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.
While traditional developers scramble for scarce water resources, sustainable development in the Hill Country is happening right under our noses. Several water-neutral projects incorporating rainwater harvesting systems are in progress and more are in the planning stages. With proper consideration and non-invasive infrastructure, the Hill Country gets enough rain even - in the worst drought year - to supply a home’s water needs. Local builder and The Hill Country Alliance’s own Paul Sumrall is featured in the following Austin American Statesman news story written by Andra Lin. Click here to read.
Installing a rainwater collection system costs about the same or less than drilling a well but offers multiple advantages, making it the more economical and environmentally-friendly choice in the long run. Most importantly, rainwater collection systems do not deplete underlying aquifers the way wells do, making them much more reliable sources of water. Read more from the Hondo Anvil Herald.
After a long dry period, many parts of the state have finally received some badly needed rain, and those with rainwater harvesting systems have been reaping the rewards of this belated gift from Mother Nature, said Texas A&M AgriLife water resources experts. Read more
Impressed by the quality of proposals for its rainwater harvesting and conservation grant program, the Hill Country Alliance is awarding three – instead of the planned two – $1,000 grants to Hill Country schools to help teachers and students design and implement water-saving techniques. Read more
Congratulations to Brad Flink, who’s RWH project was honored by the Texas Water Development Board with its Texas Rain Catcher Award. HCA’s Rainwater Revival grant program provided support to document this project and create a model for other campuses. The stormwater retention and reuse system created by students is capable of holding 84,000 gallons for irrigating the Bulldogs' baseball field. Read morefrom Zeke MacCormak and the SA Express News.
The City of San Marcos Public Works Department is implementing a new program to help its customers conserve water. Through this program water customers can receive rebates for purchasing and installing rain barrels and large rainwater tank systems. Private home systems may qualify for up to $5,000, while commercial, institutional and multi-family systems may receive as much as $20,000 in rebates. Learn More
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) announced recently that Bandera High School is among the winners of its annual Texas Rain Catcher Award, a rainwater harvesting competition and recognition progpram. The award recognizes excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas, promotes the technology, and educates the public. Learn More
The Hill Country Alliance has set an April 30 deadline for local schools to apply for grants of up to $1,000 to develop or continue water catchment and conservation programs. The auction of “art barrels” during the Alliance’s annual Rainwater Revival, held in November, funds the grants. Learn more...
The disastrous chemical spill that contaminated West Virginia's water supply reinforced the value of harvesting rainwater to provide distributed sources of safe water. Read More
On January 21st the Hays County Commissioners Court discussed creation of a Hays County Rainwater Initiative Fund, the Hays “RAIN” Fund. The proposal authored by Commissioner Ray Whisenant would create a revolving loan fund that would be available to Hays County citizens for installation of systems to collect, store and use rainwater that would result in a reduction in the use of groundwater. Learn More
“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.
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.
Rainwater harvesting is part of the new water culture in Texas, especially in the Texas Hill Country where water is scarce and precious. On Saturday, November 2, the Rainwater Revival returns to the Boerne Civic Center where rain harvesting experts and practitioners will speak throughout the day in tandem with a variety of exhibitor and vendor tents, a live auction of artful rain barrels, the Raindrop Stop for kids, food trailers, music, and fun for the whole family. Learn More
Rainwater Harvesting as an Alternate Water Source will be the Focus of this Year's Annual Conference of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association. Learn More
For Round Rock resident Sean Barber, the two rain water collection tanks in his backyard are turning out to be his friend. Tired of seeing rain water wasted, Barber joined the city's harvesting rebate program. Under the city's program, which began June 1, people who install rain collection tanks like Barber's will be paid 50 cents per gallon of water collected with a maximum rebate of $250 a year per customer. Learn more from KVUE.
