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.
"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
San Antonio's City Council voted to approve a new contract between San Antonio Water System and the Vista Ridge Consortium on Thursday, October 30.Through this project, SAWS will buy 16.3 billion gallons water from the Carrizo and Simsboro aquifers over the next 30 years. The price tag on the project is $3.4 billion. Read more from the SA Business Journal.
Driving through western portions of Austin, maybe you’ve noticed scenic, tree-covered hills spreading across the landscape and wondered when they will become a new shopping area or residential development. While growth is inevitable, it is also important to preserve land for the environmental benefits it provides. Learn more
Water is a hot topic in Texas – and it’s getting hotter. Register for Trib + Water to stay informed. This bi-weekly newsletter is brought to you at no cost by The Meadows Center for the Environment and The Texas Tribune.
“The project is much too important and costly for San Antonio not to have a full and complete understanding about the reliability of the groundwater supply.” Read more from this open-letter by Dr. Curtis Chubb, rancher and groundwater expert, published in the Rivard Report. Citizens have the opportunity to address the San Antonio City Council each Wednesday at 6:00 pm. The Alamo Group of the Sierra Club has created a clearinghouse of articles and reports to keep you informed. SA City Council is likely to vote on the project Thursday, October 30th.
“This historic decision puts us within reach of purchasing the entire tract of land and protecting the habitat Bracken’s bats have used for thousands of years.” Read more from Bat Conservation International. “San Antonio is one of the fastest growing cities in the county, in part because of the vast natural resources of the region. It’s our responsibility to ensure we protect and conserve what makes this region incredibly special.” Councilman Ron Nirenburg, quoted in the Rivard Report.
There's a lot of evidence that millennials don't drive as much — or care as much for cars in general — as previous generations their own age did. They're less likely to get driver's licenses. They tend to take fewer car trips, and when they do, those trips are shorter. They're also more likely than older generations to get around by alternative means: by foot, by bike, or by transit. There's still a lot of dispute, however, over exactly what these trends mean. Read more from the Washington Post.
"Everything from urban development to dance hall preservation was on the agenda at the Hill Country Alliance 2014 Leadership Summit, held Thursday at the Nimitz Hotel Ballroom." Read the full article from the Fredericksburg Standard.
“We are reaching a point in Texas where simply standing on common ground is not enough. The lives of urban and rural Texans are irreversibly intertwined, so we must all join forces to create and define initiatives and policies that conserve the common good, while protecting the heritage of private landowners.” Read more of David K. Langford's guest blog for the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.
Most food growers rely on tap water to keep their plants alive during dry weather, but gardeners are discovering that chemicals in tap water harm the soil organisms that plants depend upon to absorb nutrients. As a result, more and more gardeners are storing rainwater. Read more from Sustainable Food Center.
For the past year, San Antonio City officials, Bat Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and many other organizations and community leaders have been searching for a solution to avert a 3,500-home development over the Edwards Aquifer and adjacent to Bracken Cave Preserve. Next week, San Antonio's city council will meet to vote on whether to invest $5 million from their Edwards Aquifer Protection Program toward the purchase of the property and a conservation easement to protect aquifer recharge. Learn more from BCI.
City Council chambers filled Wednesday evening with more than 100 people who signed up to speak for or against the proposed SAWS-Vista Ridge Consortium water agreement. Individuals were given two minutes to express their views, while group representatives were allotted five minutes. Read more from the Rivard Report.
“I have never understood why in Texas zoning laws are good for city mice but not for country mice, especially as we lose more and more of the open land that is necessary to our survival as a species every year, but that is the way it is and there seems to be no way to change it until Texans get tired of seeing our state gobbled up by strip malls and truck stops and march on the state capitol armed with shotguns and pruning hooks.” Read this personal story about the Hill Country, by Lonn Taylor, featured in The Big Bend Sentinel. Learn more about County Authority in Texas here.
The public is invited to learn more about the process to develop a Roadway Character Plan for FM 150 from near Arroyo Ranch Road northwest through the Driftwood to RR 12 in Dripping Springs at an October 16 meeting. Hays County Commissioners Will Conley and Ray Whisenant are hosting the meeting to share information about the roadway and gather ideas from the public about what this important cross-county road needs to look like as changes are phased in to improve mobility and safety. Details
“..the effects of human endeavors all around the planet can be gauged by listening to the sounds of different habitats. Wild, urban, rural — they all can be interpreted.” Read more from Bernie Krause in “Call of the Wild,” featured in Sun Magazine. Find out what neighbors are doing through the Noise Pollution Clearning House.
