HCA is a passionate community caring for the unique features, spring-fed streams, heritage ranch lands, spectacular beauty and culture of the Texas Hill Country for the benefit of future generations. Join us.

Conservation Development Design Workshop


HCA welcomes Randall Arendt back to the Texas Hill Country to share his wisdom and expertise about Conservation Development. Local leaders, development professionals, and regional habitat and riparian experts will also share their knowledge with an informative panel discussion. Learn with your peers at a hands on design workshop. And, take advantage of valuable networking time with local advocates of sustainable development.

Click here to register online today, $25.00, walk-in registration, $30.00 if space is available.

Complete Agenda

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Pearl Brewery | Randal Arendt | 1000 FOMN Workshop | Intelligent Design - Hands-on Design Excersise



Comments Expressed by Workshop Organizers and Participants

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"We heard great things about your ideas and presentation, and you more than met our expectations."
David Goudy, Montshire Museum of Science, Hanover, NH

"Thanks so much for an absolutely wonderful presentation. It was exceptionally well-suited to our audience of Placer and El Dorado County officials."
Judy Corbett, Local Government Commission, Sacramento, CA

"I enjoyed hearing you again this summer. Your numerous visits to this state have had great repercussions. In almost every community where I work (in the Brainerd Lakes Area), there are thoughtful discussions about the merits of conservation design. This didn't happen until you showed up."
Phil Hunsicker, Lakes Region Program Director, 1000 Friends of Minnesota

"I learned a lot in the short time you had with us (yes, you 'touched a life'). I now look forward to spreading the good word as I go around the Commonwealth."
Leighton Powell, Scenic Virginia, Richmond, VA

"There were nothing but rave reviews of your presentation."
Hank Metcalf, Planning Board Chair, Orono, ME

“I am a Village Council member and just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed our day, and how productive it was to me. Applying your ideas and perspectives will be of great value as we continue to deal with change, but preserve the uniqueness of our community.”
Douglas Lapins, Village Council, Pinehurst, NC

“Thank you for the time you spent with me in Montpelier recently. I found your presentation fascinating, and think your ideas for growth management and changes in our enabling laws deserve further attention. I will ask Commissioner Holmes to follow up on your suggestions.”
Madeleine M. Kunin, Governor, Montpelier, VT

“I cannot thank you enough for coming to Spartanburg. You were a tremendous hit. Thank you for the great job you did knitting trees into your open space story. Everyone was very pleased, and my boss‟s wife said that you stole the show. I agree.”
Stewart Winslow, for the Noble Tree Foundation, Spartanburg, SC

“Rarely have I so clearly experienced the 'scales falling off my eyes'.
David Kay, Harvard, MA

“I want to thank you for the stimulating, informative, and inspiring presentation. We all felt energized by it, as well as gaining the in-depth understanding that you communicate so well. It was fun, too! Some of the town officials are quite ready, now, to launch into the Growing Greener program. Thank you for taking the time and effort to provide such an excellent and valuable evening. I only wish we could have you here every month!”
Patty Elkis, AICP, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Philadelphia, PA

“As a result of your presentation we are making great progress in implementing your conservation design principles into our land use code. The response we received and the support to change some of our Land Use Code was amazing! Our Board of County Commissioners now fully supports the idea of implementing these principles into our code.”
Julia Stantic, La Plata County Community Development Office, Durango, CO

"It was quite amazing to see such a diverse group of people all smiling at the end of your presentation. The reception to your talk has stirred the hope we can find common ground among groups with diverse interests."
Mary Schneidewind, Association for Intelligent Rural Management, New Paltz, NY

“Thank you for bringing in Randall Arendt for the workshop and lectures. He is a real inspiration and I‟m very excited to have been a part of it. I had hoped to get him here myself, and would love to be part of any planning or brainstorming process that involves implementing more of these ideas.”
David Weintraub, ECO: Environmental and Conservation Organization, Hendersonville, NC

“Fascinating, effective, gifted speaker. I wish he could have spoken longer. Outstanding. Very enjoyable and informative. This was a wonderful presentation.”
Evaluation Comments, 9th Annual Planning Law Conference, Austin, TX