AgriLife will be hosting a workshop on rainwater harvesting Aug. 17 in Austin. A comprehensive rainwater harvesting discussion will be led by Ed Parken, Travis County Master Gardener and rainwater harvesting specialist, and Dick Peterson, who served the city of Austin for 14 years as coordinator of xeriscape and rainwater programs. Details
If you’ve been wishing for a rain barrel, the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District is having a rain barrel distribution on July 27th at the Kendall County Court House in Boerne. Special discounted prices include shipping to the pick-up site. Learn more and pre-order your barrels here.
H.B. 2062 as introduced could have set rainwater harvesting back ten years. But because of the dedicated work of a small group of rainwater professionals, the worst of H.B. 2062 (for the rainwater community) appears to have been struck. Next time could be different – very different, and very bad. A forum has been scheduled to begin organizing for effective, pro-active, rainwater harvesting advocacy in the interests of consumers, installers, manufacturers, vendors and municipalities. Details
The City of San Marcos is partnering with RainWater Solutions to offer water-conserving rain barrels at an exceptional price. For a limited time the 50 gallon “Ivy” rain barrels are available for $67 each. City of San Marcos water customers are eligible for a 50% rebate, bringing total cost to only $33.50 each. Buyers do not have to be a San Marcos resident of San Marcos to purchase the barrels, but only City water customers are eligible for the rebate. Learn More
The TRWCA Annual Conference will be held all day Friday and Saturday, May 10–11 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in San Marcos. HCA will have a booth promoting our Rainwater Revival event – Come on by and see us! Learn More
The Court issued an order preventing the TCEQ from approving or granting new water permits affecting the Guadalupe or San Antonio Rivers “until the State of Texas provides reasonable assurances to the Court” that new permits would not result in harm to the whooping cranes. Learn More
Water conservation has become a hot-button issue as water becomes more expensive and scarcer, especially during times of drought. Restrictions on landscape watering are common during the hotter months, and the (San Antonio) city council recently approved an 8.4 percent rate increase that SAWS requested. But customers who install catchment systems develop habits that reduce water usage, said Jim Champion of San Antonio-based Texas Rainfall Catchment. “Even with the smallest system, people gain new, better habits about using water,” he said. “They become more conscious of their water use.” Read more from SA Express-News
Hill Country schools in 17 counties are now eligible to apply for grants funded by professionally painted “art rain barrels” auctioned at the highly successful 2012 Rainwater Revival, held in Boerne in October. Learn More
What Mike says to San Angelo can apply throughout the Hill Country, “If San Angelo and the region are to continue to survive and prosper economically and if Texas is to be sustainable with its limited water resources, then residents must learn to conserve water all the time — not just in drought situations." Learn More
Applications are being accepted for the 2012 Texas Rain Catcher Award. The Texas Water Development Board holds the annual competition to promote the technology, educate the public in the practice of harvesting rainwater, and recognize excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas. The competition is open to all individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities, and local and state governmental entities in Texas. The deadline for submitting an entry is December 31. Learn More
Two Austin schools – J.J. Pickle Elementary and Eden Park Academy – are receiving financial assistance to help conserve water resources at their schools and teach students about the value of water conservation. Both schools have been awarded grants by the Rainwater Revival, an annual event that brings together water conservation experts and the public. Learn More
Hard-packed, fractured stretches of bone-dry earth and pale, cloudless skies with months of unrelenting heat isn’t exactly an appropriate backdrop for a conversation about rainwater harvesting. Or is it? Sanjeev Kalaswad, rainwater harvesting coordinator with the Texas Water Development Board and a leading proponent of rainwater harvesting in the state, thinks it’s just the right context for enlightening Texans about collecting and storing rainwater. Read more from Texas Co-op Power.
Kerrville and much of our Texas Hill Country, has a limited amount of water to spare—either groundwater or surface water. In recent decades many of the Central Edwards Plateau counties have boomed in population, growth and tourism activity. Read HCA Advisory Board member Mike Mecke's article in Ranch & Rural Living Magazine.
