by David Brown
Chair, Chamber Government Affairs Council
Boerne, TX – August 20, 2012. It’s anyone’s guess. Will the Hill Country be blessed with rains or will we see a repeat of last summer, when Trinity Aquifer wells fell to record low levels and the river’s flow dwindled to almost a trickle? We’re all talking about, reading about it, looking for answers. We already know it’s hot. How will it affect the region and what are we going to do about it?
The Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce, the Kendall County Economic Development Corporation, and the City of Boerne are holding their 2012 Water Forum and Luncheon on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boerne Convention and Community Center. Tickets are $30 with reservations made by September 12 and $40 thereafter.
The 2012 Water Forum’s subject is Water and the 2013 Legislative Session: Perspectives from the State Capitol and Regional Water Experts.
Tommy Mathews from Cow Creek will moderate the panel discussion with water policy experts from the Texas State House, Texas Water Development Board and SAWS:
Representative Allan Ritter is the current Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources and sits on the Calendars and Ways and Means Committees. He is the President of Ritter Lumber Company and has represented HD-21 since 1999. He was elected “Freshman of the Year” in 1999 by his House colleagues and was recognized in 2003 as “Legislator of the Year” by the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas. He has received the "National State Legislator of the Year Award" from the National Home Builders Association and has also been recognized by the Texas Association of Professional Educators and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. He has also been named "Small Businessman of the Year" by the Nederland Chamber of Commerce.
Ed Vaughan is an attorney in private practice in Boerne. He has been a member of the Texas Water Development Board since 2008, a past Board Chairman and serves as the Board's representative on the Texas Bioenergy Policy Council. His term expires on December 31, 2013. He also serves as a Director of Security State Bank of Pearsall, a Director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, a Director of the Former Texas Rangers Foundation, an advisory Director of First State Bank of Uvalde, and an advisory Director of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust. Mr. Vaughan is a past President, Chairman, and Director of the Texas Lyceum.
State Representative Doug Miller from District 73 is the Chair of the Edwards Aquifer Legislative Oversight Committee. He’s a member of the Appropriations Committee’s Sub-Committee on Business & Economic Development and the Natural Resources Sub Committee. He’s also a member of the Natural Resources Committee in the Environmental Flows Study Group. As former Chairman of the Board of the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA), representing Comal and Guadalupe counties, Doug worked with the legislature in 1993 to help write SB1477, which created the Edwards Aquifer Authority in statute. He was one of the original members of the EAA Board and was its longest serving member. He also worked with Senator Buster Brown in the writing of SB1, which created a new (bottom-up) model for Texas water planning and was subsequently appointed as a charter member of the Regional L Water Planning Group.
Steve Clouse is the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for SAWS, the San Antonio Water System, leading a team of more than 800 water and wastewater professionals providing essential services to San Antonio, the 7th largest city in the United States. Clouse began his career with the City of San Antonio in 1985 working in the analytical laboratory and pretreatment divisions. His positions within SAWS have included operations engineer, operations manager, operations director, technical services director, maintenance director and Vice President of production and treatment.
Panel Moderator Thomas “Tommy” Mathews II of Boerne is President of Westward Environmental Inc. He is a current Board Member of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority whose term ends February 1, 2015. He is a member of the National Registry of Environmental Professionals, Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists, Associated General Contractors of Texas, the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce, Texas Hot Mix Asphalt Pavement Association, Texas Aggregate and Concrete Association, Board Member of the Guadalupe Blanco River Trust, and President of the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District. He is also past President of the Hill Country Alliance of Groundwater Conservation Districts, past citizen representative of the Lower Guadalupe River Water Supply Project Advisory Forum.
The 2012 Greater Boerne Water Forum will showcase Regional and State water policy considerations and look at next year’s 83rd Texas Legislative Session to see how prominent water will be on the agenda. Water availability, quality and cost will be some of the biggest challenges we face in Texas as we try to balance quality of life and growth with policies and practices that are sustainable.
Plan to attend this important discussion by reserving your place at the table with Mary Sue Hurdt, Chamber Events Director, 830-249-8000 or online at http://boerne.org.
“Streams and lakes have long since shriveled up in many parts of the state, and now the aquifers — always a backup source during the region’s periodic droughts — are being pumped away at rates that scientists say are both historic and unsustainable.” Read more from the Washington Post. Now California lawmakers are overhauling the state's longstanding "pump-as-you-please" groundwater policy under a package of bills lawmakers recently sent Gov. Jerry Brown. Read about California’s new groundwater rules in the Fort Worth Star Telegram here.
Open to youth ages 8-18, the Picture Your World weekend workshops teach photographic composition and technique through hands-on demonstration, and constructive critique. Participants will produce a visual memory of their day and begin a creative portfolio while experiencing the wonders of the natural environment. Learn more
Fredericksburg SHINES (FBG SHINES), a local organization dedicated to educating the public about sustainable living, will host their second annual Fredericksburg fall tour of homes to spotlight local examples of sustainable, green-living practices. Learn more
The population of Travis County is expected to grow 50% by 2035 for a total of 1,500,000 people. Planning for growth outside of the city limits is critical for the county to continue to thrive in a sustainable manner. As such, Travis County needs your feedback to ensure the County's first comprehensive, long-range Land Water and Transportation Plan reflects local values and priorities. Click here to learn how you can help Travis County plan for future growth.
