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Transportation News

News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazing rally for Bracken Bat Cave

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

The Great Grassland Myth of the Texas Hill Country

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

Georgetown moves to limit residential lawns and landscaping to save water

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

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

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

TWDB launches Interactive State Water Plan Website

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

A more “Night Skies” friendly community

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

Symposium explores land, water connection

HCA’s March 20th Texas Water Symposium generated a crowd of more than 150 to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the Pedernales River watershed. Landowners, state and local officials and non-profit representatives gathered to explore these issues and the steps being taken to solve them. Learn more from the Fredericksburg Standard. An hour-long version of the event will be aired on Texas Public Radio in select regions Sunday, April 6th at 8pm - Details

You Can’t Say They Don’t Care What You Think – Public Input on HB 4

Approval of “Prop 6” indirectly transferred $2 billion from the state’s “rainy day” fund into this new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) to provide water for “non-rainy” days. But just moving money around doesn’t create water. That’s why what’s happening now at the state’s Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is so important. Read more from Ken Kramer at TexasLivingWaters.org.

Groundwater Levels on the Decline

Stay informed about your local Groundwater Conservation District (GCD). The Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) creates a monthly bulletin full of helpful water conservation information and news. Read the latest edition here. Do you know your local GCD? Do you have a local GCD? If you are unsure, contact HCA and we’ll help you learn.

Build Smart Water Now

While we continue to reduce our water use, demands increase every day with new homes of suburbia appearing on the horizon. Each will require more water, with a considerable amount going to establish and maintain hundreds of acres of new turf grass each year. In this region, traditional home lawns typically consume 25 to 35% of the annual treated water. Projecting into the future, new residential yards could require up to 30,000 acre-feet per year by 2040—enough water to meet about 20 percent of Austin’s current demand. Read More

A fun way for students to learn about life sciences from TWA

The Texas Wildlife Association provides Distance Learning programs to bring education about our natural world into the classroom via videoconferencing. Discover resources HCA has assembled to help parents and teachers inspire our next generations to be thoughtful stewards of the Hill Country here.

Financing the Cost of New Development

“With growth projected to skyrocket in the Hill Country, GEAA will keep working to make sure that the costs of growth are distributed equitably.” While the SAWS staff recommends new impact fees to fund additional water supplies, development interests are pushing back. Learn More

HCA's Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workshop Returns

Do you want to create meaningful experiences that last a lifetime? HCA is offering an Interpretive Guide Training workshop that will help you connect the minds and hearts of your audience to the beauty of nature and the mysteries of history. The four-day workshop will be held April 28-29 and May 5-6. Register now, class size limited. Details

EPA proposes greater protections for streams, wetlands under Clean Water Act

“Intermittent and ephemeral streams provide critical fish habitat out West. They account for 94 percent of Arizona’s streams, according to the EPA, and 88 percent of those in New Mexico.” The same holds true here in the Hill Country as these tributaries feed the Llano, Pedernales, Blanco, Guadalupe and Nueces Rivers. “These streams provide the flow for larger rivers and spawning and rearing habitat for young fish and insects; they also help to determine the quality of downstream habitat for fish.” Read more from the Washington Post.

TWDB's Water Data for Texas website now includes groundwater data

Today Texans are more aware than ever of the importance of groundwater. As part of ongoing efforts to synthesize and communicate water-related data to scientists, policy makers and the public, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) recently announced its Water Data for Texas website now includes groundwater data. Learn More

CAMPO Planning – Now is the time to get involved

The Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is currently seeking public input for projects including new roads in the long-ranch plan. Learn more about transportation planning taking place in Burnett, Travis and Hays counties and attend an open house near you.

New Billboard Fact Sheet

Scenic America has just released a handy 4-page reference guide to basic facts and figures about billboards. Download the PDF here. Learn more about scenic issues and billboard in the Hill Country here.