Elementary and Middle Schools in 17 Hill Country counties now have until June 15 to apply for classroom grants focused on teaching water conservation and rainwater catchment to students, courtesy of the annual Rainwater Revival. Grants of up to $900 per selected application will be awarded for use during the 2012-2013 school year. Learn More
The Hill Country Alliance, organizer of the Rainwater Revival, is seeking grant applications from elementary and middle schools in 17 counties throughout the Hill Country to be used for water conservation education or rainwater harvesting projects at school sites. Learn More
Everyone interested in the quality of their rainwater is invited to the first Water Wise Conference, Saturday, April 28th at McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Cedar Creek, Texas. The program, “What’s in your rainwater – and how do you find out?” will begin at 9:30 a.m. and feature Environmental Laboratory Services/LCRA chemists Tess Abbott, Ariana Dean and Susan Benavidez. The three-hour event will include extensive “Q&A” as well as hands-on opportunities to practice using various water testing equipment. Learn More
A well driller wasn't among the contractors Bobby Watson hired when he built a new home overlooking Canyon Lake. Like a growing number of Texans, he opted to get water from the sky. In the driest times, they had 6,000 gallons in the two 10,000-gallon storage tanks that are camouflaged to blend in with surrounding trees. With the average San Antonian using 130 gallons per person per day, they were never in danger of running out. Read more from SA Express-News.
The study took over a year to complete and is a survey of vendors in the rainwater harvesting market. Learn More from HarvestH20.com.
"Statistics provided by the Texas Water Development Board show that groundwater withdrawal from the Hill Country's Edwards and Trinity aquifers increased dramatically between 1975 and 2010. In 1975, less than 10,000 acre-feet were withdrawn annually; that shot up to 41,000 acre-feet in 2010. Mix in recent drought years, and a picture of a thirsty Hill Country natural world comes into sharper focus." Read more from SA Express-News.
Dear Santa, I've been reasonably good and would like pearl earrings, an electric lap blanket, a digital reading device and, oh yes, a rain water harvesting system. With water being a top concern, you may want to add this to your Christmas wish list. Capturing rain water is a great way to improve your water resources. Read more from MyWestTexas.com.
Time is running out to submit your entry for the 4th Annual Texas Rain Catcher Award. The Texas Water Development Board's (TWDB) Texas Rain Catcher Award is a "rainwater harvesting" competition and recognition program designed to promote rainwater technology, educate the public, and recognize excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 31. More information on eligibility, benefits, judging, entries and past winners is available on the TWDB's Innovative Water Technologies website.
Senator Wentworth promotes HCA’s Rainwater Revival as he informs constituents about Kendall County's action to strengthening watering restrictions and water conservation measures. Read the full story here.
At the 2nd Annual Rainwater Revival set for October 8 in Dripping Springs, you will learn how easy it can be for everyone to capture and enjoy the benefits of rainwater. The lineup of speakers will educate and inspire – with topics including Rainwater Harvesting 101, Designing and Building for Rainwater, the Water/Energy Nexus, Installing your Own System, and Making Your Own Rain Barrels. State Rep. Doug Miller and representatives from two key state agencies will provide an update on how State and local governments are supporting and encouraging rainwater capture. Read more
The rainwater harvesting bill made it through the Texas Legislature this week and is headed to the Governor’s desk. Read KUT story here.
The passage of Texas House Bill 3391, known as the Rainwater Harvesting Bill, represents a giant step forward for conservation of water resources and water security for the state. Rainwater harvesting is one of the best solutions to limited water resources and an increasing demand on water supply in Texas. Read more here.
