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Transportation News

News

January 23, 2015

Lone Star Rail kicks off environmental study

A decade-old project to build a passenger rail line between the San Antonio and Austin areas picked up steam January 21 with a public meeting of the Lone Star Rail Project. The meeting served as the kickoff to the project’s environmental impact study, which Lone Star Rail Director Joe Black called a “major, major point in the project.” Read more from the Austin Monitor.

October 19, 2014

The many reasons millennials are shunning cars

There's a lot of evidence that millennials don't drive as much — or care as much for cars in general — as previous generations their own age did. They're less likely to get driver's licenses. They tend to take fewer car trips, and when they do, those trips are shorter. They're also more likely than older generations to get around by alternative means: by foot, by bike, or by transit. There's still a lot of dispute, however, over exactly what these trends mean. Read more from the Washington Post.

December 29, 2013

Saving Rural Roads: One-Man Mission Turns to Island-wide Effort

Think of our scenic Hill Country roads as you read this story of rural character preservation from Martha’s Vineyard, Vineyard Gazette.

November 5, 2013

CAMPO encourages more community involvement

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.

October 30, 2013

Feds Establish National Center to Pick Up the Slack on Sustainable Transportation

Despite transportation becoming cleaner, quieter and safer over the past few decades, little has been done to limit how passenger and freight travel contribute to climate change. That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation this week announced a $5.6 million grant to help six universities establish the National Center for Sustainable Transportation. Read the full article from Nextcity.org.

September 19, 2013

San Antonio long range transportation planning meetings set for Sept and Oct.

In preparation for updating the 2040 transportation plan, meetings have been scheduled throughout San Antonio and in New Braunfels Oct. 2nd and Boerne Oct 3rd. Virtual meeting are also an option. Click here for a full schedule and details.

August 16, 2013

Green Highways: New Strategies To Manage Roadsides as Habitat

From northern Europe to Florida, highway planners are rethinking roadsides as potential habitat for native plants and wildlife. Scientists say this new approach could provide a useful tool in fostering biodiversity. Read more from Yale Environment 360.

June 13, 2013

Federal judge says sprawl, transit, equity must factor into highway decisions

Houston Tomorrow reports “A Wisconsin court ruling may require planners across the country to publicly consider the effects on sprawl and transit before approving highway expansions.” According to The Houston Chronicle, "The interim ruling is far from final and could still be overturned by a higher court, but its mere existence has emboldened some highways foes that the days of 'build it and they will come' answers to handling growth."

May 1, 2013

Industrial Wind and Transmission Updates

Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment continues to monitor and participate in industrial wind and transmission activities that could impact the Hill Country. In the latest updates, information is provided on the continuing debate over the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). Near and long term transmission developments are covered as well. Read the latest from SOSHE here.

April 30, 2013

CAMPO expands to include Burnet County

The Capitol Area Management Planning Organization (CAMPO) is responsible for coordinating transportation plans for counties and cities surrounding Austin. The boundaries have been expanded and the organization has formalized a cooperative planning agreement with Lone Star Rail for high capacity transit plans in Central Texas. Read CAMPO’s recent news here.

March 15, 2013

Decrease In Young Drivers May Influence Transportation Infrastructure

In 2011, the percentage of 16-to-24 year olds with driver’s licenses dipped to another new low. Why does it matter that young people just aren’t that into cars anymore? One important reason it matters is because today’s young people are tomorrow’s main users of our transportation systems. Read more from Dc.StreetsBlog.org.

February 15, 2013

Expansion of Loop 1604 hits another roadblock

Any possible expansion of Loop 1604 between Bandera Road and Interstate 35 will be on hold longer than expected because a federal environmental study could take another three years to finish, Alamo Regional Mobility Authority officials said Thursday. More from SA Express-News.

February 5, 2011

Regional Leaders support transit vision

The Regional Transit Vision Map will help lay the groundwork for the next 25 years of regional mobility investment including urban rail and the Lone Star Rail project from Austin to San Antonio. "...experts have acknowledge that highways alone will not solve Austin's traffic problems." More at Austin Mobility News.

January 21, 2013

Statesman reveals road needs in Central Texas

A Dozen Central Texas roads among state’s top 100 road and bridge problems. “U.S. 290 through Oak Hill is seen as the worst locally”. Read a little more closely to observe where these statistics are coming from. TRIP is a research organization led by contractors, developers and engineers. Learn more about TRIP here

November 29, 2012

Hays Citizens can and should provide input on County Transportation Plan, comments are due December 8th

Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) has taken time to carefully review the draft Hays County Transportation Plan. Help spread the word in Hays County that now is the time to review and comment. This plan is BIG and CARD points out several valid concerns. Please review carefully and speak up.

July 11, 2012

Transportation funding concerns aired

Depreciating gas tax revenues and billions of dollars of debt likely will mean a dearth of funding for new road construction in the coming years. The message, which has been broadcast for years, was echoed again Monday at a state House Appropriations and Transportation joint subcommittee hearing on transportation funding in Austin. Read more from SA Express-News.

July 9, 2012

While Profits Are Up in the Eagle Ford Shale, So is Road Damage

Drilling trucks are doing their damage on Texas roads, especially on highways, bridges, or other roads not designed for heavy loads. The Texas Department of Transportation said Monday that damage from those trucks is at two billion dollars. Read more from NPR.

June 19, 2012

Top leadership resigns from RMA board

The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority's long-standing board chairman, Bill Thornton, and the board member expected to succeed him resigned from their positions Monday, less than a week after the Bexar County Commissioners Court voted to take over the organization's operations. Read more from SA Express-News.

