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.

Hill Country Night Sky Co-opPhotographer: Rob Greebon

Hill Country landowners, businesses and communities who would like to advance a spirit of cooperation and commitment to protecting nights skies have created the Hill Country Night Sky Coop. All it takes to join is a simple promise to be a good neighbor and responsible with outdoor lighting choices. Sign up today!


Join founding members:
The Preserve at Walnut Springs - Blanco County
LBJ National Historic Park - Blanco and Gillespie County
Selah, Bamberger Ranch - Blanco County
Reese River Ranch - Blanco County
Garrison Brothers Distillery - Blanco County
Double H Ranch - Blanco County
Hershey Ranch - Gillespie County
Native American Seed Farm - Kimble County
Red Corral Ranch - Hays County

In taking this vow:

“We pledge to practice sound outdoor lighting management with the intention to eliminate light escaping over the horizon from outdoor lighting fixtures on my property and thus protect and preserve the treasured natural wonder that is the Hill Country’s starry nighttime skies.”


TAKE THE PLEDGE ONLINE

OR

DOWNLOAD PLEDGE





Learn more about Hill Country efforts to protect our starry skies

Learn more about the Hill Country Alliance

Helpful Resources:

HCA Hill Country Night Skies Issue Paper
Better Lights for Better Nights - A quick and helpful guide for choosing the best lighting fixtures


Hill Country Night Sky Co-op Members:

Bandera County

Orchard Park HOA
Vita Dulche Ranch

Bexar County

Karen Ellard
Daniel O'Keefe
Roger and Vilma Sarafin
Eleanor and Sara Mantooth
Stephen Colley Architecture Marvin Thomas
Vince Vita
Chris Walker

Blanco County

Jim & Julie Barbe
Benson Body and Paint
Cathy Berryhill
Blanco County Inn
Jan Booth
Brieger Pottery
Bob & Carolyn Boydston
Barnett and Nancy Cline
Stan & Connie Barron
Barnett and Nancy Cline
Copper Roof Ranch
Cranberry's
Double H Ranch
Four Peas in a Pod Ranch
Janice Leonard Fox
Garrison Brothers Distillery
Janice Fox
Garrison Brothers Distillery
Frances Ann Gieon
Wayne & Martha Gosnell
Gabriel Gregerman
Haynes Cedar Company
Janus Jones
Linda Kester
Eric Krause
Marilyn and David Langeman
Little Chihuahua Ranch
Joe & Niki Lockwood
Los Senderos Ranch
Peter and Karen Mangan
Mike Barnes Group, Inc.
Mollberg Piano Restoration
Mary Nabers
Rhonda Norville
Old Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society
On the Square
Pecan Street Brewing
Tony Perez
Jack Petersen
Pie Store
Stephen and Barbara Porter
Prattville Ranch
Prestwould Ranch
Real Ale Brewing Company
Redbud Cafe
Reese River Ranch
Chelita Riley
R.K. and Priscilla Seals
Selah, Bamberger Ranch
Carole Smith
Crystal Spybeck
Stripes of Blanco
Todd Swift
Hal & Sandy Switzer
Taste Wine + Art
The Meadows of Flat Creek Ranch
The Preserve at Walnut Springs
Kara Vanderkieft
John Watson
Rob Wayne
Hannah Weidel
Kathy Weldon
Marcy & Ron Westcott
Philip Wickes
Joan Winters
Anna Worthy
Deb & Lyle Yorgensen

Burnet County

Karen Bruett
Michael Lucksinger
Stuart & Rebecca Nunnally

Comal County

Ed & Kay Geffken
Sharon Hills
William Masters
Betty Meeks
Steinke Ranch

Gillespie County

Farin Alban
Ryan Behrends
Callen Hein
Ecohome Construction Friends of Enchanted Rock
Hershey Ranch
John Huecksteadt
LBJ National Historic Park
Katherine Peake
Kimberly Lewis
Peaceable LP
Melissa Mial
Juliet Roseberry
Linda Ross
John Washburne
Lynn Watt

Hays County

Bill Andrew
Kindal Baker
John Boehme
Randy Buckspan
Cindy & John Cassidy
Susan Cook
Susan Hanson
Lisa Kay
Dawn McDaniel
Luise Pettigrew
Red Corral Ranch
Colleen Reeves
Sundown
TerraScena
Doug Witkowski
Belindh Zent

Kendall County

Mary & Mike Morton

Kerr County

Linda Bullard
G. and A. Hodgson
Sonny and Elaine Payne
Robert Russell
Don Willoughby

