Swine country: How feral pigs took over the U.S.

Swine country: How feral pigs took over the U.S.

For millions of years, as pigs snorted and snuffed their way across the planet, evolving and learning to dodge gray wolves and tigers and coyotes and alligators, they were almost assuredly safe from any potential threats from the sky. Then they arrived in Texas, where in addition to the rare predatory large mammal, a wild pig today might be forced to evade, for example, a cascade of 5.56-caliber bullets fired from a hundred-odd feet above by an AR‑15 semiautomatic rifle…

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TESPA sues Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District over Needmore Permit

TESPA sues Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District over Needmore Permit

The Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA) announced today that it has filed suit in Travis County District Court challenging the decision by the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) to issue a permit to Needmore Water, LLC to withdraw about 289 million gallons of groundwater each year in Hays County near Wimberley, Texas. The litigation arises out of HB 3405 passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015. This bill gave jurisdiction to BSEACD over previously unregulated portions of…

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Where light pollution is seeping into the rural night sky

Where light pollution is seeping into the rural night sky

Artificial light that floods the night sky is thought to be only an urban phenomenon. But when you adjust for population, the picture is dramatically different. The rule of thumb is that if you want to see the Milky Way, you have to venture out to the countryside. That’s where the illumination from streetlights and brightly lit offices that floods cities hasn’t obscured the night sky. But a recent map tracking the artificial lighting seen at night through satellite imagery…

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Hays County: 2020 primary elections voter guide

Hays County: 2020 primary elections voter guide

Federal: U.S. Senate Every state in the U.S. elects two people to represent them in the U.S. Senate, which is the upper chamber of Congress. They are elected statewide for six-year terms. Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s term is up for re-election this year. About a dozen Democrats are vying to challenge him in the November election. REPUBLICANS: Dwayne Stovall, John Cornyn*, Mark Yancey, Virgil Bierschwale, John Anthony Castro DEMOCRATS: Chris Bell, Royce West, Annie “Mama” Garcia, Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, Amanda…

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Judge: Pipeline through Hill Country can move forward

Judge: Pipeline through Hill Country can move forward

A federal judge has rejected an effort to halt construction of a pipeline that would carry natural gas from West Texas to refineries on the Texas coast. Officials from the city of Austin, Travis and Hays counties, and other local governments joined private landowners in arguing that the Permian Highway Pipeline would harm a rare species of bird and therefore violates the Endangered Species Act. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, however, ruled Friday that the plaintiffs had not shown that…

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Aquifer district names new general manager

Aquifer district names new general manager

The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District is pleased to announce Vanessa Escobar has been named General Manager. As a water resource professional in Texas, she has focused her work over the last 15 years in water conservation, water resources planning, groundwater management, regulatory compliance, and project management. “When I joined the District almost 7 years ago, I quickly developed an appreciation for the District’s reputable science and policy and for the challenges that this organization faces in the world of…

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Texas needs to tackle water scarcity before it gets worse 

Texas needs to tackle water scarcity before it gets worse 

Texas is no stranger to water scarcity. In every decade of the twentieth century, Texas has experienced a serious drought. However, Texas’ ability to outmaneuver its water crisis has a limit. A deepening drought is now affecting a large part of Texas. On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration due to a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall in Central Texas. The parched lands spanning from the Rio Grande Valley toward central and east Texas are only a…

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Preserving the night sky in Austin

Preserving the night sky in Austin

Most evenings in Central Texas, the sky transforms into the legendary violet crown before falling into darkness. Although humans wait for the beauty of the sunset, it is the darkness that animals need, according to Cliff Kaplan of the Hill Country Alliance. “All of the creatures of Central Texas rely on dark nights. That’s what they evolved for,” he told the Environmental Commission at its Feb. 5 meeting. Golden-cheeked warblers navigate by starlight and fireflies communicate in darkness. Darker skies…

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Resilience along a river

Resilience along a river

It’s a crisp November after-noon and landowner Suzanne Davis is admiring native bald cypress seedlings while cutting back invasive Brazilian verbena along her stretch of the Blanco River. Davis and her husband, Edward, live in Wimberley, where, four years ago, the Blanco River rose more than 20 feet in an hour — over 40 feet at its peak — causing extensive devastation to property and life. “The destruction all around was incomprehensible,” she said. While the couple had to start…

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Taking on wildlife disease

Taking on wildlife disease

  • February 12, 2020
  • News

The Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program, a collaboration between the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, will leverage Penn Vet’s expertise to address wildlife health problems. When wildlife biologist Matthew Schnupp began his career, the emphasis was on conserving habitat. “The paradigm of wildlife management for the last 20 years has been habitat management,” he says, aiming to conserve the land and ecosystems animals require to thrive. And while protecting habitat in the face of an expanding human…

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