May 15, 2012

City of Austin Unveils Long-Term Rail Vision

Project Connect’s recent newsletter included an impressive graphic showing vision for rail connecting Austin and San Antonio. Check it out and learn more.

April 9, 2012

Building a legacy should take time

“Because once they're on the ground, those projects are there for a very, very long time and literally change the lives of everyone who lives here. For good or for ill. Those lines on the Central Texas map are in fact legacies of those who came before us. And any additions to those maps will be the legacies of people now in a position to decide such things, be it politicians, transportation officials or, in the case of the proposed urban rail line, voters.” Read more from Statesman.com

July 11, 2012

Transportation funding concerns aired

Depreciating gas tax revenues and billions of dollars of debt likely will mean a dearth of funding for new road construction in the coming years. The message, which has been broadcast for years, was echoed again Monday at a state House Appropriations and Transportation joint subcommittee hearing on transportation funding in Austin. Read more from SA Express-News.

July 9, 2012

While Profits Are Up in the Eagle Ford Shale, So is Road Damage

Drilling trucks are doing their damage on Texas roads, especially on highways, bridges, or other roads not designed for heavy loads. The Texas Department of Transportation said Monday that damage from those trucks is at two billion dollars. Read more from NPR.

June 19, 2012

Top leadership resigns from RMA board

The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority's long-standing board chairman, Bill Thornton, and the board member expected to succeed him resigned from their positions Monday, less than a week after the Bexar County Commissioners Court voted to take over the organization's operations. Read more from SA Express-News.

May 15, 2012

City of Austin Unveils Long-Term Rail Vision

Project Connect’s recent newsletter included an impressive graphic showing vision for rail connecting Austin and San Antonio. Check it out and learn more.

April 9, 2012

Building a legacy should take time

“Because once they're on the ground, those projects are there for a very, very long time and literally change the lives of everyone who lives here. For good or for ill. Those lines on the Central Texas map are in fact legacies of those who came before us. And any additions to those maps will be the legacies of people now in a position to decide such things, be it politicians, transportation officials or, in the case of the proposed urban rail line, voters.” Read more from Statesman.com

February 28 2012

Rural Texas – Making the Connection

The transportation needs in rural Texas are as diverse as the citizens who live here. Over the past nine months, TxDOT has been developing the Texas Rural Transportation Plan 2035. Several Hill Country Projects are being prioritized right now. Meetings will be held March 6th in Austin and March 8th in San Antonio. Learn More

December 9, 2011

Perry Survived Even as His Big Plan for Texas Failed

Unveiled by Mr. Perry in early 2002, the public-private transit project was intended as a centerpiece of his governorship, “a plan as big as Texas and as ambitious as our people,” he said, to create 4,000 miles of road, rail and utility corridors each as wide as four football fields. Read more from NY Times.

December 5, 2011

Regional Rail from San Antonio to Georgetown

Project Connect is a collaboration of transportation agencies exploring “high-capacity transit” for our region. Check out this news segment from KUT and KXAN. Open house public meetings will be held in the Austin area December 6, 8 and 9. Learn More

November 23, 2011

New Braunfels Transportation Planning with a Community Vision

After many years of controversy over a proposed outer loop for New Braunfels, a parkway plan will be considered this evening by city council. This new plan, supported by the planning commission, is more sensitive to the environmental features, community character and aquifer recharge zone of the region. Public comments are welcome at 6:00pm New Braunfels City Hall. Read More

November 17, 2011

Commission OKs plan without outer loop

NEW BRAUNFELS — The controversial outer loop will not appear in the city’s new transportation plan being developed as part of an effort to create a municipal planning organization in the New Braunfels/Seguin region. After a City Hall public hearing attended by an estimated 75 people, the city’s Planning Commission voted Tuesday evening in favor of a city-staff drawn plan that would replace the outer loop with parkways on the northern, southern and eastern portions of the outer loop’s would-be route. Read full Herald-Zeitung article.

September 8, 2011

CAMPO is encouraging public comments on Transportation projects

Public meetings will be held this month throughout the CAMPO planning area which includes Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson Counties. Cities and Counties have submitted project priorities, CAMPO's job is to determine how limited funding is spent in this region. Details about the meetings and various project options here. Comments can be submitted online as well as at the public meetings through the month of September.

August 30, 2011

TxDot Public Meeting September 1st in San Antonio

TxDot will hold a public meeting in San Antonio from 5:30 to 6:30 Thursday, September 1st. The State Transportation Agency is seeking input to their comprehensive ten-year plan for all transportation projects including roadways, public transportation and rail. This will be an open-house style public meeting – learn more here.

June 26, 2011

Europe makes driving unpleasant to discourage car use

While U.S. cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation. Read full Statesman.com article here.

June 7, 2011

Regional Transportation Plan for Comal and Guadalupe Counties

The City of New Braunfels is pursuing the formation of a regional metropolitan planning organization (MPO) and the creation of a regional transportation plan. Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to get involved in this process that will determine the appropriate types of roads, review the environmental aspects of relocating or expanding roads and proposing new roadway alignments. Open houses to share draft concepts and gather input from the community will be held June 16th and June 20th . Learn more and get involved.

June 6, 2011

More Roads, More Traffic

Building roads in urban areas doesn’t alleviate traffic, a study finds, because every mile built leads to a corresponding increase in vehicle-miles driven. Other studies have come to similar conclusions, but none has been so comprehensive. Read full Wall Street Journal article here.