"The praise and accolades are still coming in.... It was a truly exceptional experience."
Dana Beach, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Charleston, SC

"Thank you for such an excellent presentation. Many people expressed to me with great enthusiasm how stimulating your talk was. Your presentation was informative, provocative, and right on target about how conventional zoning is blind to the preservation of land."
Michael Pessolano, Town Planner, Harwich, MA

"The local newspapers and e-mail have been buzzing ever since your inspired commentary. Thank you for being such a key contributor to the success of our gathering in Coeur d'Alene."
Prof. Wendy McClure, Dept. of Architecture, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID

"Thank you so much for your contribution to the Your Town workshop -- and what a contribution it was! We witnessed a remarkable difference in the workshop participants after your presentation."
Lisa Vogel, University of Georgia School of Environmental Design, Athens, GA

"The response to your workshop has been phenomenal. One planning commissioner actually rewrote his township zoning ordinance as a result."
John Koches, Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI

“We want to thank you for coming to Moscow and presenting such an informative involving workshop on community design and development. Your ideas and outlook will influence decision makers here for a long time to come. You combined an engaging sense of humor with solid design background in an approach that brought our community together for a rare opportunity for self-analysis.”
Paul Agidius, Mayor, and Linda Pall, Council Member, Moscow, ID

"Thank you so much for your wonderful, evocative, excellent presentation at our conference. The audience was stunned and excited. You planted all kinds of wonderful idea seeds. I've organized a lot of workshops over the years and I can't remember another one that had such an immediate, positive impact."
Lyn White, Canoe River Aquifer Advisory Committee, South Easton, MA

"Your visit with us served as a vital catalyst in the reformulation of our master plan. You have launched us into a new planning orbit."
Richard Hull, Sugar Loaf Community Foundation, Sugar Loaf, NY

"Already I am receiving calls for a repeat performance. I shall try to fend them off till Spring, having seen your calendar myself."
Therese Landry, Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, Auburn, ME

"Given the continued positive response in the ensuing weeks, we can surely say that your visit was an unqualified success."
John McNall, Citizens Advisory Committee, Honeoye Falls, NY

"Thank you for last Saturday's workshop. It was magnificent. There was an incredible amount of listening, learning, and enthusiasm for all you were saying. I have never seen our people so responsive."
Joan Manzelman, Northern Oneida County Council of Governments, New Hartford, NY

"The evening workshop was such a success that we are already seeing results. On Friday a developer came into our office and said: 'I want to redesign my subdivision using principles that Randall Arendt talked about at the lecture last night'."
''Karen High, Jefferson County Dept. of Planning and Environmental Management, Louisville, KY'

"I have had several people tell me that yours was the best program they have ever attended at a MMA convention". William Livengood, Esq., Maine Municipal Association "I was absolutely inspired by your presentation in Grand Rapids last Friday. I stayed up half the night on Sunday and wrote a new 'vision for our township'."
Stuart Cok, Algoma Township, Kent County, MI

”Our town passed the Open Space Bylaw almost overwhelmingly, with only four dissenting votes. The Planning Board feels that without your expertise in educating our residents, this bylaw would not have been successfully adopted.”
Kathleen Mull, Planning Board, Littleton, Massachusetts

"From the conference evaluations, your presentation was overwhelmingly selected as the portion of the program the members of the audience felt to be the most useful to them. I would be interested in learning how to obtain a copy of your video."
Ben Starrett, Florida Dept. of Community Affairs, Tallahassee, FL

“Your workshop was ranked the highest by the participants in terms of overall knowledge gained and practical application. Comments on the evaluation forms include: excellent, thought-provoking, effective, and fantastic.”
Raymond Godfrey, Soil Conservation Society of America, Winooksi, VT

"Your ideas will have a lasting impact on the town. Already one developer is proposing to devote part of a major project to an extremely creative cluster design."
Benjamin Frost, Town Planner, Kittery, ME

"On behalf of the Acton Planning Board I would like to express our sincere appreciation for your presentation of the conservation design concept at our Special Town Meeting. Your presentation was instrumental in getting the provisions passed."
Roland Bartl, Town Planner, Acton, MA