Rainwater Harvesting is one of the most simple and effective water conservation tools for the Hill Country. Last year HCA co-hosted the first annual Rainwater Revival to provide education and enthusiasm for Rainwater collection. The event was a huge success and we are busy making plans for 2011! Sponsorship available now, contact HCA for more information. To learn about last year's event see http://www.rainwaterrevival.com. HCA would like to send out a huge thank you to the LCRA and Hays County for their support. You can find more information about Rainwater Harvesting on this HCA issue page: http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/HCA/RainwaterHarvesting
The Texas Rainwater Catchment Association (TRCA) is hosting their State Conference in Kerrville. This event is free and open to the public, March 18th and 19th. Learn more
A public hearing on new development rules drew only two speakers, both supportive of a proposal in the new rules that would allow subdivisions that rely on rainwater collection to provide potable water. Read full Boerne Star article here.
The Rainwater Revival today announced the speaker and live music line-up for this outdoor festival created to celebrate the timeless conservation practice of rainwater collection. Read more here.
The Rainwater Revival will be a fantastic opportunity for the entire Hill Country conservation community to come together in support of rainwater harvesting. Sponsorships and vendor booths are now available and filling fast. The event will take place October 9th in Dripping Springs. Click here to find out how you or your organization can get involved.
Texas AgriLife Extention is offering a self-directed online course designed to help small acreage landowners gain an understanding of how to collect rainwater for livestock. Click here for details.
Sustainable Concept House Workshop, May 29th, and two Rainwater Harvesting Workshops, June 12 and July 10. Click here for more.
The Rainwater Revival is coming to Dripping Springs on 10-9-10. A brainstorm of the Hays County Water Conservation Working Group, The Rainwater Revival will be a fun, festive, educational event to spread the good word on rainwater harvesting and water conservation, the importance of which grows with our ever increasing population. Click here to check out the event website for volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.
A two-year standoff is ending between the city and a businesswoman who refused to take municipal water because she'd installed a rainwater catchment system on her new building. Read full SA Express article here.
The mission of the Texas Rainwater Catchment Association is to provide Texas citizens with credible information and resources on rainwater collection, to promote the advancement of rainwater conservation and to work with state, county and other local government units in promoting rainwater catchment. The agenda of this conference has been put together with that mission in mind. - Details and Registration
A one-inch rain falling on a 1,000-square-foot roof yields 600 gallons of water — a bounty during times of drought, according to Hill Country Master Naturalist Jim Stanley. But storing rainwater is just one of the benefits of a rainwater harvesting system, said Stanley, who has served as a Riverside Nature Center volunteer for the past eight years. Read full Kerrville Daily Times article here.
Many Bandera County residents have been wondering the obvious, when is it going to rain? Naturally, we are all concerned about our water supplies and whether our wells will withstand the drought. Asserting he can provide an alternative to groundwater usage, Bryon Moseley, of Rain Catchment Systems, Inc., claims it's all on the roof. Read full Bandera Bulletin article here.
It seems somewhat counterintuitive that the longer the drought persists, the more demand grows for rainwater harvesting systems around the Hill Country. They're increasingly popular because, in spite of sparse rainfall, clouds may prove a more reliable long-term water source than wells because of recent rapid growth. Read full Mysanantonio.com article here.
Rainwater harvesting is fast becoming an attractive water supply option in many areas of Texas; some households are even using it as their sole source of water. Although rainwater is generally clean, it can contain chemical and biological contaminants. Some of these contaminants are picked up in the atmosphere, but others are from the roof of a building when rain comes in contact with it. Read full article TWDB's newsletter here.
With rainwater catchment dating back to 4,000 years ago, the statement "Where every drop counts" has rung true throughout the centuries in countries around the world. As our region continues to endure almost 2-years of drought conditions and our groundwater resources diminishing more with each passing day, one local Boerne couple continues to prove this method works and the statement is true. Read full Hill Country Times article here.
While Hari Krishna was visiting his native India recently, he traveled through a remote rural village and saw that rainwater was being collected from the roofs of some of the buildings. He stopped and asked the villagers how they learned to build the catchment system. One man went inside and promptly brought out a copy of The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting written by none other than Krishna. A longtime employee of the Texas Water Development Board, now working as a consultant, Krishna was gratified to find his handbook so far from home, but not all that surprised. Read full TP&W artile here.
