HOAs slow to accept native plant landscaping

HOAs slow to accept native plant landscaping

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) has long offered incentives to homeowners to replace non-native grass lawns with drought-resistant native plants. But the city’s many homeowner associations (HOAs) continue to favor water-thirsty, non-native turf grasses and resist residents who want native plant landscaping. Reducing lawn watering during the hot summer months and eliminating automatic irrigation systems is considered a major step toward enhancing water conservation efforts. Yet some HOAs tell homeowners they cannot install drought-tolerant landscaping featuring native plants, even though…

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Group to keep eye on the sky

Group to keep eye on the sky

A week after the county adopted a resolution to protect the night skies, a local group is forming with the intent of educating residents about how they can help protect one of the Hill Country’s greatest assets — a starlit night sky. Cliff Kaplan, program manager with the Hill Country Alliance, said 14 counties have adopted resolutions similar to that of Kendall County. However, because of state legislation, it’s often difficult for cities and counties to regulate lighting. Instead it’s…

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For stay-at-home stress relief, San Antonians turn to gardening

For stay-at-home stress relief, San Antonians turn to gardening

Stir crazy from the coronavirus stay-at-home quarantine, San Antonians are moving outside to relieve stress, gain a sense of control, and enjoy the wonders of spring. City officials have permitted local nurseries to remain open while San Antonio and Bexar County are under the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order through April 9 and are adjusting hours and offerings as needed, including for curbside pickup. With the first day of spring just behind us, the usual peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers are…

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County resolution supports efforts to preserve darkness

County resolution supports efforts to preserve darkness

The stars at night are big and bright — and disappearing from view deep in the heart of Texas. That was the consensus of a standing-room-only audience this week as the Kendall County Commissioners Court heard comments from concerned citizens in support of a resolution supporting efforts to preserve the night skies. Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Durden introduced the resolution, and the court voted in favor of its adoption. “Sometimes we don’t miss things until they’re gone, and then they’re…

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Crops to cul-de-sacs: As pastoral land disappears in Central Texas, one man holds back the tide

Crops to cul-de-sacs: As pastoral land disappears in Central Texas, one man holds back the tide

From the cab of his pickup, Ron Collins gives a tour of a bygone era, when his Pilot Knob neighborhood in southeastern Travis County was a country outpost, home to his extended family, which traces its roots there back more than a century. Here is where his old two-room, all-black elementary school sat — his teacher used to drive him home with a loaf of bread on the dash to warm it up enough that butter would melt right on…

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Supporting local Hill Country news

Supporting local Hill Country news

As the country reacts to a global pandemic, we know that finding regionally appropriate and accurate news sources is a priority for our readers. Our local newspapers are working overtime to make sure we have all the coverage we need during this strange time. Now is also a great opportunity to subscribe to your local media! Whether it’s through online news or physical papers, these news sources help keep us informed and are critical small businesses throughout the Hill Country.…

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Director’s Notes – March 2020: HCA in the era of Coronavirus

Director’s Notes – March 2020: HCA in the era of Coronavirus

Dear Hill Country Neighbors, It’s hard to start a letter addressing the unprecedented reality we find ourselves in. The Covid-19 outbreak has shown us just how critical our Hill Country community is to the work of the Hill Country Alliance. There is no replacement for the riparian management workshops, landowner potlucks, Hill Country Living Festival, star parties, Texas Water Symposia and myriad other team meetings, community gatherings, and in-person conversations that HCA is a part of every single day. While…

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Hays Trinity GCD announces Jacobs Well Spring Groundwater Management Zone

Hays Trinity GCD announces Jacobs Well Spring Groundwater Management Zone

On March 5, 2020, the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors passed a new rule—Rule 15, Jacob’s Well Groundwater Management Zone—to better protect water resources and springflow during drought. This action comes in response to community requests for additional protections in Wimberley Valley’s Cypress Creek Watershed.  Rule 15 establishes the Jacob’s Well Groundwater Management Zone (GMZ), limits new permits within the GMZ, and incorporates monthly pumpage monitoring for drought restrictions for permit holders with over 2 acre-feet per…

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Hill Country Alliance 14th annual photo contest kicks off

Hill Country Alliance 14th annual photo contest kicks off

The Texas Hill Country is a unique region of pristine springs, sprawling landscapes, diverse wildlife, star-filled skies, multi-generational land stewards, historic towns, and hidden oases. With a rapidly growing population and increasing development coming into the region, many of these special qualities are at risk of being lost forever.  For the 14th annual Hill Country photo contest, HCA asks photographers to take out their cameras and focus on “The Wild and Wonderful Texas Hill Country.” We are looking for photography…

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AgriLife Extension provides auxin CEU training online

AgriLife Extension provides auxin CEU training online

COVID-19 might have much of the world social distancing, but agricultural crops still must be planted, and producers still have regulations to follow. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is ready to help the process. Agricultural producers needing auxin training can still turn to AgriLife Extension for their continuing education credits, CEUs, despite the COVID-19 cancellation of all in-person meetings and trainings. “Texas A&M AgriLife efforts to help people with their pesticide recertification and auxin training continues,” said Dan Hale, Ph.D., associate…

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