February 23, 2013
Nueces River Authority
A bill has been filed in the Texas Legislature to help preserve the unique ecological condition of the headwaters of the Nueces, Frio and Sabinal rivers in Uvalde County and the Comal and San Marcos rivers in Comal and Hays counties. Senate Bill 589, by Glenn Hegar, is the result of a recommendation by the South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group (Region L).
Region L Chairman, Con Mims, explains that “these are some of the last nearly pristine waters in the state. They are widely recognized natural treasures that identify the regions in which they are located.”
Region L documents show that the Nueces, Frio, and Sabinal stream segments are listed in the Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI) prepared by the National Park Service. NRI listed rivers possess one or more “outstandingly remarkable” natural or cultural values judged to be of more than local or regional significance.
The San Marcos River segment is fed by the second largest spring system in Texas. It is the number one recreational river in the state and number two scenic river. The Comal River segment is fed by the largest spring in Texas. It supports a regional recreation and tourist industry and provides critical habitat for four federally listed endangered species.
State law allows for designation by the Texas Legislature of streams having unique ecological value. A stream may be considered for unique designation if it meets one or more of the following criteria: significant biological function, valuable hydrologic function, riparian conservation areas, high water quality/exceptional or high aquatic life use/high aesthetic value, threatened or endangered species/unique communities. Mims says “All of these criteria are met by each of these stream segments”.
The Nueces, Frio and Sabinal river segments extend from the Uvalde County line, which is the boundary of Region L, downstream to approximately the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. The Comal and San Marcos river segments are within the immediate influence of the Comal and San Marcos springs. The Nueces segment is about 19 miles long, the Frio is about 15 miles, the Sabinal is about 12 miles, the Comal is about three miles, and the San Marcos is about two miles in length
According to Mims, the passage of this legislation will only mean that a state agency or political subdivision of the state may not finance the actual construction of a reservoir within the designated segment. “There are no reservoirs planned for any of these segments to the best of Region L’s knowledge.”
Mims noted that Region L’s support of this bill is contingent on the following conditions remaining in the bill.
The designation of a river or stream segment as being of unique ecological value (1) does not affect the ability of a state agency or political subdivision of the state to construct, operate, maintain, or replace a weir, a water diversion, flood control, drainage, or water supply system, or a recreational facility in the designated segment; (2) does not prohibit the permitting, financing, construction, operation, maintenance, or replacement of any water management strategy to meet projected water supply needs recommended in, or designated as an alternative in, the 2011 Regional Water Plan for Region L; and (3) does not alter any existing property right of an affected landowner.
“Region L believes that the Texas Legislature’s recognition of these streams as being unique’, Mims said, “will elevate their importance and value, instill additional pride in them by adjacent landowners and nearby communities, and encourage their continued, voluntary, preservation.”
The planning area for Region L covers 21 ½ counties from Uvalde, Zavala and Dimmit counties to the west, Kendall, Hays, and Caldwell counties to the north, and down the San Antonio and Guadalupe rivers to Refugio and Calhoun counties at San Antonio Bay. The planning group has 29 members from throughout the region.
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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
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October 1 in Austin - No Land, No Water: Tools & Strategies for Conserving Land to Protect Water Resources - Presented by Texas Agricultural Land Trust - Details
October 7 in Canyon Lake - Public Forum on Trinity Aquifer, presented by The League of Women Voters Comal Area - Details
October 8 in San Antonio - Water Forum V: A regional forum on our future - Details
October 15 in Junction - SLWA Guadalupe Bass Workshop - Details
October 16 in San Antonio - Teaming with Wildlife: The State of Nature in Texas, presented by Compassionate San Antonio - Details
October 16 in Boerne - Hill Country Agri-land workshop - Details
October 17-19 in Alpine - Society for Ecological Restoration Annual Conference: Ecological Restoration in the Southwest - Details
October 24 in Utopia - Stars over Utopia - Learn how to protect our night skies and do some stargazing - Details
October 25 in Dripping Springs - HCA's 5th Annual Rainwater Revival! - 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