"Thanks for the inspiration, the materials, and for putting them in a format that makes it easy to bring directly into the classroom."
Prof. Elmina Hilsenrath, Landscape Architecture Program, University of Maryland


More on Conservation Development

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Hays County Water Fight Tumbles Into Committee

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Rainwater Revival Calls for Grant Applications from Hill Country Schools

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Census estimates hint at mega-region between San Antonio and Austin

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Buying Development Rights Preserves Watersheds

Protecting watersheds and aquifer recharge areas should be a priority for the House Natural Resources Committee, writes Andrew Sansom, executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. Purchasing development rights from private landowners in critical watersheds, he says, is a proven way to protect rural and agricultural land for the benefit of the state's natural resources. Read more from Trib+Water.

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TESPA files suit to stop Electro Purification in Hays County District Court

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Despite Central Texas growth, less water drawn from Colorado by cities

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District Targeted in Water Conflict

As outrage has mounted this year over the Electro Purification well field being built in Hays County, officials from Buda and the planned Anthem subdivision — two customers of the project — have dutifully showed up to town halls and round tables, subjecting themselves to the jeers of their neighbors. But missing from every public meeting has been the most critical player in making the project a reality: the Goforth Special Utility District, a Niederwald-area water provider that has the largest contract with Houston-based Electro Purification’s venture in Hays County. Read full article by the Austin American Statesman.

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Hill Country Land Trust Conserves Sandy Ranch in Blanco County

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TESPA Announces Water Defense Plans at March 21 Meeting

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Texas suburbs are growing faster than cities

Counties are growing at extremely high rates, in part because of the lack of land use planning ability outside of our cities. This trend has tremendous costs to tax-payers for basic infrastructure needs such as roads, water and schools. “Hays County, just south of Austin, is projected to be the fastest-growing county, by percentage, in all of Texas by 2050” Read more from the Austin Business Journal. Learn more about County Planning authority here.

The Southwest Water Wars

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Isaac Jumping Into Hays County Water Fight

With a high-profile groundwater fight raging in his district, state Rep. Jason Isaac is launching a volley of legislation to stop plans to pump huge amounts of water from underneath Hays County. Read more from the Texas Tribune. Representative Isaac issued his own media release yesterday. Read “Rep. Isaac and Sen. Campbell File Water Legislation Aiming to Protect Trinity Aquifer.” here.

Creating Vibrant Green Cities: Lessons from Seoul South Korea and San Marcos

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Victory in Comal County

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA) praised the Comal County Commissioners court this week and announced the denial of the Meyers Ranch “Water Quality Improvement District” would have translated to 1,500 homes on 700 acres over the Edwards Recharge Zone. Read more from GEAA.

Hunt School builds Rainwater Harvesting model with funds from Rainwater Revival Grant

6th and 7th grade students from Hunt School are learning all about water conservation and rainwater harvesting thanks to a grant from HCA's Rainwater Revival and the generous help of the Hunt Garden Club. Read more from the West Kerr Current.

Utility agency pursues water rights

"With the Feb. 24 approval of Bee Cave City Council and Hays County Commissioners Court, West Travis County Public Utility Agency lobbyists are working to find a sponsor in the Texas Legislature for a bill that would define the specific water and wastewater powers the agency has." Read more from Community Impact.

HCA's 2015 Photo Contest has begun!

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"Food, Health and the Environment: Why Eating Right Can Save You and the Earth"

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CAMPO Public Input Opportunities

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Partnership created to establish the Center for Private Land Stewardship

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On the Road: A Symposium on Water

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Joe Beal, politically connected engineer, back in the water game

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Pollinator PowWow Draws Hundreds from Texas and Beyond

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Group Formed to Protect Trinity, Edwards Aquifers and Springs

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Texas Wildlife Association to host three-day Women of the Land workshop

This workshop will cover basic skills from chainsaw operation to prescribed fire basics, geared towards female land managers. Interested in building your understanding of some of these important ranch management skills? This could be the workshop for you. Signup deadline is March 13th and space is limited. Details and Registration

Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference, April 23 in Kerrville

