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
In a series of three guest blogs, Sharlene Leurig, Water Program Director for Ceres, examines the details of Proposition 6, the water project financing measure approved by Texas voters on November 5th. Proposition 6 amends the Texas constitution to appropriate $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to seed a new water infrastructure loan fund directed to water supply projects included in the State Water Plan. Click here to read.
Bob Webster, a staunch advocate of the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District tapped to fill vacancy on Board of Directors. Webster, the "public" at nearly all of the GCD meetings, is the host of The Garden Show on KTSA AM 550 San Antonio and serves as an advisory board member of the Hill Country Alliance. Learn more from the Boerne Star.
As we continue our outreach program to encourage night sky friendly lighting in the Hill Country, we are pulling Bill Wren away from his duties at the McDonald Observatory once again. Join us for a screening of the film The City Dark followed by a presentation by Bill Wren, Dec. 11 in Bee Cave and Dec. 12 in Mason. Learn more about protecting the night sky here.
Texas Parks and Wildlife is the only state agency with a dedicated sales tax. Under state law, a portion of the sales tax on sporting goods is meant to go for parks. But lawmakers consistently divert some of that money to balance the state budget. Read more from StateImpact.
The mayor of Del Rio told San Antonio Water System trustees Monday that his city would use every legal means to block a proposed plan to pipe billions of gallons of water from Southwest Texas to San Antonio. The proposal, made by the V.V. Water Co., would send enough water for more than 150,000 households per year from drought-weary Val Verde County to SAWS by 2018. Red more from SA Express-News.
The mood was grim among folks from Bay City, Eagle Lake and other coastal communities today as the Lower Colorado River Authority board voted 8-7 in favor of an emergency proposal that will likely cut off water to rice farmers for the third year in a row. Read the full article from the Texas Observer. View Sierra Club's comments and press statement for the November 19 LCRA meeting.
Unlike surface water, which is owned and allocated by the state, groundwater belongs to the landowner and is regulated by nearly 100 different conservation districts across Texas, all of which set their own rules. The recent drought, along with major court decisions, has led to what some say is the most uncertain time in state history for those who depend on and manage groundwater in Texas. Read the first of this five-part series from the Texas Tribune.
The Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter recently released an updated version of its popular report on desalination of seawater and brackish groundwater and surface water. Desalination: Is It Worth Its Salt? is a basic primer on desalination written for the general public. The report explores the environmental, energy, and economic issues surrounding desalination and provides an overview of desalination activities in Texas. Read More
Now leading one of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s top five most-visited parks, Doug Cochran sees challenges and opportunities in managing Enchanted Rock State Natural Area’s 1,600-plus acres, which includes the iconic, 640-acre granite dome outcropping. Read the full article from the Fredericksburg Standard.
With groundwater and surface water treated as two independent water supplies under Texas law, it can be tricky to plan for our future generations. Citizen involvement is essential to achieving fair policy to sustain our water supply, a shared resource. A great place to learn is the Texas Living Waters Project - Tune in.
Attendees of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association's annual conference gathered at Austin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired for a rainwater harvesting tour and discussion. The tour was hosted by Quality Control Steel who donated a 3000 gallon rainwater harvesting tank to the school. Learn More
The case for County Authority is made once again on the edge of Austin and Bee Cave. With little county power to deal with intensity and location of development, planning can be left to the utility. More than a hundred residents showed up at City Hall to express concerns about water, traffic and quality of life issues. Learn More
Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56 percent of respondents preferring smart growth neighborhoods over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation. Read More
Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to the state water plan is groundwater regulation. Almost every region in Texas plans to look below the surface for more water supplies. But many water suppliers, including those that serve Austin and San Antonio, are battling for the right to pump groundwater outside their own jurisdiction. Read more from the Texas Tribune.
The Texas Water Journal, an online, peer-reviewed journal about Texas water issues, will present the inaugural Texas Water Journal Forum, “Water, Politics and Drought,” Nov. 21 in Austin. Learn More
Environmental leaders call on water board to focus Prop 6 money on conservation and avoid projects harmful to rivers. “The State of Texas has consistently declined to implement common sense approaches to to maintain in-stream flows to the bays and estuaries - to the point where coastal ecosystems are now in peril,” said Annalisa Peace, Executive Director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance.” Read the story from Environment Texas.