April 14, 2011

Bandera Road ‘Super Street'

State and city officials are beginning to explore how turning Bandera Road into a “Super Street” would impact Leon Valley and its main thoroughfare, where traffic congestion is a daily headache for drivers. Read full SA Express article here.

February 10, 2011

S.A. still aboard effort to build Austin rail link

San Antonio officials will continue to pursue a passenger rail line that one day could connect the Alamo City to Austin, a transit project that's already been in the works for more than a decade. Read more from The San Antonio Express-News here.

February 3, 2011

Lawmakers File "Complete Streets" Bill

Lawmakers today filed a bill they hope will help drivers, cyclists and pedestrians safely share the roads. Read more from The Texas Tribune here.

January 23, 2011

Less Fuel Also Means Less Revenue

For environmentalists and others eager to reduce reliance on foreign oil, the advent of electric cars and other fuel-efficient vehicles is cause for celebration. Yet for governments, the trend has a distinct downside: their fuel-tax receipts will dwindle, because drivers will buy less gasoline. Read full New York Times article here.

December 7, 2010

San Antonio West/Southwest Sector Plan 12/14

The City of San Antonio invites you to participate in the first West/Southwest sector planning meeting. December 14th from 6 – 8 pm at the Northside ISD Activity Center. Click here for details.

October 19, 2010

Driven Apart – Land Use and Transportation

This analysis, once again, shows that many of the assumptions driving big investments of taxpayer dollars that shape our communities are outdated, said CEOs for Cities President and CEO Carol Coletta. Driven Apart adds to the growing body of evidence that shows compact development that puts many destinations close at hand has unexpected benefits — in this case, less time spent in traffic requiring less spending on highways. If we heed its findings, we’ll save time and money. Full story

October 3, 2010

Electrification of Transportation Conference

On October 21-22, the Alamo Area Council of Governments Clean Cities Coalition, in partnership with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County, will conduct the first ever Advancing the Choice event on electrified transportation. Read more

August 23, 2010

Capitol Area transportation planning news

The Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's (CAMPO’s) August “CAMPO Connection” features information about the newly adopted 2035 Plan and ECT’s forum taking place on September 10th, “Innovate or Stagnate: Can New Approaches to Infrastructure Development Transform our Region?

June 30, 2010

Mobility bond package has little for Oak Hill

TxDOT: Quick fix plan for the 'Y' in the works. Read full Oak Hill Gazette article here.

May 26, 2010

TxDot comments on strategic plan are due Friday, May 28th

The Texas Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on its 2011-2015 Strategic Plan. Learn more here.

May 9, 2010

Regional transportation plan nears approval

The CAMPO board, recipient of more than 4,000 public comments submitted on the draft plan in recent months, will take one last listen in a public hearing today. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in Ballroom B of the Austin Convention Center. Read full Statesman.com article here.

May 5, 2010

TxDOT Holds Public Meetings on Statewide Transportation Plan

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will host a series of open-house style public meetings across Texas to give citizens an opportunity to provide feedback on a long-range plan that provides the agency with a blueprint for the state’s future transportation needs. Read more here.

San Antonio considers funding options and priorities for road projects

The San Antonio Metropolitan Planning Organization is hosting “listening sessions” This Thursday, May 6th and Saturday May 8th to provide public information about which road projects Bexar County will committed for funding in the short term. Learn more here.

April 19, 2010

New Braunfels Future Growth Plan Requires Shared Vision

New Braunfels was once promoted as “The Beauty Spot of Texas”. A regional land use plan that expresses goals for sustainable growth will help the city and surrounding land retain its beauty and enjoy prosperity as it grows. Read more here.

April 15, 2010

CAMPO extends public input process

Long range transportation planning is underway in Central Texas. This is your time to read the plans, consider how they affect you, and provide your own comments to elected officials who are determining transportation improvement priorities through 2035. CAMPO will receive input through May 14. A public hearing has been scheduled for May 10th. Learn more...

March 24, 2010

State Sen. John Carona speaks on problems with Texas’ transportation funding

State Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, addressed the Austin Chamber of Commerce at the chamber’s State of Transportation Luncheon March 24 about the state’s growing need for transportation funding. Carona serves as the chair of the Texas Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security. Read full Community Impact article here.

March 22, 2010

Commuter Rail Service in Austin

The long awaited Red Line opens in Austin Monday, March 22nd. Read about the service, fares, routes and more transportation news here here.

March 19, 2010

Transportation Plan - What's your say on sprawl?

CAMPO has scheduled a series of public meetings, inviting review and comment on its draft 2035 transportation plan, currently dubbed "People, Planning and Preparing for the Future: Your 25 Year Transportation Plan." The core question: Are you happy with road-based sprawl, or do you expect your regional planning organization to lead the region toward more sustainable development patterns? Get the details from Austin Chronicle here.

November 27, 2009

Developing Stories: Driving in Two Directions

Are Central Texans ready to drive less so that we can become a more sustainable region? Well, about half of us are, suggests a recent survey by the Capital Area Metro­pol­itan Planning Organization. Read full Austin Chronicle article here.

October 7, 2009

I-35 toll twin officially dies

The toll road twin to Interstate 35, once the centerpiece of Gov. Rick Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor plan, is officially dead, the Texas Department of Transportation announced Tuesday. The department, which has spent years and millions of dollars on an environmental study of the corridor between Dallas and San Antonio, will recommend to the Federal Highway Administration that no action be taken on the proposed road. Read full Statesman.com article here.