The second Bennett Trust educational program will take place April 23-24, 2015 at the Inn of the Hills Resort and Conference Center, Kerrville. This first-of-its-kind conference, “Protecting the Legacy of the Edwards Plateau,” will bring the best and wisest, accomplished stewards, visionaries, and legacy-leavers together as educators. Details

The Changing Science of Brush Control for Water Yield

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Pioneers Youth Leadership Students Receive $24,000 in Scholarships and Cash Awards

Ten high school students in Pioneers Youth Leadership were awarded $24,000 in scholarships and cash awards last week at the Capital Farm Credit Rural Youth Entrepreneurship Competition at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. “Participating in this competition has given me confidence that I can successfully start and run a business in my hometown,” said Steeley Smith. “I was able to learn so much about the positive impacts of rainwater collection through my research,” said Jessica Dong of Knippa. Learn more

TPWD profiles state's least wanted water-hungry invasive species

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Get Your Birding On

Learn the basics of birding at the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm. “Birding is good for you physically, mentally and spiritually. You get outside, you use your brain, and it’s about something bigger than you,” says Patsy Inglet of San Antonio. The veteran birder and certified Master Naturalist teaches Introduction to Birding workshops with her birdster husband Tom Inglet. Their next class at the center is 9 a.m. to noon March 28. Learn more

Environment Texas looks at the best and worst project in the State Water Plan

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Provide Water Supply Tools to Counties

“With supplies depleted by drought, the population growing daily and few large water projects in our immediate future, new development must minimize their water demands to protect the lakes, aquifers, and rivers. The counties surrounding the rapidly growing major cities will play a huge role in how we wisely use or diminish our water supplies and in the end determine the State’s economic attractiveness to the nation.” Read more from Tom Hegemier, chair of the Central Texas Land Water Sustainability Forum.

PEC Board votes in support of groundwater legislation

“Well drillers are locating these gaps in water district jurisdictions and exploiting them for pure profit,” said PEC District 6 Director Larry Landaker, who sponsored the resolution. “What is happening in Hays County through the misuse of the rule of capture is tantamount to the theft of water by one community to serve another. … That volume of water could … create a serious economic impact to the Hill Country communities we serve. Economic impact to the Hill Country is economic impact to PEC.” Read more from PEC.

Stay informed about EP Wells in the Hill Country Trinity Aquifer

As the story of unregulated groundwater in Hays County unfolds, there are two websites worth paying attention to for current information about citizen involvement. Citizen’s Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) and Save Our Wells.

A Tribute to what has been lost to the Pilot Truck Stop in Junction

Many hill country people have been following the Flying J story in Junction; a poster child for ongoing threats to Hill Country rivers due to a lack of rules and oversight. View this video, read final testimony to the City of Junction here.

Friends of Enchanted Rock to host star festival this Saturday, Feb 21

Come on out to Enchanted Rock this weekend to celebrate the stars! The first Enchanted Rock Star Festival will be February 21 at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Fredericksburg. According to Melissa Mial, event spokesperson, the purpose of the inaugural event is to celebrate Enchanted Rock’s designation as an International Dark Sky Park and Wildlife’s Dark Sky Initiative and increase awareness of the benefits of dark sky friendly lighting. Learn more

We need smart growth

Op-ed by Ron Walton: “I am not against growth but know the importance of being able to provide the infrastructure to support it. Unfortunately, I see a growing tendency however for growth in the area at all cost which, especially in the Hill Country (my specialty as a Hydro-geologist with background in water wells, septics, and geomorphology) I think does a disservice to all current residents like myself who came here recently.” Read more

Drought conditions worsen along Highland Lakes

Preliminary 2014 data shows the drought gripping the Highland Lakes is now the most severe drought the region has experienced since construction of the lakes began in the 1930s. As a direct result of the prolonged record-dry conditions and record-low inflows from the streams and tributaries feeding the Highland Lakes, the “firm yield,” or inventory of water LCRA can provide reliably every year, has been decreased by about 100,000 acre-feet, to 500,000 acre-feet per year. (An acre-foot of water is 325,851 gallons.) Further reductions in firm yield are possible as the drought continues. Read more

Book explores Central Texas County Courthouses

“As built artifacts, the county courthouses of central Texas tell a compelling story of a particular part of the country over a specific period of time. But more than a mere index of a building type, this project seeks to describe how county courthouses and the squares in which they sit relate to the larger communities that surround them.” Read more from TPR. HCA likes to imagine Hill Country courthouses with native landscaping and rainwater harvesting.