Talk about the concept of a self-sustained home and the image that comes to mind is a rustic cabin with bare minimum comforts. But one couple in the Texas Hill Country — Rick and Stephanie Ertel — has erased that image. The couple has built a platinum-certified LEED home that is both environmentally friendly and luxurious. What’s more, it also won an Austin Energy Five-star rating. Read full SA Business Journal article here.
DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West. Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago. Read full NY Times article here.
When it rains most people stay in and look out. But the next time it rains, get dressed and go out. This is the best way to really know what the flow of water is on ... and off your property. Read full article in Rain Garden Networks latest newsletter here.
"Residents from all over the Hill Country of Texas who are concerned about water conservation are learning how Mother Nature can lend a helping hand," writes Scott Sticker for the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. "The Texas AgriLife Extension Service on Saturday afternoon hosted a rainwater harvesting seminar at its Comal County extension office where gardeners, agriculture experts and the everyday water drinker had the chance to learn how to properly harvest and filter rainwater for various needs." Read the full Herald Zeitung story here.
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What is your vision of the Hill Country that future generations will inherit? The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) asks this question as it calls for photographs for its 2016 calendar. The annual HCA photo contest opens on March 1 and runs through May 31. Winners receive cash prizes and their photos will appear in the popular HCA calendar and in the organization’s various educational products. Entering the contest is easy through the HCA website. Learn more
Join HCA at this first of many educational programs at the Hill Country Science Mill: Ecologist G. David Tilman presents, "Food, Health and the Environment: Why Eating Right Can Save You and the Earth." Dr. Tilman's research focuses on how to provide secure, sufficient and equitable food to all people of all nations while preserving biodiversity and minimizing agricultural impacts on water quality and climate change. March 29th at 4:30 pm at the Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City. Details
Competition for water prompts a quest for new sources. “The rule of capture is coming to the forefront again,” Venessa Puig-Williams explained. “People in Hays County are seeing that, though the rule purports to uphold property rights, it doesn’t really protect them. Large-scale pumping could dry up nearby groundwater sources.” Read more from Circle of Blue.
The CAMPO Transportation Policy Board (TPB) is taking public comment on the draft 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, amendments to the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan and the FY's 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program. The TPB will hold a public hearing on March 9, and CAMPO will host a series of public meetings before the comment period ends on April 2, 2015. These meetings provide opportunities for the public to comment on the draft 2040 Plan, and on the proposed amendments. Learn more
This workshop will cover basic skills from chainsaw operation to prescribed fire basics, geared towards female land managers. Interested in building your understanding of some of these important ranch management skills? This could be the workshop for you. Signup deadline is March 13th and space is limited. Details and Registration
The Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) recently joined with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the East Foundation to form the Center for Private Land Stewardship. The center will be the hub of education for private landowners and the public, according to a Noble Foundation news release. Learn more from Texas Water Resources Institute here.
The Texas Tribune and Texas State University will be hosting a day long symposium on water, March 10 from 8:00 am to 2:45 pm. Topics include life after Proposition 6, the battle over groundwater, strategies for conservation and the poor quality of water along the Texas-Mexico border. Learn more and register for free.
Former LCRA General Manager and groundwater developer, Joe Beal is back in the news with plans to transport water from Bastrop and Lee counties to Travis and Williamson Counties. "It was Beal’s empire-building effort at the river authority in the early 2000s that sent water pipelines shooting into the Hill Country, accelerating suburbia in areas around Dripping Springs" Read more from Statesman.com
Icy roads and freezing rain couldn’t stop more than 200 people from making their way to the second annual Pollinator PowWow in Austin last weekend. The all-day gathering of pollinator advocates and native plant evangelists gathered at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday for a full day of education, enlightenment and wisdom sharing. Read more from Texas Butterfly Ranch here.