Prospects are bleak for SH 45 SW

Arguments for the construction of State Highway 45 Southwest (SH 45 SW) are developing cracks even before the first yard of concrete is poured. Precinct 3 County Commissioner Karen Huber, while saying that she still favors the roadway, pointed out some of the problems in a speech before the Oak Hill Business and Professional Association last week. Read full Oak Hill Gazette article here.

September 21, 2009

Tell CAMPO how you would prefer Central Texas to invest in the regional transportation system.

CAMPO announces People, Planning and Preparing for the Future: Your 25 Year Transportation Plan – 3 Concepts. Get involved, take CAMPO's 3 Concepts survey here.

June 2, 2009

TURF, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, gives the play by play of transportation legislation maneuvering through the House and Senate and finally the death of HB 300

It was messy, and full of drama, but the grassroots, with the help of infighting among lawmakers over the "local option" gas tax hike, managed to slay a beast of a bill that would have unleashed horrific provisions upon Texans for GENERATIONS to come. Read full TURF article here.

April 23, 2009

Sunset Review of TxDOT Headed for Critical Decision Points

The two-year “sunset review” examination of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is nearing critical decision points at the State Capitol with key legislators expressing determination to make the agency more efficient and receptive to the public. Members of the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter’s Transportation Committee have been active in the process, presenting recommendations earlier to the Sunset Advisory Commission and recently to House and Senate committees reviewing the bills that would continue TxDOT as an agency but with certain reforms. Under the sunset review process adopted in 1977, the Legislature periodically examines state agencies and must adopt renewal legislation or let them die. In effect, the process has eliminated only a few small agencies but has helped reform even the largest ones. Read full Sierra Club, Lonestar Chapter report here.

April 9, 2009

Statement of Ken Kramer, Director, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club on “Texas Transportation Funding”

“What is being described today as a crisis in Texas transportation funding actually presents a great opportunity for Texas leaders and citizens to revamp our transportation system to provide a comprehensive approach to improving the mobility of Texans in an environmentally sound and energy efficient way. Now is the time to commit to a dramatic expansion of mass transit in and between Texas cities, enhanced bicycle and pedestrian mobility, and promotion of clustered development to make it easier to address our transportation, energy, and air quality challenges. Roads will continue to be part of our transportation system, but we also need more commuter rail, light rail, freight rail, and other modes to have a true transportation system that will meet the needs of Texas in the 21st century.”

March 2, 2009

New survey shows smart growth in transportation helps build communities

"An overwhelming majority of Americans believe restoring existing roads and bridges and expanding transportation options should take precedence over building new roads, according to a survey sponsored by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and Transportation for America," reports NAR. "To accommodate future U.S. population growth, which is expected to increase by 100 million by 2050, Americans favor improving intercity rail and transit, walking and biking over building new highways." Read the full story here.

February 24, 2009

Corridor Council seeking TXDOT traffic study of U.S. 281

"The Greater Austin San Antonio Corridor Council wants to see a study conducted on possible improvements along the US Highway 281 corridor between San Antonio and Lampasas," reports the Austin Business Journal. "Ross Milloy, president of the corridor council, said the counties along the 281 corridor, particularly Blanco and Burnet, have experienced tremendous population growth. That growth and the resulting increase in traffic have contributed to increased vehicular fatalities that are higher than the statewide average, he said." Read the full Business Journal story here.

February 8, 2009

CAMPO will ask public to help select priority Central Texas road projects

"Thanks to the U.S. Congress, [Central Texas]'s 25-year transportation plan is also about to get a dose of authenticity in its next rewrite, a change that could force many projects onto the cutting-room floor," writes Ben Wear for the Austin American-Statesman. "Given this culling, as well as a push by activists to tie road planning to growth patterns, the new edition of the long-range plan may have shed some of its obscurity by the time the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board votes in June 2010." Read the full Statesman story here.

January 20, 2009

Tight state funds may affect Texas road bills

"Texas Comptroller Susan Combs' unexpectedly low revenue estimate last week for the next two years was bad news for everyone who spends state dollars," writes Ben Wear. "But for transportation advocates, having $9.1 billion less for the state's general fund carried extra sting: Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and then-House Speaker Tom Craddick (remember him?) had all but promised in a letter last summer to grab general fund dollars with both hands and use them on roads. Now, who knows?" Read the full Statesman story here.

CAMPO needs your input on its Transportation Improvement Program survey

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is asking for opinions from Central Texans on making amendments to its Transportation Improvement Program. The survey is open until February 13. Click here for more information on the amendments then click here to complete the survey.

January 16, 2009

Trans-Texas Corridor not Dead

"The announcement by TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz at the Texas Transportation Forum that the 'Trans Texas Corridor, as it was originally envisioned, is no more,' is just another in a series of comments to lead opponents into believing the Trans Texas Corridor is indeed dead," writes Terri Hall for Texans Uniting for Freedom and Reform. "TURF believes this is a deliberate move to dupe opponents into complacency, and we expect iron-clad action before we begin celebrating victory." Read this story and more recent news at TURF's Web site.

October 31,2008

California pass innovative land-use bill

"California has just reasserted its environmental leadership with the enactment of another U.S. first -- Democratic Senator Darrel Steinberg's bill (SB 375) 'to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by curbing urban sprawl and cutting back the time people have to spend in their automobiles,'" reports Smart Growth News. Read their full story on the bill here. And read the full press release from the California governor's office here.