“Through Texas Land Trends, we have been able to raise awareness that ‘Yes, we have a lot of land in Texas,’ but we are losing it at a faster rate than most other states in the country, and that loss is having profound impacts on our agricultural base, our water resources and our native wildlife habitat,” Fitzsimons said. Read more about Land Trends.
A community workshop will be held October 9th from 6–8 pm as part of a “Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process,” a planning approach that invites the surrounding communities and neighborhoods to influence the design, so that it reflects their cultural and historic values and aesthetic preferences. Learn more about the event hosted by the CTRMA and TxDot. Explore http://Fix290.org for more information.
HCA has released their 9th Texas Hill Country Calendar. Once again, this calendar delivers stunning photography while remaining an informative resource on Hill Country conservation. The stunning photographs featured throughout the 2015 calendar were chosen from nearly 400 submissions to HCA’s 2014 Photo Contest. Learn more
San Antonio is one step closer to buying some of the most expensive water ever sold in Texas, just as the deal is drawing more critics. Read more from Texas Tribune.
at Cibolo Nature Center & Farm on Oct. 6-11 Volunteers interested in learning about Hill Country wildlife and contributing to its scientific study are encouraged to become citizen scientists during the Wildlife Field Research “bio-blitz” taking place Oct. 6-11 at the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm. Wildlife Field Research is open to participants of all ages and skill levels. Learn more
The Highway Beautification Act will be 50 years old next year. As envisioned by Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, it was supposed to protect the natural landscape from billboards. Ever since its passage, scenic activists and billboard companies have been at war over the views along American highways. More from NPR.
The San Antonio Water System Board will vote Monday on a $3.40-billion landmark water deal that would pipe in 50,000 acre-feet of water to San Antonio annually as soon as 2019, enough to meet 20% of the growing city’s future water needs. Read more from the Rivard Report.
Monday’s vote by SAWS is step one, San Antonio City Council will ultimately consider and vote on the Vista Ridge Pipeline Project. Who is this water for? Where will it ultimately go? Who will ultimately pay and what are the long-term financial implications? Show up at UTSA Monday night for a balanced panel discussion. Get educated and get involved. Event details
“The 522 page draft contract for this $3.4 billion deal was posted on-line on September 23rd, giving the SAWS Board and the public less than a week to review a deal that will have far reaching implications for our community, including an estimated 16% rate hike for SAWS customers.” Read more from GEAA. As Margaret Day of the Alamo Sierra Club points out “to be sustainable, aquifer drawdown should be no greater than recharge.” Read this opinion piece from the Alamo Sierran Word.
Travis County is seeking public comments by Wednesday, Oct 1st on their Land, Water and Transportation plan. Read the plan, take the survey and/or send your comments via email. Meanwhile, CAMPO is taking comments until Oct 6th on a variety of projects including a study to construct a major tollway across sensitive preserve lands. “Traffic solution costly, harmful to environment” Read “City to oppose proposed tollroad” in the Austin American Statesmen.
The League of Women Voters of Comal Area invites the public to attend “The Trinity Aquifer: A Shared Resource/ A Shared Responsibility,” to be held October 7 in Canyon Lake. “If you drink water in Comal County, you are likely to be drinking Trinity water, or you soon will be. It is up to all of us to learn more about this resource, no matter where in Comal County we live.” Learn more
It's no secret that drought has been a major factor in the declining water levels of our lakes and reservoirs here in Texas. But there is another factor that has has received very little attention - evaporation. Read more from Texas Living Waters.
The stars may seem a little brighter over Kerrville next year. The Kerrville Public Utility Board last week set aside about $734,000 to upgrade 2,000 city street lights to “full cut-off,” high-efficiency LED lamps that won’t shine light upward. Read More from the Kerrville Daily Times.
Last week’s “Water Crisis” event hosted by The Hays County Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) drew a huge crowd and continues to create a lot of meaningful conversations about how rural lands west of I-35 will be developed. Learn more
Even as Cibolo Nature Center staffers celebrate a major milestone with the completed restoration of the historic Herff farmhouse, they're setting ambitious new goals. Read more from SA Express-News.
Central Texas is having a pretty decent year, rain-wise. Were sitting just below normal. But these big rain events all have something in common: They really haven’t fallen where we need them most. “The watershed that helps our water supplies isn’t here in Austin; it’s way up into the counties to the north of us." Read more from State Impact.