Kimble County

Native American Seed Farm

Llano County

Haynes & Boone
Mountain View Estates HOA
Putman Mountain Observatory

Travis County

Laurie Allai
Karen Balthrop
Bojorquez Law Firm
Pamela Brouker
Connie J. Boltz
Jim Branson
Kasey Culp
Tom Delaney
Ginger Davis
David Dillen
Bill Eschner
Dick and Kathy Hanson
George High
Steve Janda
Kathryn King
Ly Langley
Helen Linthicun
Anne Lewis
Helen Linthicun
Living Space Management Services, LLC
Gene Lowenthal
Terry Main
Alison O'Balle
Nell Penridge
Bob Perkins
Cindy Phillips
Christie Shelton
Shield Ranch
Mary Beth Thomas
Way Out West Austin

Other Counties

Laurie Allai - Williamson County
B. Bailey - Hidalgo County
Richard Boening - Harris County
Walter Davies - Williamson County
Scott Engelke - Williamson County
Tina Joseph - Tarrant County
Steven Longley - Dallas County
Stan Meador - Schleicher County
Jonathan Naizer - Williamson County
Amanda Renfro - Dallas County
Joe Orr - Wilson County
Everett Thomas - Caldwell County

The Latest News

City Wastewater Discharge May Threaten Clear-running Creeks and Water Wells

Some water experts believe Hill Country clear-running creeks and streams may soon be a thing of the past if cities are permitted to discharge treated wastewater directly into creeks such as Onion Creek. Water wells may also become contaminated. Read More

Keeping Rivers Flowing: Innovative Strategies to Protect and Restore Rivers - Starts April 30

"Keeping Rivers Flowing" is a free three-part webinar series designed to inform interested persons about strategies to ensure the future health of Texas' rivers, bays and estuaries. Drawing on practical experience from here in Texas and around the world, speakers will discuss innovative approaches for ensuring that rivers, bays and estuaries continue to get the flow needed to protect water quality and support healthy fish and wildlife populations. Learn More

Common Misperceptions Regarding Land and Wildlife Management in Central Texas

There’s a lot of bad information floating around in the Hill Country regarding land management, in addition to a lot of good information. Sometimes it is difficult to sort out the bad from the good. Misinformation can come from a variety of sources – the coffee shop, the feed store, magazine articles, well meaning neighbors and even natural resource professionals. By clarifying some of the common misperceptions, people will be able to make better decisions regarding natural resources. Steve’s writings are timeless. Read more from Steve Nelle and educate your neighbors.

Join HCA at Upcoming Bennett Trust Education Program: Protecting the Legacy of the Edwards Plateau

The Bennett Trust will host its first ever land stewardship and education conference April 23-25 in Kerrville. Wyman Meinzer, state photographer of Texas, will deliver the keynote address on the history and legacy of the Edwards Plateau. Attendees will also have the opportunity to visit local ranches, vineyards and orchards to learn more about sustainable practices in horticulture, forage production and wildlife management. Learn More

TWDB opens SWIFT for public comment

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has opened their State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) rules making process for public comment. Participation in the rules making process is critical to ensure that the intentions of the State Legislature are carried out in the long-term administration of the State’s SWIFT funds. The HCA has submitted a list of recommendations to the TWDB that will help ensure spring and stream-flow sustainability in the Hill Country.

PEC Candidate Forum April 24th in Johnson City

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) is hosting a candidates forum for two board of director seats up for election this year. The meeting will be held 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24 at PEC Headquarters, 201 S. Ave. F in Johnson City. The event will also include discussion of a ballot referendum on whether to switch to single-member district elections for board directors. Learn more about the candidates from the San Marcos Mercury. Learn more about the process and forum from the PEC.

Sky Lewey, HCA Board Member receives Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Award

Sky has been selected to receive a “Lone Star Land Steward Award” for her work in education and outreach for the Nueces River Authority in Uvalde County. “Sky Lewey is a conservation educator with extraordinary leadership and dedication. A key figure in the efforts to restore healthy riparian function to the Nueces River Basin and beyond.” David Langford, HCA Advisor, and his wife Myrna are also receiving an award for their landowner cooperative in Kendall County. Congratulations HCA leaders! Read more from TPWD.

To Deal With Drought, Texas Needs to Manage Growth

“With the exception of the lower Rio Grande Valley and small parts of Far West Texas, much of the state has received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall,” reads TWDB’s most recent report. “This doesn’t bode well for the next six months. A dry winter generally portends a dry spring and summer.” Read more from Nextcity.org.

Amazing rally for Bracken Bat Cave

Bat Conservation International has inspired major support to prevent intense development of 1500 acres adjacent to Bracken Cave from the City of San Antonio, Mayor Julian Castro, City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, The Kronkosky Charitable Foundation and others. Find out more about recent negotiations to save the cave and learn about upcoming opportunities to personally visit Bracken Bat Cave and see the bats take flight.