Why Central Texas needs a regional approach to transportation

"Capital Metro's MetroRail is set to begin operation from Leander to downtown Austin on March 30, 2009," writes Leander Mayor John D. Cowman for the Austin American-Statesman. "It's a great interim solution and will work on a temporary basis, but these commuters will be hungry for better access, for a system that connects them to all places they need and want to go — for a system that links our region." Read Mayor Cowman's full commentary here.

October 22, 2008

Senator pushing for comprehensive planning in Central Texas

"Kirk Watson is attempting what no one had done before," writes Katherine Gregor in the Austin Chronicle. "Central Texas urgently needs a comprehensive regional plan for growth. To date, however, the multijurisdictional politics of multiple cities and counties has daunted any politician or entity trying to coordinate such an effort...Through CAMPO, Watson now is tackling comprehensive transportation and land-use planning for the region as a whole." Read the Chronicle's full article and interview with Sen. Watson here.

October 6, 2008

Legal roadblock halts Highway 281 toll road

"For the second time in 2 and 1/2 years, the U.S. 281 tollway project has been brought to its knees, and officials say it could take up to two years to get back up," writes Patrick Driscoll for the San Antonio Express-News. "Federal officials pulled the project's environmental clearance after the Texas Department of Transportation, reviewing records as part of a lawsuit filed in February, found problems with contracts to study endangered species." Read the full Express-News story here.

September 10, 2008

CAMPO needs your input

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) of Austin is asking for your input in their survey of Central Texans on transportation issues and their questionnaire on amendments to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
Make your opinion count today by visiting the questionnaire here.

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The Latest News

Kramer: Water grid proposal not right for Texas

Many Texans find satisfaction in being different from California. But a new legislative proposal would have Texas follow the deeply flawed California model of massive and costly pumping of water all over the state. This approach leads to crisis management when the “wet” areas of the state face an extended drought, and communities relying on imported water are left high and dry. Read Ken Kramer's Op-ed published in the Austin American Statesman and listen to his testimony.

TSCRA Cattlemen's Column: Texas Water Shortage Spurs Legislative Concern

As expected, water issues are coming to the forefront as the 84th session of the Texas Legislature progresses. Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) leaders and staff have been tracking and weighing in on water related legislation to make sure landowners’ private property rights remain intact. Read more from TSCRA.

Conservation Easement to provide permanent protection for the Golden Cheeked Warbler

In a major step for conservation in Central Texas, Travis Audubon has entered into an agreement with Travis County that will ensure a permanent, protected home for the Golden-cheeked Warbler, an endangered songbird. Learn more

Wildlife Field Research at Cibolo Nature Center and Farm

Wildlife Field Research (WFR) is a bioblitz conducted every spring and fall at the Cibolo Nature Center. During this research event, teams of Citizen Scientists combine their experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to conduct a survey of the nature center’s ecology. Amazing work going on at the Cibolo. Check it out.

Llano’s Dark Night Skies

A Night Sky Resolution was passed in Llano April 6th! “The Llano City Council should be commended for adopting their resolution and taking this important step in promoting better lighting and preserving the Llano starry nights.” Ken Kattner, HCA Night Sky team member explains in his article published in the Llano County Journal.

HCA learning opportunities about the SEP HCP

The Southern Edwards Plateau Habitat Conservation Plan (SEP HCP) has its share of controversy. HCA convened a successful meeting in Boerne in March to foster more understanding and as a result, a landowner gathering has been scheduled in Bandera on May 5th. Read more about the purpose and outcomes from the March program here. Join us in Bandera May 5th to participate with Hill Country landowner and a great line-up of speakers. View the Ranchers and Landowners Association meeting announcement here.

Rock Crushing Operation Planned for Blanco County- Public Encouraged to Comment

This Friday, April 17th will be the final day for the public to make comments regarding a sand and gravel operation currently seeking a permit to operate along the banks of the Pedernales River. The facility would be permitted to produce more than 500,000 tons of rock, sand and gravel and would be located roughly 1,000 feet from the Pedernales River- one of the Hill Country's most pristine river systems. Stakeholders concerned about the dust, particulate matter, runoff, noise and traffic that this operation may generate are encouraged to register a comment with the TCEQ by visiting this webpage and entering 130211 as the Permit Number. For more information, including a map of the site and details about an informational gathering scheduled for April 30th in Johnson City, click here.

Interpretive Guide training set for May - Only 5 spots left!

HCA is offering an Interpretive Guide training class May 4–7 in San Antonio. This program will help you connect the minds and hearts of your audience to the beauty of nature and the mysteries of history. The more hearts we touch, the more minds we inspire, the better the future for our Hill Country. Learn more.

Implementing the Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan

The Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan has been accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and is currently available for public review and comment through April 30, 2015. This is one of only a handful of approved watershed protection plans in Texas, and the first with a groundwater component. The plan is designed to keep Cypress Creek clean, clear and flowing. Read more

Researchers, Water Providers Launch Conservation Effort

With a third of Texans still facing drought conditions, a coalition of Texas universities and water providers has launched an $8 million effort to curb water use in cities. Read more from the Texas Tribune. Are you curious about municipal water use in the Hill Country? It varies a lot. Check out this HCA illustration.

Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan Program Public Meeting

A public meeting and Workshop of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan Stakeholder and Science Committees will be held on April 22, 2015 8:30 am – 5 pm. This Workshop in an opportunity to learn about and discuss the issues, and give formal comment on the National Academy of Sciences Report 1. Learn more

Bandera County water education opportunities

The Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District has announced a series of educational programs for 2015. Mark your calendar for these wonderful opportunities to learn about Rainwater Harvesting, Riparian Health, Native Vegetation and more. Details

AgriLife Landowner's Management Workshop, April 20 in San Antonio

AgriLife will be holding a Landowner's Management Workshop April 20 in San Antonio. “This workshop is intended to provide landowners helpful tips to combat weeds and or brush on their properties that are now emerging with the warmer weather and through the summer months. The program also will provide methods to combat the feral hogs.” Learn more

Funds for school rainwater projects

Now is the time for your school to apply for a grant through HCA's Rainwater Revival School Grant Program. The program is in its 5th year and has awarded grants to 14 Hill Country Schools for rainwater harvesting projects and water conservation education. The application process is simple. Deadline is May 1st. Find out more and apply

Legislation would limit public's ability to challenge pollution permits

Have you ever thought about what you would do if a developer proposed dumping 350,000 gallons per day of wastewater into a dry creek on your property? Or if your neighbor decided to open a mining operation, cement plant or landfill? The contested case hearing process is one of the few tools landowners in that situation can use to challenge pollution permits - and the legislature is taking up several bills that would limit Texans' ability to use it. Learn more

Colorful Blooms Decorate Texas State Parks

Texas State Parks have gone Technicolor this spring; rolling waves of bright blue, deep red and rich yellow blanket Texas’ hills and plains. Texas is blessed with more than 5,000 species of wildflowers and this spring has seen a proliferation of wildflower populations. Read more from TPWD. And while you’re out, don’t forget your camera! The HCA photo contest runs through May 31.

California drought in the news

It seems that everywhere we turn, there is news of the historic drought currently gripping California. Could the current water shortage mark the end of California's booming growth? Or is it simply another obstacle to overcome - a "resource management issue," as some put it. Others are looking at how California can encourage water-saving behavior changes - to reduce water use by 25% below 2013 levels - without rationing at the household level. And as the drought and below average snow pack this year signal tougher times ahead, farmers are drilling groundwater wells at a frantic pace. What will that mean for future of California's aquifers? And perhaps the biggest question of them all - what lessons can Texans learn from California's situation?

EAPP funding up for renewal

On May 9, San Antonio voters will have the opportunity to renew funding for the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and Greenway Trails. To date, the EAPP has conserved over 133,000 acres over the Edwards Aquifer in Bexar, Medina and Uvalde counties. More than 1200 acres have been acquired to construct 46 miles of linear greenways, with 40 additional miles in design or under construction. A fundraiser to support passage of the initiative will be held at Freetail Brewing on April 28. Attendees will get to sample a new brew called Edwards Artesian Ale. Details and RSVP

A possible interim water supply for Buda

“Analysis shows that a 1,000,000-gallon-per-day supply can be diverted to Buda between 2017 and 2023. This diversion would meet the interim needs of Buda and eliminate its need to use the EP groundwater. Costs would have to be worked out among the contracting parties.” Read more from the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD).

One year of water left in California?

California has mandated a 25% cut in water use one month after an LA Times op-ed by NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti kicked off with: “California has about one year of water left.” But, what did that headline actually mean? “One of the key points of the op-ed was that, since we will be relying more heavily on groundwater this year (perhaps an unprecedented 85% to 90% statewide), that we need to be extremely mindful to use it sparingly — all the more important as we consider the great potential for an even drier future in California with even more prolonged drought.” Check out this Famigleitti interview posted on Mashable.com.

Judge rules in favor of Hill Country landowner threatened by developer

Landowners Pat and Terrell Graham have won a small victory in their fight to prevent a neighboring developer from being allowed to dump 350,000 gallons of wastewater onto their property. A judge recently ruled in favor of the Grahams, recommending TCEQ deny the developers its permit. Read more from The Examiner. Meanwhile, lawmakers are proposing changes that will make it more difficult for landowners, like the Terrells, to challenge wastewater parmitting. More from the Texas Observer.

“Stars-in-the-Park” Returns April 10

What's the difference between a Blue Moon and a Comanche Moon? When is the best time this summer to see the International Space Station pass over Blanco? Have you ever seen a galaxy or a nebula with your own two eyes? Do you know that two different comets will be visible to the naked eye this year, in June and in October? These and many other intriguing questions will be answered in an educational and fun-filled evening as Blanco State Park hosts its semi-annual Stars-in-the-Park event on Friday, April 10th. Learn more from Blanco County News.

Save Oak Hill: Actions and Solutions

Save Oak Hill will be holding their second public meeting, "Save Oak Hill: Actions and Solutions," Thursday, April 16 at the Hampton Branch of the Austin Public Library on Convict Hill From 6:30-8pm. Anyone with concerns about TxDOT's plan to build an elevated toll-road through Oak Hill is encouraged to attend. Details

Short-term water, long-term consequences for Hill Country

The Vista Ridge water project in San Antonio threatens to follow a dangerous precedent: draining water from one region to another in a way that will only increase exurban sprawl in the Hill Country. If this solution seems familiar it should: It’s the California model that has led to that state having one year of water left. Read HCA's Op-ed published in the Austin American Statesman.

Hays County Water Fight Tumbles Into Committee

A volley of legislation launched by state Rep. Jason Isaac to stop a controversial groundwater project in Hays County came under harsh scrutiny by his fellow lawmakers on Wednesday. The Republican of Dripping Springs wants to stop Houston-based Electro Purification from pumping up to 5 million gallons of water a day from wells in his district and selling it to Austin's fast-growing Hill Country suburbs. Read more from the Texas Tribune.