Land fragmentation has been a growing problem for Texas, and by all appearances it isn’t going to slow any time soon. The state’s population continues to grow rapidly, and those residents have an insatiable appetite for land. Read more from Livestock Weekly.
As the current drought reminds us, water continues to impact the sustainability and growth of Texas' economy. Unfortunately, land is disappearing faster than in any other state, threatening the water resources on which our economy depends. Land conservation is a cost-effective water resource protection strategy. Join TALT October 1st in Austin.
With cool weather around the corner, the Texas Outdoor Family program has scheduled outdoor recreational workshops statewide though the beginning of December. The workshops offer a low-cost weekend trip where families can un-plug, reconnect with nature, and learn the basics of camping. Read more from Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Water marketers who want to sell to cities say there’s plenty of groundwater, however landowners and conservationists warn that this precious resource could drain in a few decades. Whats the long-term impact on the Colorado River as the groundwater table declines? Who exactly is this water for and what are they willing to pay? Read this excellent article by Neena Satija, Texas Tribune.
ACC Professor Don Jonsson takes an interesting look at various degrees of consensus about what geography is included in the “Hill Country.” His data shows Luckenbach as generally the mean center of the region and the Pedernales River Basin 100% Texas Hill Country. View his project findings, map and summary. HCA has a plethora of helpful Hill Country map resources available online and as well as an interactive map viewer.
Landowner groups and Wildlife Coops – Here’s something worth passing along to your member lists. Wild Pigs are an issue throughout the Hill Country region. Here’s an opportunity to learn from the comfort of your own ranch/home computer. Dial in September 18th to from noon to 1:00. Find out how to access this webinar made possible by the Texas Wildlife Association.
“The effects of population growth on traffic are easy to understand. More people equal more cars on the road. More cars on the road equal more congestion. Duh! The real culprit is the rate at which new people are moving here.” Read one bold Austinite's views (who happens to also be a Real Estate Developer) about the real issue facing Austin (and the Hill Country) population. Ed Wendler, Special to the Austin American Statesman.
to host a free community meeting this Thursday to discuss why water is an increasingly critical issue, and how we can all be part of improving the outlook. Speakers include Andy Sansom, Executive Director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Steve Clouse, Chief Operating Officer of San Antonio Water Systems, Ray Whisenant, Hays County Commissioner, Peter Newell, Water Resources Engineer at HDR Engineering, and Bech Bruun of the TWDB. Details
The Fix 290 Coalition, a group of over 40 organizations and businesses and 2,800 petition signers, have been advocating for a “parkway" concept to move traffic through Oak Hill and protect the original character and unique natural environment of the area for more than a decade. The City of Austin is now asking for a study of this community driven “parkway” alternative to TxDot’s traditional elevated/frontage road model. Read more from Fix290.
On Saturday, September 6th the Hill Country Alliance hosted a landowner workshop for those landowners potentially impacted by the LCRA's proposed Blumenthal substation and transmission line project. The workshop featured an update from the LCRA on the status of their application to the Public Utility Commission, and a panel discussion of landowner rights during the transmission line routing and construction process. To read a more detailed summary of the event and access speaker presentations, click here.
A decade ago, prospective water marketers easily secured the rights to pump more than 20 billion gallons of water annually from the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer in Central Texas’ Burleson County. The company now holding those rights, BlueWater, is negotiating a $3 billion deal to send much of that water to San Antonio. Read more from The Texas Tribune.
October 29 in Austin - Great Places and Healthy People, presented by Congress for the New Urbanism - Details
October 30 in Austin - Balcones Canyonland Preserve Infrastructure Workshop - Details
November 3 in New Braunfels - 2014 ASACC & Lone Star Rail District Legislative Session Luncheon with State Representatives Donna Howard, Ruth Jones McClendon and Doug Miller - Details
November 6 in Wimberley - A Quiet Day in the Texas Hill Country: "Reflections on the Poetry of Wendell Berry," at the Red Corral Ranch - Details
November 11 in Austin - Meeting of the Austin Sierra Club - Austin Water Resources Planning Task Force with Sharlene Leurig - Details
November 15 in Johnson City - Sneak Peak Fundraiser at the Hill Country Science Mill: A fun foray into the (not-quite-finished) science museum - Details
December 5 in Smithson Valley - The Texas Hill Country Water Summit with Representative Doug Miller - Details
December 10-12 in Austin - 3rd Annual Lone Star Water Summit - Details
One sale now!- Purchase Online
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
Helpful Mapping Resources - Beautiful and informative maps of the region to print and share.
HCA Dynamic Mapping Tool - Interactive online GIS mapping tool