TCEQ loosens enforcement amid COVID-19

TCEQ loosens enforcement amid COVID-19

While environmental regulations are not being set aside, the chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said Monday that enforcing those rules may be eased for violations “that were unavoidable due to the (coronavirus) pandemic.” The agency has “not relaxed any limits on air emissions or discharges to water,” Chairman Jon Niermann wrote in an open letter addressed to the public, environmental advocates and industry. Read more from Asher Price with The Austin American-Statesman here.

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Texas food banks asking for help to support surge of people in need

Texas food banks asking for help to support surge of people in need

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, food banks across the country are tasked with serving those in need from every socioeconomic level. Many people are using food bank services for the first time. Food banks in Texas are doing their part, but they face many challenges. Derrick Chubbs, president and CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank, says the pandemic has been a major test for his organization. “Nothing has stretched our ability to serve Central Texans as much as COVID-19,” he…

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The pandemic is turning the natural world upside down

The pandemic is turning the natural world upside down

From inside her living room in London, Paula Koelemeijer can feel the world around her growing quieter. Koelemeijer, a seismologist, has a miniature seismometer sitting on a concrete slab at the base of her first-floor fireplace. The apparatus, though smaller than a box of tissues, can sense all kinds of movement, from the rattle of trains on the tracks near Koelemeijer’s home to the waves of earthquakes rolling in from afar. Since the United Kingdom announced stricter social-distancing rules last…

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The Trailist guide to getting outside during the pandemic

The Trailist guide to getting outside during the pandemic

For obvious reasons, this can’t be a normal Trailist column. I’m sitting here in my apartment, listening to the rain pour down for the third straight day, trying to think of ways to recommend getting outdoors during these tough and ever-changing times. Here’s the paradox: We all have to go outside, for our own physical and mental health. We can’t get our exercise at the gym anymore. And regardless of how nice your home workout set-up might be, I believe you need…

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National parks — your Rx for good health

National parks — your Rx for good health

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, visitation to national parks is surging. As more parks close to protect visitors and staff, we can expect another influx when they reopen. In times of crisis and times of calm, national parks are America’s go-to places. Visitation to national parks in 2019 exceeded 300 million visitors for the fifth consecutive year. Numbers of visitors increased by 2.9 percent last year, making it the third highest to date, with nearly 328 million visitors. Read more from Susan Sherman, Executive…

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Essential Austin nonprofit finding new ways to nourish community amid COVID-19

Essential Austin nonprofit finding new ways to nourish community amid COVID-19

Tune into the Urban Roots Instagram feed and you’ll find a new series of videos featuring executive director Max Elliott teaching viewers how to plant peppers; showcasing his ready crop of kale and the helpful, aphid-eating ladybug larvae that live on the leaves; or interviewing (at a safe distance) local restaurant business leaders. His tone is even and hopeful, a brief lifeline to those of us battling isolation as the COVID-19 outbreak wears on. In 2008, Elliott founded Urban Roots as…

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Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District delays drought cutbacks

Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District delays drought cutbacks

Press Release: Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District – For Immediate Release: April 3, 2020 At the April 2 Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District Board meeting, District Directors voted to delay an order that would put the Jacobs Well Groundwater Management Zone (MAP here) into drought status.  “With folks sheltering in place in order to protect their families from to exposure to the Covid-19 virus, the District recognizes that water usage will go up in homes” said Linda Kaye Rogers, HTGCD Board President “The…

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The COVID-19 crisis and our water: Part 1

The COVID-19 crisis and our water: Part 1

As people stocked up on food and essential items for their time at home to help slow the spread of the COVID-19, I saw shopping carts full of bottled water.  Television shots and videos on social media of shoppers often showed the same thing. It seems that over the last two decades, our preparation for natural disasters started to include bottled water — and a lot of it..  There is reason to prepare for disruption in water service in a…

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Department – An important update for our visitors

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department – An important update for our visitors

Our thoughts are with you and our entire Texas family during this uncertain time. Texas State Parks are doing our best to provide a healthy way for you to get outdoors. Our dedicated teams across the state are working diligently to keep these special places open and safe during this difficult time. Most state parks remain open. However, we have made some changes to help protect the health and well-being of our visitors, volunteers and staff. One big change: starting…

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For stay-at-home stress relief, San Antonians turn to gardening

For stay-at-home stress relief, San Antonians turn to gardening

Stir crazy from the coronavirus stay-at-home quarantine, San Antonians are moving outside to relieve stress, gain a sense of control, and enjoy the wonders of spring. City officials have permitted local nurseries to remain open while San Antonio and Bexar County are under the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order through April 9 and are adjusting hours and offerings as needed, including for curbside pickup. With the first day of spring just behind us, the usual peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers are…

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