Thrown under the bus? Tax deal leaves future of aquifer, trails programs unsettled

Thrown under the bus? Tax deal leaves future of aquifer, trails programs unsettled

Nirenberg and VIA Metropolitan Transit have agreed on a proposal to temporarily fund the City’s coronavirus response, then shift that funding to VIA Metropolitan Transit. The funding would come from a one-eighth-cent sales tax that currently pays for the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program(EAPP) and the Howard W. Peak Linear Greenway Trail system. The compromise seemingly put an end to weeks of arguments between Nirenberg and San Antonio’s transportation authority. But the agreement didn’t address alternative means of funding the EAPP…

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New Mexico town, oil companies in fight over water use

New Mexico town, oil companies in fight over water use

“I don’t want to call it a war, but we’re fighting for our lives down here,” Jal Mayor Stephen Aldridge said, standing under the scorching, 100-degree sun on a recent afternoon. The dispute is over who gets to control water in this parched corner of southeastern New Mexico: Should the oil industry have access to tens of millions of barrels a year for operations like hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, or should the aquifer be conserved for local residents who…

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Groundwater District vows to investigate Vista Ridge water waste

Groundwater District vows to investigate Vista Ridge water waste

A rural groundwater district that regulates the pumping of aquifers used for the San Antonio Water System’s Vista Ridge pipeline is investigating whether the flushing of Vista Ridge water down a San Antonio creek meets the legal definition of waste. At their July 16 meeting, all 10 board members of the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District unanimously voted to investigate whether the private companies that hold pumping permits violated the district’s rules and state water codes meant to stop…

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Llano County commissioners, residents voice concerns over sand plant

Llano County commissioners, residents voice concerns over sand plant

Not one of the more than a dozen people sharing their thoughts July 13 about a proposed sand-excavation project on private property on County Road 309 outside of Kingsland had a good thing to say about it. Several voiced concerns that the Llano County Commissioners Court would even consider allowing such an operation. “The county is pretty limited, frankly, with the authority we have here,” said Llano County Precinct 1 Commissioner Peter Jones. “We do not have land-use authority.” Read…

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The wine industry continues to expand in Texas Hill Country

The wine industry continues to expand in Texas Hill Country

When I polled Texas Hill Country wineries and growers on the major changes in the region over the last two years Julie Kuhlken, co-owner and founder of long established Pedernales Cellars, said “The continued growth in the number of wineries and vineyards”. January Wiese, executive director of Texas Hill Country Wineries(THCW), the region’s winery trade group, ran the numbers and found that since March 2018 THCW winery membership has  increased 40%, adding 17 members and making 60 in total. The…

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Senate approves Great American Outdoors Act

Senate approves Great American Outdoors Act

The U.S. Senate today voted 73-25 to approve the Great American Outdoors Act, which would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and make critical investments in our national park system. “Today the Senate delivered a historic win for the conservation of America’s natural landscapes,” said Jennifer Morris, chief executive officer at The Nature Conservancy. “This bill would make major investments in the landscapes and landmarks vital to our economic, emotional and societal well-being. By protecting important natural spaces and investing…

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Bill Neiman: A sculptor of seeds and soil

Bill Neiman: A sculptor of seeds and soil

A sculptor molds, carves, shapes, and ultimately creates. They may work in different media and are adept with their tools. In addition to shapes, lines, and colors, some incorporate motion —an interrelationship of objects. Bill Neiman is a sculptor. For more than four decades, his medium has been plants and Texas soil. In 1974, at age 19, he started his own landscaping company with a borrowed shovel, rake, and lawn mower. Today, Neiman’s family and a dedicated team run Native American…

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Seventh Annual Latino Conservation Week kicks off this weekend, breaks down barriers to the outdoors and inspires tomorrow’s stewards

Seventh Annual Latino Conservation Week kicks off this weekend, breaks down barriers to the outdoors and inspires tomorrow’s stewards

Communities throughout the country will enjoy and connect with the great outdoors during the 7th annual Latino Conservation Week, which begins July 18 and runs through July 26. While this year will lean more toward virtual activities like online expeditions, roundtable discussions, Q&A sessions, scavenger hunts, film screenings and the like, nearly 100 events are being celebrated nationwide. “Latino communities are passionate about the outdoors and hold a strong belief that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards,”…

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‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ is really a thing

‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ is really a thing

Numerous studies have shown the mental and physical benefits of spending time in nature, but for some people, it took a pandemic and stay-at-home orders for that desire to spend more time outdoors to feel like a necessity. Experts hope that desire for nature will remain once people physically return to their busy schedules. “Ironically, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, as tragic as it is, has dramatically increased public awareness of the deep human need for nature connection, and is adding…

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Conservation is essential to Texas’ future, and it’s time to get serious

Conservation is essential to Texas’ future, and it’s time to get serious

As we head into another hot Texas summer and ponder future summers in a warming climate, the imperative to sustain adequate water availability for our communities and support fish and wildlife habitat continues to grow. The just-released 2020 Water Conservation Scorecard addresses this concern head-on by offering an in-depth look at how effectively Texas water utilities are saving water. Since the release of the initial Scorecard in 2016, utilities have made some advances, but these new scores highlight that the…

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