The Great Grassland Myth of the Texas Hill Country

How many times have you heard that the Hill Country was once a great vast grassland with only a modest covering of trees and brush? Although this longstanding myth is deeply ingrained and embraced by many government agencies, biologists, landowners and professionals, it is false and misleading. Learn what the Hill Country was really like prior to 1860 from eye-witness accounts, and why it is important to understand the past. Read and share from Steve Nelle.

Georgetown moves to limit residential lawns and landscaping to save water

“The rules require residential developers to use only drought-resistant plants from a list provided by the city. St. Augustine grass, which tends to be very thirsty, can only be planted in areas where there is 10 inches of topsoil and less than 6 hours of full sunlight per day.” Read more from the American Statesman (subscription required). Learn more about St. Augustine and the impact lawn watering has on our regional water supply from Native American Seed here. KXAN reports “more buyers want homes with smaller yards and less grass to water.” View video here.

The High Cost of San Antonio’s North-South Water Divide

The fact is the city’s sprawling suburbs, gated communities and ex-urban neighborhoods are addicted to lawn and landscape watering. SAWS officials say about one-third of all the water we use in the hot summer months is pumped to keep grass alive. Not humans, but grass. Learn More

TWDB launches Interactive State Water Plan Website

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has developed a new Interactive 2012 State Water Plan webpage that will let water users statewide take an up-close look at data in the 2012 State Water Plan and how our water needs will change over time. This data will arm communities with important information as they plan for projects to submit for State Water Implementation Fund (SWIFT) funding. Learn More

A more “Night Skies” friendly community

It started when the Kimble County Commissioners Court, followed by the City Council, passed resolutions supporting voluntary efforts to protect the Night Skies. This paralleled actions being taken in other Hill Country communities to preserve the awe-inspiring Night Skies and the enjoyment that comes with stargazing, including its attraction for visitors. Read more from the Junction Eagle.

More News

Upcoming Events

April

April 22 - Earth Day! - Earth Day Events

April 22 in Austin - Texas Water Journal Forum focusing on current challenges to rural and urban water conservation - Details

April 23-25 in Kerrville - Bennett Trust Educational Program: "Protecting the Legacy of the Edwards Plateau" - Details

April 23-27 - 2014 Hill Country Nature Quest - Tour the Hill Country River Region and learn about native plants, birds, butterflies and wildlife - Details

April 25 in Austin - Kent Butler Summit, “Faucets, Toilets, and Automobiles: Balancing Growth and Sustainability in the Barton Springs Aquifer Region” - Details

April 25-27 in Fredericksburg - 4th Annual Wings over the Hills Nature Festival - Details

April 26 in Austin - Native Plant Spring Symposium - Hosted by The Native Plant Society of Texas and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Details

April 28 in Kerrville - Native Bees of Texas - A meeting of the Hill Country Master Naturalist - Free and open to the public - Details

April 30 - Keeping Rivers Flowing: Innovative Strategies to Protect and Restore Rivers - Free three-part webinar series on strategies to ensure the future health of Texas' rivers, bays and estuaries - Details

May

May 3 in Bandera - 13th Annual Medina River Cleanup - Details

May 6 in Medina - Fruit Tree Management Workshop - Hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Details

May 7 in San Antonio - Public Health and the Built Environment - Healthy Communities by Design - Details

May 8 in San Antonio - Urban Wildlife Management Workshop - Details

May 9 in Boerne - Monarch Workshop: Monarch Biology, Ecology & Monarch Larval Monitoring Project Training - Hosted by the Cibolo Nature Center - Details

May 9 in Stonewall - 2014 New Landowner Series: Forage Production, Livestock Production and Handling, Crop Production - Presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Details

May 10 in Wimberley - Grand Opening of the newly improved Jacob's Well Natural Area - Details

May 12 in Fredericksburg - Better Lights for Starry Nights: Learn how to save money, preserve our night skies and enjoy some star gazing! - Hill Country University Center - Details

May 13 in Kerrville - Texas Riparian & Stream Ecosystem Workshop – Upper Guadalupe River - Details

May 13 in Llano - Better Lights for Starry Nights: Learn how to save money, preserve our night skies and enjoy some star gazing! - Details

May 14 in Marble Falls - Better Lights for Starry Nights: Learn how to save money, preserve our night skies and enjoy some star gazing! - Details

May 16 in Fredericksburg - Better Lights for Starry Nights: Learn how to save money, preserve our night skies and enjoy some star gazing! - Enchanted Rock State Natural Area - Details

May 16 in Austin - Exploring Conservation Design in Central Texas with Randall Arendt - Details

May 19 in Austin - 2014 Texas Water Summit: Securing our Economic Future - Presented by The Acadamy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas Details

May 28-30 in San Antonio - Southwest Stream Restoration Conference - Details



See more upcoming events


Photo Contest

Photo contest begins March 1st!
Details


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



Hill Country View
Listen and Learn



Maps

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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