"Over the past 15 years, I have studied more than 1,000 springs, closely examining the relationship between springs and the health of the aquifer. I have discovered that springs are of inestimable value to plants and wildlife in landscapes where they occur and have also learned that springs continue to be as important to populations today as they were thousands of years ago. We have also found that in many ways, springs are the canary in the coal mine for groundwater sources." Read more from the National Geographic.
The Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA) today announced its formation as a Texas non-‐profit corporation created to protect these aquifers and their associated springs. In the process, TESPA seeks to bring clarity to the groundwater property rights associated with owning land over the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers and associated springs. Learn more
This workshop will cover basic skills from chainsaw operation to prescribed fire basics, geared towards female land managers. Interested in building your understanding of some of these important ranch management skills? This could be the workshop for you. Signup deadline is March 13th and space is limited. Details and Registration
The second Bennett Trust educational program will take place April 23-24, 2015 at the Inn of the Hills Resort and Conference Center, Kerrville. This first-of-its-kind conference, “Protecting the Legacy of the Edwards Plateau,” will bring the best and wisest, accomplished stewards, visionaries, and legacy-leavers together as educators. Details
While it was once widely assumed that heavy brush like cedar was keeping rainwater from recharging our streams and groundwater systems, science seems to indicate that it's not quite that simple. When done with care and an eye toward restoration, brush control can be beneficial to ecosystem health. Just be realistic about the likelihood that it will fill your stream or stock pond. Read more from Texas Wildlife Magazine.
Ten high school students in Pioneers Youth Leadership were awarded $24,000 in scholarships and cash awards last week at the Capital Farm Credit Rural Youth Entrepreneurship Competition at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. “Participating in this competition has given me confidence that I can successfully start and run a business in my hometown,” said Steeley Smith. “I was able to learn so much about the positive impacts of rainwater collection through my research,” said Jessica Dong of Knippa. Learn more
A recent article in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine profiles some of the biggest problem species invading Texas lakes and waterways, and finds that the damage they are inflicting could cost Texans billions of dollars - and millions of gallons of water - each year. "It's a war, and you are involved." Read more from TPW Magazine.
Learn the basics of birding at the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm. “Birding is good for you physically, mentally and spiritually. You get outside, you use your brain, and it’s about something bigger than you,” says Patsy Inglet of San Antonio. The veteran birder and certified Master Naturalist teaches Introduction to Birding workshops with her birdster husband Tom Inglet. Their next class at the center is 9 a.m. to noon March 28. Learn more
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center has launched a new website - www.OurTexasWater.org highlighting some of the best and worst projects in the State Water Plan. The website features an interactive map where Texans can find projects in their communities that get either a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down for their impact to our rivers, aquifers and natural resources. The website currently gives a thumbs down to the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir in northeast Texas, pumping of the Carrizo Wilcox Aquifer in Bastrop County and a Val Verde County water project which could threaten the Devils River.
“With supplies depleted by drought, the population growing daily and few large water projects in our immediate future, new development must minimize their water demands to protect the lakes, aquifers, and rivers. The counties surrounding the rapidly growing major cities will play a huge role in how we wisely use or diminish our water supplies and in the end determine the State’s economic attractiveness to the nation.” Read more from Tom Hegemier, chair of the Central Texas Land Water Sustainability Forum.
“Well drillers are locating these gaps in water district jurisdictions and exploiting them for pure profit,” said PEC District 6 Director Larry Landaker, who sponsored the resolution. “What is happening in Hays County through the misuse of the rule of capture is tantamount to the theft of water by one community to serve another. … That volume of water could … create a serious economic impact to the Hill Country communities we serve. Economic impact to the Hill Country is economic impact to PEC.” Read more from PEC.
As the story of unregulated groundwater in Hays County unfolds, there are two websites worth paying attention to for current information about citizen involvement. Citizen’s Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) and Save Our Wells.
Many hill country people have been following the Flying J story in Junction; a poster child for ongoing threats to Hill Country rivers due to a lack of rules and oversight. View this video, read final testimony to the City of Junction here.