As water becomes scarcer in Central Texas and the thirst for it is on the rise, property owners in Rollingwood are requesting permission to drill a well and pump 913,400 gallons of water per year for their home. More from Hays Free Press.
“We’re dealing with so many water challenges in the state, particularly here in the Hill Country. There are a lot of unknowns like how to solve the complex water problems and rainwater harvesting is just a simple thing people can be doing to take the stress off of our aquifers.” Read the full Boerne Star article.
With what has been described as the worst drought in recorded history punishing parts of Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbott found a way to keep watering his yard without risking fines or incurring huge monthly bills: He drilled his own well. Austin has no power to stop landowners from drilling water underneath their own terrain in pro-property-rights Texas. It can only monitor the proliferation of private wells, which Jason Hill, an Austin Water Utility spokesman, said officials are doing “vigorously.” More from the Texas Tribune
Henly is not so much a town as a collection of farmers and ranchers along U.S. 290 between Dripping Springs and Johnson City. Community life revolves around volunteer fire department barbecues and services at the Henly Baptist Church. The unincorporated town, which has more livestock than people, doesn’t have so much as a traffic light or a gas station. More from Statesman.com.
Texas Green Network is hosting an event in Austin, November 21st to examine next steps related to Prop 6. What does this mean for conservation? How do these funds get prioritized? How does this affect the business community? Details
“Parks and recreation won big on the ballot this week,” said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. “At a time when many parks are suffering and natural areas are quickly being eaten up by sprawl, millions of Texans put their money where their mouth is and made a big investment in green spaces, water quality, ball fields, bike trails and in our overall quality of life.” Read the full story.
Scenic Texas announces the appointment of three new Hill Country board members. The new appointments are Kathleen Krueger, Former Mayor Pro-Tem, New Braunfels; Paul Robert Goebel, Associate Dean at Texas Tech University, Lubbock; and Chris Cornwell, former PepsiCo Food Scientist, Canyon Lake. Learn More
Texans overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment Tuesday to jump-start financing for water projects in the state: Proposition 6. The plan will take $2 billion in surplus state money (from the Rainy Day Fund) to start a low-interest loan program for water projects in Texas. The measure had widespread support from both sides of the aisle as well as business and environmental groups. It passed with over 73 percent of the vote. More from State Impact.
It might have been a clear, crisp fall day in Boerne, but inside the Boerne Civic Center it was raining a solid schedule of rainwater harvesting information at the 4th annual Rainwater Revival. This Hill Country Alliance (HCA) event brought together a full day’s schedule of rainwater experts and professionals to teach and demonstrate a sure way to end all your water woes. Read the full story in the Rivard Report.
The new CAMPO website features a pretty bluebonnet-lined Hill Country road on the cover, what are we doing to protect this vision? A new video featuring CAMPO leaders kicks off a new public input vehicle - Mind Mixer. What’s important to you as we grow this region? Quality of life, clean water, natural resource protection, open spaces, rail and bike options? Let CAMPO know.
The choice for cities facing water shortages now or in the future is clear: invest in expensive new water supplies or invest in programs to reduce water use, including outdoor water use. Several smart Texas cities chose the latter. San Antonio Water System provides rebates to customers who agree to reduce their turf grass and to replace it with plants from an approved drought-tolerant plant list. More from texaslivingwaters.org.
Now is the time because current enhanced tax incentives expire Dec 31. Rules regarding amount of the deduction and the number of years you can take the deduction are about to change. Contact your local land trust for more information. Learn about conservation easements and land trusts working in the Hill Country here.
December 5 in Wimberley – Open House to discuss four-lane divided parkway between Wimberley and San Marcos - Details
December 6 in Uvalde - Star Party at Fort Inge - Details
December 16-18 in San Antonio - Clean Air through Energy Efficiency Conference and Business Expo - Details
The 2014 HCA Calendar is on sale!
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