Net Blue Initiative Will Help Communities Pursue Water-Neutral Growth

“Communities need to reevaluate traditional planning approaches if they are to support increasing population and economic expansion in the coming years – particularly in areas with high growth and stressed water supplies,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Read more from the Alliance for Water Efficiency report, "Water Demand Offset Programs Offer a Path to Sustainable Community Development" here.

New Commitment to Bring Back the Monarch

This week the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced what many have noticed for the past 20 years- monarch butterfly numbers are on a precipitous decline. Over the past 25 years an estimated 970 million monarchs have disappeared, largely due to loss of habitat. The Texas Hill Country is an important part of the monarch migration route, and USFWS has prioritized the entire I-35 corridor for reestablishing butterfly habitat. That means planting native milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants. Read more about the efforts to bring monarchs back from the Washington Post

Dripping Springs residents strategize how to stop proposed concrete plant

A plan to build a concrete batch plant northwest of Dripping Springs has created an uproar among some residents. The plant, which would be operated as Dripping Wet Concrete

Upcoming Events


March

March 26-29 in Brackettville - Advanced Women of the Land Workshop by TWA - Details

March 27-28 in Hunt - "Introduction to Holistic Management and Ecosystem Function" - Part one in HMI's Mitigating Drought with Holistic Management Workshop Series - Details

March 28 in Austin - Native Plant Society Spring Symposium at the Wildflower Center - Details

March 28 in Stonewall – 8th Annual LBJ 100 Bike Tour - Details

March 29 in Johnson City - "Food, Health and the Environment: Why Eating Right Can Save You and the Earth," presented by Ecologist, Dr. G. David Tilman - 4:30 pm at the Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City. Details

April

April 1 in Floresville - Texas Riparian & Stream Ecosystem Workshop – Upper San Antonio River Watershed - Details

April 1 in Austin - "Creating Vibrant Green Cities: Lessons from Seoul South Korea and San Marcos," part of the Imagine Austin Speaker Series - Details

April 4 in Boerne - 25th Annual Cibolo Nature Center Mostly Native Plant Sale (members only pre-sale April 3 from 5-7pm) - Details

April 4 in San Antonio - Rain Barrel Workshop - Details

April 7-9 in Dallas - Rainwater University 2015 by Texas A&M AgriLife - Who should attend: Texas Flood Plain Managers, Landscape Professionals, Engineers, Architects, Homeowners, Business Owners, Builders, School Districts, City, State and Federal Personnel - Details

April 9 in Fredericksburg- Water Conservation Expo, co-hosted by HCA. Details

April 9 - Six-county wildlife program and tour by Texas Agri-Life Extention - Participating counties: Mason, Menard, McCulloch, Llano, Gillespie & Kimble - Details

April 22 in Jourdanton - Agri-Land Workshop - Presentations by HCA's Sky Jones Lewey, Rainwater Harvesting Expert John Kight and more - Details

April 23-24 in Kerrville - The second annual Bennett Land Stewardship: “Keys to Hill Country Living" - Details

April 24-26 in Fredericksburg - 5th Annual Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival - Details

April 24-27 in Marble Falls - 15th Annual Balcones Songbird Festival - Details

May

May 29 in San Marcos - Addressing Conflict with deer in our communities, hosted by TPWD, TWA and TSU - Details

See more upcoming events


2015 Photo Contest

Runs March 1 - May 31
Enter Now!


Imagine a place where vibrant communities draw strength from their natural assets to sustain their quality of life. A place where citizens care about protecting the special qualities of a region – their region. A place where people and partners band together to envision a better economic future, tackle shared challenges and care for the natural, scenic, and recreational resources that define the place they call home.
~This is a Conservation Landscape



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Helpful Mapping Resources - Beautiful and informative maps of the region to print and share.

HCA Dynamic Mapping Tool - Interactive online GIS mapping tool

 
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