Female ranchers are reclaiming the American West

Female ranchers are reclaiming the American West

As men leave animal agriculture for less gritty work, more ranches are being led by women — with new ideas about technology, ecology and the land. Hundreds of years before John Wayne and Gary Cooper gave us a Hollywood version of the American West, with men as the brute, weather-beaten stewards of the land, female ranchers roamed the frontier. They were the indigenous, Navajo, Cheyenne and other tribes, and Spanish-Mexican rancheras, who tended and tamed vast fields, traversed rugged landscapes with…

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Texas land grab: How the federal government abused its power to seize property for a border fence

Texas land grab: How the federal government abused its power to seize property for a border fence

A decade ago, many border Texans got a raw deal when the federal government seized land for a barrier — while others pushed up the price. Will the government’s rushed, haphazard process be repeated as it pushes for a border wall? BROWNSVILLE — The land agents started working the border between Texas and Mexico in the spring of 2007. Sometimes they were representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Other times they were officers from the U.S. Border Patrol,…

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Hays County Master Gardener Association announces 2019 training course

Hays County Master Gardener Association announces 2019 training course

The Hays County Master Gardener Association will hold a Master Gardener Training Course on 12 Fridays in spring of 2019. The Master Gardener Training Program is an educational/volunteer program conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service designed to increase the availability of horticultural information and extend horticultural projects throughout the community. The course will include presentations by experts in the field of horticulture, covering topics such as botany, plant pathology, vegetable and fruit growing, landscaping with native and adaptive plants. In…

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Natural gas pipeline planned  to run through Hays County

Natural gas pipeline planned to run through Hays County

More than 80 Hays County landowners—and hundreds more across the Hill Country—either have already or will soon be contacted by Kinder Morgan, Inc., one of the largest energy infrastructure companies on the continent, asking for permission to survey their property to build a natural gas pipeline. But the company only sort of has to ask. Infographic taken from Community Impact Newspaper.  “They have the right to come onto your land,” said Bill Johnson, who received one of these phone calls…

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Is Texas’ overcrowded, underfunded state parks system being loved to death?

Is Texas’ overcrowded, underfunded state parks system being loved to death?

More people are enjoying Texas’ 95 state parks than ever. In the 2017 fiscal year, there were 10 million visitors, a 20 percent increase over 2012. Visitation at some destinations has skyrocketed. For example, the number of visitors to McKinney Falls, a small park on Onion Creek in far southeast Austin, nearly doubled in the last decade, jumping from 128,000 in 2008 to 319,000 in 2017. “State parks are the No. 1 tourist attraction in Texas,” said John Crompton, a…

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Texas parks department, advocates pushing Congress to reauthorize key conservation fund

Texas parks department, advocates pushing Congress to reauthorize key conservation fund

The chief of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the absence of the 54-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund is a “substantial loss” for state parks and natural areas. With Congress set to adjourn next week, parks advocates are pushing for lawmakers to revive a half-century-old program that has pumped more than a half-billion dollars into Texas’ parks and natural areas. Congress let the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) expire on Sept. 30. The fund — established in…

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Weird, late monarch butterfly migration finally reaches Mexico

Weird, late monarch butterfly migration finally reaches Mexico

  • November 13, 2018
  • News

Migrating monarch butterflies finally made it to the Mexican mountains last week–late, but intact. For months, scientists and citizen scientists have been predicting the largest migration in a decade, but the insects have taken their time arriving at their winter roosting sites, missing their usual Day of the Dead arrival by almost a week, according to reports. Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas Commission (CONANP) said in a statement that the first butterflies of the season were “crossing the sky” at Chincua and…

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We have to save the planet. So I’m donating $1 billion.

We have to save the planet. So I’m donating $1 billion.

WILSON, Wyo. — Plant and animal species are estimated to be disappearing at a rate 1,000 times faster than they were before humans arrived on the scene. Climate change is upending natural systems across the planet. Forests, fisheries and drinking water supplies are imperiled as extractive industries chew further into the wild. But there is another, encouraging side to this depressing story: how a simple idea, born in the United States in the 19th century and now racing around the…

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TPWD addresses concerns about fish, aquatic habitat after heavy flooding in Central Texas

TPWD addresses concerns about fish, aquatic habitat after heavy flooding in Central Texas

AUSTIN – As flood waters recede in the Llano, Colorado, Pedernales and other central Texas rivers, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists are fielding questions from anglers and other members of the public concerning the impacts of flooding on fish populations. Although TPWD biologists do not expect to see a negative impact on fish populations in these rivers as a direct result of the flooding, the long-term outlook depends on how riverside landowners and communities respond to the aftermath…

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Land for water

Land for water

The city is asking voters to send more money to a little-known program that protects Barton Springs. On a warm August morning, I stand in the dry bed of Onion Creek in Hays County and watch as Kevin Thuesen lowers himself into a hole in the earth. I pay attention when he stresses having three points of contact at all times because I’ll soon be following him into this small cave. Thuesen, a land manager for Austin Water Utility who…

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