After the Fire Along the Llano

After the 2011 wildfires in the Llano Water Catchment, landowners have worked collaboratively to help restore the land. April 18th, the public has a unique opportunity to revisit and learn from these sites. Learn more about this event and discover more useful Llano River information from the South Llano Watershed Alliance. Help spread the word to Llano River landowners to subscribe for regular updates. Read the latest SLWA newsletter.

Rainwater Revival Calls for Grant Applications from Hill Country Schools

As Texas Hill Country residents and businesses look for ways to conserve water, the Hill Country Alliance’s Rainwater Revival grants lend a helping hand to schools throughout the 17-county region. The HCA is now taking applications through May 1 from schools that want to implement or enhance rainwater collection and water conservation programs on their campuses. Learn more

Census estimates hint at mega-region between San Antonio and Austin

The population boom along the Interstate 35 corridor shows San Antonio and Austin could eventually grow together into a mega, metro region, the state demographer said after studying new census data. Hays and Comal counties — both of which hug I-35 and are wedged between San Antonio and Austin — were the fifth and ninth fastest-growing counties in the U.S. from July 2013 to July 2014, according to census estimates released Thursday. Read more from the San Antonio Express-News.

International Children & Nature Conference Brings Thought Leaders to Austin

The Children & Nature Network 2015 Conference at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort on April 7-9 has attracted more than 500 leaders from around the world representing the conservation, health, education, technology and built- environment communities. Attendees will explore innovative ways to encourage families, schools, churches, non-profits and businesses to support getting kids active and into nature. More from TPWD.

Buying Development Rights Preserves Watersheds

Protecting watersheds and aquifer recharge areas should be a priority for the House Natural Resources Committee, writes Andrew Sansom, executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. Purchasing development rights from private landowners in critical watersheds, he says, is a proven way to protect rural and agricultural land for the benefit of the state's natural resources. Read more from Trib+Water.

Report: Smart Lawn Watering Could Save Big

Even Texans with the greenest of lawns water them too much, many landscape experts say. And if everyone would turn on the sprinklers only twice a week — still probably more than necessary — the water savings would be significant, according to a report from the Sierra Club released Tuesday. Read more from the Texas Tribune.

TESPA files suit to stop Electro Purification in Hays County District Court

This case could lead to the review and potentially overturn the 'rule of capture'. “We hope to bring the common law of Texas into accord with the laws promoting groundwater conservation as passed by the Legislature and as mandated by the Texas Constitution." Read more from TESPA and get involved.

Will new pipeline spur Hill Country boom?

What is being sold to San Antonio as water security for the future could temporarily fuel Hill Country growth and once that supply is needed in San Antonio, then what? “The Hill Country is a beautiful area with limited surface water, limited groundwater and no big city to spread rates across,” Puente said. “We would answer the desperate call.” Read the full story in the Austin American Statesman.

It’s time to revisit Amy Hardberger’s critical eye on the SA pipeline

“The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District, which has regulatory authority over the Vista Ridge water, determined that about 50,000 acre-feet of water could be safely permitted. Given that the groundwater district has already granted permits for more than 100,000 acre-feet, it is uncertain how the city can rely on this water for 30 years…San Antonio needs to develop new water resources, but the projects must be affordable and dependable, come rain or shine.” And if this supply is not dependable for San Antonio, how can we consider spurring a Hill Country boom with an unreliable resource? Learn more

A new effort has been launched in Oak Hill

“Save Oak Hill is a coalition of neighbors seeking to establish public greenspaces in Oak Hill to honor and preserve the rich history and unique natural features of the place we call home.” With a major TxDot project on the horizon, this Oak Hill community organization hopes protect their sense of place and environmental significance. Learn more and get involved www.saveoakhill.org.

Despite Central Texas growth, less water drawn from Colorado by cities

Despite Central Texas growth, less water drawn from Colorado by cities. “More people are moving to Central Texas daily, but the region has used less and less precious river water in each of the last several years.” The more we save, the less we need to import. Read the story in the Austin American Statesman.

District Targeted in Water Conflict

As outrage has mounted this year over the Electro Purification well field being built in Hays County, officials from Buda and the planned Anthem subdivision — two customers of the project — have dutifully showed up to town halls and round tables, subjecting themselves to the jeers of their neighbors. But missing from every public meeting has been the most critical player in making the project a reality: the Goforth Special Utility District, a Niederwald-area water provider that has the largest contract with Houston-based Electro Purification’s venture in Hays County. Read full article by the Austin American Statesman.

Here's What's Really Ruining Austin (and It's Not SXSW)

These days, Austin is trouble year-round. What's ruining Old Waterloo for the people who live there and love it are the people who live there and love it. There's just too many of them—and no plan for handling them all. Read more from Citylab.com.

Austin Water reports on water-related legislation

As Central Texas continues to face its worst drought on record, state legislators are considering several bills this session that could affect water supplies in Austin and throughout the state. Read more from Austin Monitor.

