to assess land and put so-called revegetation efforts into practice. “People like myself and other professionals, we really didn’t think about rivers. They were just part of the landscape,” said Steve Nelle, a Natural Resource Conservation Service retiree. “We didn’t know…

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