Hill Country preservationists are calling on state officials to act after Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest truck stop operator and diesel fuel retailer, broke ground on an environmentally sensitive site in Junction only a few hundred yards from the banks of the North Fork of the Llano River. Read more from the Rivard Report.
A landowner workshop has been planned for all interested in, or potentially impacted by, the proposed substation and transmission line planned for the Blumenthal area, September 6 near Fredericksburg. Learn more
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has withdrawn its June 2014 proposed rule change that would have allowed billboards along federal highways to be taller. After receiving public comments from more than 900 Texans and 15 organizations in opposition to taller billboards, the agency advised today it is removing the item from consideration on the August 28 Texas Transportation Commission agenda. Learn more
Efforts to limit the nighttime glow in and around Fredericksburg were buoyed this month as the council approved an outdoor lighting standards ordinance, which will primarily affect new residential and commercial development. A complete draft of the ordinance can be found on the city’s website, www.fbgtx.org. Learn about Hill Country attorney-astronomer, HCA Night Sky team member Ken Kattner who records skies from home observatory and advocates for proper lighting in the Hill Country here.
SAWS presented plans for a 142 mile pipeline from Burleson County to San Antonio at a recent community forum at UTSA. Learn more and watch a video from SAWS news here. While the plan promises 50,000 acre feet of non-Edwards water annually, a Texas Public Radio segment points out that perhaps not enough questions have been raised. Are there consequences related to costs to the community and impacts on San Antonio’s conservation ethic worth exploring? Click here to read and listen to “The Source: Some Critique On A SAWS, Vista Ridge Deal." Decisions will be made by SAWS in September and SA City Council could take this up in October.
“Innovative Strategies and Hard Choices for a Secure Future” will be moderated by Robert Rivard and hosted at the Historic Pearl Stable in San Antonio. A stellar line-up of speakers includes: Berto Guerra, Bill West, Andy Sansom and Karen Guz. Learn more and mark your calendar today.
“The routes will connect destinations beyond Dripping Springs and will take advantage of opportunities to reach the proposed Violet Crown Trail and other regional trails and parks planned for Central Texas.” Read more and get involved. The City of Dripping Springs is soliciting input.
Look to the sky for your water supply—and learn how to capture and use it at the fifth annual Rainwater Revival, which returns to Dripping Springs on October 25. The popular and free edu-fest event is put on by the Hill Country Alliance. “We began our part-educational, part-fun fest in Dripping Springs in 2010, and after two years there we took the event on the road to other parts of the Hill Country,” said Event Chair Karen Ford. “We’re happy to be coming ‘home’ to share the latest information about rainwater conservation and harvesting at Dripping Springs Ranch Park. Learn more
“The population growth has had some obvious impacts, For one, there are a lot more straws, big and small, taking from the groundwater supply.” David K. Langford tells the audience at a recent private lands summit hosted by the Texas Wildlife Association. Read more from Livestock Weekly.
The Native Plant Society of Texas Native Landscape Certification Program is a series of courses that teaches best practices for native plant landscape and habitat preservation. Targeted audiences are homeowners, native plant enthusiasts, landscape architects, architects, landscape designers and nurserymen, Master Naturalists, teachers, citizens, Master Gardeners, engineers, and more. Learn more and register.
Depending on whom you ask, San Antonio might either be on the cusp of securing its water future at a relatively low cost, or it is pinning most of its hopes on a multibillion-dollar boondoggle that could diminish the water supply for fast-growing Central Texas and wouldn’t deliver what San Antonio expects. Read more from the Texas Tribune
“It’s through photographs like these that we help share the importance of protecting our Hill Country environment, and one of the reasons our calendar has been so popular with both area residents and nature lovers worldwide,” said Milan J. Michalec, board president of HCA. Read More
September 6 in Fredericksburg - HCA Landowner Workshop: Discussion of the Blumenthal Substation and Transmission Line - Details
Sepbember 8-12 in Austin - 6th International Workshop on Catchment Hydrological Modeling and Data Assimilation - Details
September 9 in Kerrville - “Drought Impact in Kerr County & How to Improve Our River’s Health” by Tara Bushnoe, UGRA’s Natural Resource Coordinator, at the Riverside Nature Center - Details
September 11 in Wimberley - Community Water Meeting, hosted by CARD - Details
September 12 in Kendalia - 2014 New Landowner Series: Wildlife and Range Management, Brush Work and Sculpting - Presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Details
September 20 in Fredericksburg - Fredericksburg Shines 2nd Annual Sustainability Green Homes Tour - Details
September 22 in Kerrville - Monthly meeting of the Texas Master Naturalists - Topic: Hill Country Land Trusts, Speaker: Bill Lindemann, Vice President of Hill Country Land Trust - Details
September 26-28 in Belton - Renewable Energy Roundup - Details
September 27-28 in Boerne - Texas Hydro-Geo Workshop - Details
September 28 in Austin - 7th Annual Celebration of Children in Nature - Hosted by The Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin and the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center - Details
See more upcoming events
HCA's 2015 Calendar is coming soon! Check back for availability.
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