The Bats are on their way back to the Hill Country

While South by Southwest (SXSW) comes to a close in Austin, Texas' bat season is just beginning. That's right, the Mexican free-tailed bats have begun their northward migration. To celebrate, here's a little "Q&A" to help answer any questions you may have about this awesome spring event. Learn more from Bat Conservation International.

Stormwater Management Can Be “Green” Too

Meet Dr. Katherine Lieberknecht. She is a professor in the University of Texas School of Architecture who proposes the revolutionary idea that stormwater runoff can – and should – be managed as a water resource, rather than as nuisance to be drained “away” as “efficiently” as practical. Read more from Waterblogue.

West's Drought and Growth Intensify Conflicts over Water Rights

Across the parched American West, the long drought has set off a series of fierce legal and political battles over who controls an increasingly dear treasure - water. Read more from the New York Times.

HCA’s Rainwater Revival calls for grant applications to fund water conservation and catchment programs at Hill Country schools

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...

SAWS Backpedals on Right Choice – Still Considering Groundwater Importation Project

Last month, the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club praised staff at the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) for recommending to their Board that the focus of future water supplies for the city should rest on nearby brackish groundwater, rather than the importation of fresh groundwater from locations distant of the city. Unfortunately, the SAWS Board, sensing pressure from the business community, has backpedaled against that recommendation to reject all three of the groundwater proposals. Read more from the Texas Living Waters Project.

American Dream and the Economic Myth

Property is a thing. Happiness is an ideal, a story of the future created by the imagination. The American dream, even when it takes material form, is a wish the heart makes in its pursuit of happiness. It is an act of the imagination made vivid by the life and liberty that allow us to pursue it with hope. Read and share one of our timeless favorite pieces by Betty Sue Flowers.

SAWS: Yes to Desal Plant, Maybe to Pipeline

The San Antonio Water System board voted unanimously Tuesday to fund Phase I construction of a brackish water desalination plant in southern Bexar County – the most ambitious water diversification project in the city’s history – and enter negotiations with the Vista Ridge Consortium to provide San Antonio with an even greater supply of new water via a privately-owned regional pipeline, a second diversification project of unprecedented scope and cost. Read more from the Rivard Report.

Registration is open for the Annual Kent Butler Summit

Faucets, Toilets, and Automobiles: Balancing Growth and Sustainability in the Barton Springs Aquifer Region. Join us Friday, April 25th for a day of learning at the Lady Bird Wildflower Center. Click here to learn more and register online.

Texas’ Most Endangered Places

Nominations are now being accepted for the Preservation Texas, Most Endangered Place list. Some wonderful places in the Hill Country already grace this list including the Spettel Riverside House in Bandera County, The Old Llano County Jail, Hamilton Pool, Scenic Loop-Boerne Stage Corridor and statewide, Texas Dance Halls! The deadline is fast approaching, March 21st, take it upon yourself to nominate an iconic Hill Country treasure. Learn More

More News

Upcoming Events

April

April 16 in Canyon Lake - Billboards in Comal County: TxDOT will present findings from a recent inventory of billboards in Comal County - Presented by the League of Women Voters, Comal Area - Details

April 17 in Austin - TWDB will hold two Board meetings to discuss innovative water solutions for Texas and financial assistance for water projects - The public and interested stakeholders encouraged to attend and provide public comment - Details

April 19 in Boerne - Streamside Management: Restoring and Maintaining Riparian Areas - Details

April 22 - Earth Day! - Earth Day Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



See more upcoming events


Photo Contest

Photo contest begins March 1st!
Details


Imagine a place where vibrant communities draw strength from their natural assets to sustain their quality of life. A place where citizens care about protecting the special qualities of a region – their region. A place where people and partners band together to envision a better economic future, tackle shared challenges and care for the natural, scenic, and recreational resources that define the place they call home.
~This is a Conservation Landscape



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Maps

Helpful Mapping Resources - Beautiful and informative maps of the region to print and share.

HCA Dynamic Mapping Tool - Interactive online GIS mapping tool

 
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