Hill Country Land Trust Conserves Sandy Ranch in Blanco County

The Hill Country Land Trust (HCLT), a non-profit land conservation group headquartered in Fredericksburg, Texas, recently worked with a landowner to conserve a 201 acre ranch in Blanco County, bringing the total of HCLT conserved acres in the Hill Country to just over 5,900 by the end of 2014. The property, located near the historic community of Sandy north of Johnson City, has been used for grazing and farming since the 1800s. The owners’ intent is to maintain the property as native rangeland for wildlife and livestock. Learn more

TESPA Announces Water Defense Plans at March 21 Meeting

The latest developments in the fight to protect our groundwater in Hays County go public at the TESPA Water Meeting on March 21 in Wimberley. "I am excited about this public meeting," said TESPA co-founder and local resident Jim Blackburn. "We on the TESPA team will present the surprising results of our legal research and discuss moving forward to stop the Electro Purification water development plan. I hope everyone who cares about the future health and prosperity of our area will join us." Details

Texas suburbs are growing faster than cities

Counties are growing at extremely high rates, in part because of the lack of land use planning ability outside of our cities. This trend has tremendous costs to tax-payers for basic infrastructure needs such as roads, water and schools. “Hays County, just south of Austin, is projected to be the fastest-growing county, by percentage, in all of Texas by 2050” Read more from the Austin Business Journal. Learn more about County Planning authority here.

The Southwest Water Wars

An old-fashioned, Western-style water war has erupted. Across Texas and the Southwest, the scene is repeated in the face of a triple threat: booming population, looming drought and the worsening effects of climate change. Read more from the New York Times.

Isaac Jumping Into Hays County Water Fight

With a high-profile groundwater fight raging in his district, state Rep. Jason Isaac is launching a volley of legislation to stop plans to pump huge amounts of water from underneath Hays County. Read more from the Texas Tribune. Representative Isaac issued his own media release yesterday. Read “Rep. Isaac and Sen. Campbell File Water Legislation Aiming to Protect Trinity Aquifer.” here.

Creating Vibrant Green Cities: Lessons from Seoul South Korea and San Marcos

Join us for a panel discussion with Thomas Hardy, Ph.D., and Matthew Lewis, the City of Austin’s Assistant Director of Planning and Development Review, on the lessons learned from two great green infrastructure projects located an ocean apart. This next event in the Imagine Austin Speaker Series will take place April 1 at the Dougherty Arts Center here.

Victory in Comal County

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA) praised the Comal County Commissioners court this week and announced the denial of the Meyers Ranch “Water Quality Improvement District” would have translated to 1,500 homes on 700 acres over the Edwards Recharge Zone. Read more from GEAA.

Hunt School builds Rainwater Harvesting model with funds from Rainwater Revival Grant

6th and 7th grade students from Hunt School are learning all about water conservation and rainwater harvesting thanks to a grant from HCA's Rainwater Revival and the generous help of the Hunt Garden Club. Read more from the West Kerr Current.

Utility agency pursues water rights

"With the Feb. 24 approval of Bee Cave City Council and Hays County Commissioners Court, West Travis County Public Utility Agency lobbyists are working to find a sponsor in the Texas Legislature for a bill that would define the specific water and wastewater powers the agency has." Read more from Community Impact.

HCA's 2015 Photo Contest has begun!

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

"Food, Health and the Environment: Why Eating Right Can Save You and the Earth"

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

Central Texas Drought Is Worst on Record

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.

CAMPO Public Input Opportunities

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

Texas Wildlife Association to host three-day Women of the Land workshop

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

Partnership created to establish the Center for Private Land Stewardship

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.

On the Road: A Symposium on Water

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.

Joe Beal, politically connected engineer, back in the water game

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

Pollinator PowWow Draws Hundreds from Texas and Beyond

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.

Springs: The Canary in a Coal Mine for Groundwater

"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.

Group Formed to Protect Trinity, Edwards Aquifers and Springs

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

Texas Wildlife Association to host three-day Women of the Land workshop

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

Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference, April 23 in Kerrville

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

The Changing Science of Brush Control for Water Yield

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.

Pioneers Youth Leadership Students Receive $24,000 in Scholarships and Cash Awards

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

TPWD profiles state's least wanted water-hungry invasive species

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.

Get Your Birding On

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 looks at the best and worst project in the State Water Plan

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.

Provide Water Supply Tools to Counties

“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.

PEC Board votes in support of groundwater legislation

“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.

Stay informed about EP Wells in the Hill Country Trinity Aquifer

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.

A Tribute to what has been lost to the Pilot Truck Stop in Junction

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.

Friends of Enchanted Rock to host star festival this Saturday, Feb 21

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

We need smart growth

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

Drought conditions worsen along Highland Lakes

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

Book explores Central Texas County Courthouses

“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.

Net Blue Initiative Will Help Communities Pursue Water-Neutral Growth

“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.

New Commitment to Bring Back the Monarch

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

Dripping Springs residents strategize how to stop proposed concrete plant

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

Upcoming Events


April

April 23-24 in Kerrville - The second annual Bennett Land Stewardship: “Keys to Hill Country Living" - Details

April 24-26 in Fredericksburg - 5th Annual Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival - Details

April 24-27 in Marble Falls - 15th Annual Balcones Songbird Festival - Details

April 27 in San Antonio - SA2020 Comp Plan - Details

April 27 in Kerrville - Texas Master Naturalist April Meeting, Topic: Feral Hog Program - Free and open to the public - Details

April 30 in Johnson City - TCEQ informal public meeting on the Chanas Aggregates Rock Crushing Operation Details

May

May 5 in Bandera - Learn about the Southern Edwards Plateau Habitat Conservation Plan (SEP HCP) - Details

May 9 in Bandera - Bandera Water Workshop Series: "Aquaponic Potential" Details

May 12 in Bandera - Bandera Water Workshop Series: "Residential H2O Conservation" Details

May 29 in San Marcos - Addressing Conflict with deer in our communities, hosted by TPWD, TWA and TSU - Details



See more upcoming events


2015 Photo Contest

Runs March 1 - May 31
Enter Now!


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



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