Come on out to Enchanted Rock this weekend to celebrate the stars! The first Enchanted Rock Star Festival will be February 21 at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Fredericksburg. According to Melissa Mial, event spokesperson, the purpose of the inaugural event is to celebrate Enchanted Rock’s designation as an International Dark Sky Park and Wildlife’s Dark Sky Initiative and increase awareness of the benefits of dark sky friendly lighting. Learn more
Op-ed by Ron Walton: “I am not against growth but know the importance of being able to provide the infrastructure to support it. Unfortunately, I see a growing tendency however for growth in the area at all cost which, especially in the Hill Country (my specialty as a Hydro-geologist with background in water wells, septics, and geomorphology) I think does a disservice to all current residents like myself who came here recently.” Read more
Preliminary 2014 data shows the drought gripping the Highland Lakes is now the most severe drought the region has experienced since construction of the lakes began in the 1930s. As a direct result of the prolonged record-dry conditions and record-low inflows from the streams and tributaries feeding the Highland Lakes, the “firm yield,” or inventory of water LCRA can provide reliably every year, has been decreased by about 100,000 acre-feet, to 500,000 acre-feet per year. (An acre-foot of water is 325,851 gallons.) Further reductions in firm yield are possible as the drought continues. Read more
“As built artifacts, the county courthouses of central Texas tell a compelling story of a particular part of the country over a specific period of time. But more than a mere index of a building type, this project seeks to describe how county courthouses and the squares in which they sit relate to the larger communities that surround them.” Read more from TPR. HCA likes to imagine Hill Country courthouses with native landscaping and rainwater harvesting.
“Communities need to reevaluate traditional planning approaches if they are to support increasing population and economic expansion in the coming years – particularly in areas with high growth and stressed water supplies,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Read more from the Alliance for Water Efficiency report, "Water Demand Offset Programs Offer a Path to Sustainable Community Development" here.
This week the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced what many have noticed for the past 20 years- monarch butterfly numbers are on a precipitous decline. Over the past 25 years an estimated 970 million monarchs have disappeared, largely due to loss of habitat. The Texas Hill Country is an important part of the monarch migration route, and USFWS has prioritized the entire I-35 corridor for reestablishing butterfly habitat. That means planting native milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants. Read more about the efforts to bring monarchs back from the Washington Post
A plan to build a concrete batch plant northwest of Dripping Springs has created an uproar among some residents. The plant, which would be operated as Dripping Wet Concrete
March 4-6 in Austin - 2015 Texas Land Conservation Conference hosted by the Texas Land Trust Council - Details
March 10 in San Marcos - "On the Road: A Symposium on Water" - Presented by the Texas Tribune and Texas State University - Details and Registration
March 13-15 in Llano: Llano Earth Art Fest - Details
March 25 in San Antonio - Saving Family Lands Seminar - Hosted by Texas Agricultural Land Trust - Details
March 26-29 in Brackettville - Advanced Women of the Land Workshop by TWA - Details
March 27-28 in Hunt - "Introduction to Holistic Management and Ecosystem Function" - Part one in HMI's Mitigating Drought with Holistic Management Workshop Series - Details
March 28 in Austin - Native Plant Society Spring Symposium at the Wildflower Center - Details
March 28 in Stonewall – 8th Annual LBJ 100 Bike Tour - Details
March 29 in Johnson City - "Food, Health and the Environment: Why Eating Right Can Save You and the Earth," presented by Ecologist, Dr. G. David Tilman - 4:30 pm at the Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City. Details
April 9 - Six-county wildlife program and tour by Texas Agri-Life Extention - Participating counties: Mason, Menard, McCulloch, Llano, Gillespie & Kimble - Details
April 22 in Jourdanton - Agri-life Workshop - Presentations by HCA's Sky Jones Lewey, Rainwater Harvesting Expert John Kight and more - Details
April 23-24 in Kerrville - The second annual Bennett Land Stewardship: “Keys to Hill Country Living" - Details
Runs March 1 - May 31
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