Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Fifth-generation Texans, David and John Talbot of New Boston, in February 2020 sold one of the last examples of unplowed native prairie in northeast Texas to the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) for permanent preservation as the Talbot Brothers Prairie Preserve. The 366 acres in Bowie County also includes more than 200 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and wetlands. The Talbot family owned the property for more than 55 years. “The land stewardship and preservation of these unique prairie…

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Troubled waters: San Antonio weighs the cost of preserving its water supply

Troubled waters: San Antonio weighs the cost of preserving its water supply

Taxpayers have spent $260 million to protect the Edwards Aquifer. With the tax set to expire, officials can’t agree on how much more to spend. The Frio River snaked south through the hills of Uvalde County, its clear waters coursing over a bed of white, fractured limestone in the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. Then, unceremoniously, it disappeared. The river had flowed into — and underneath — Dripstone Ranch, nearly 2,000 acres of undeveloped ranchland named after a system of…

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Tandy Hills Natural Area: A lasting legacy

Tandy Hills Natural Area: A lasting legacy

I first started to get excited in late December 2019 when I first heard about the City of Fort Worth’s new, Open Space Acquisitionsprogram. After watching the City Council work session video, I could tell they were serious. District 7 Rep, Kelly Allen Gray, actually proposed that Broadcast Hill property be high on the list for consideration. Seizing the moment, I wrote a letter to Mayor Betsy Priceand other council members. Sensing that this could be our big chance, I reached out…

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Officials: San Antonio should continue managing Edwards Aquifer program, not give it to SAWS

Officials: San Antonio should continue managing Edwards Aquifer program, not give it to SAWS

San Antonio should keep a program aimed at protecting the Edwards Aquifer if voters choose to shift sales tax money that funds the program to instead boost public transit, city officials said Wednesday. Mayor Ron Nirenberg has sought to settle the fate of the Edwards Aquifer protection program for the past several months. He and other local officials want the $40 million raised by the 1/8-cent sales tax to instead pay for better bus service and other initiatives at VIA…

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Editorial: Yes, San Antonio can improve transit and protect aquifer

Editorial: Yes, San Antonio can improve transit and protect aquifer

Too often in recent months, the discussion over Edwards Aquifer protection and improving transit was framed as an either/or proposition. Either San Antonio could improve transit, or it could continue to fund aquifer protection. Such a limited view always struck us as a false choice. There is no reason why this community can’t improve transit and continue to protect the Edwards Aquifer, the region’s main source of drinking water. Both can be priorities. Naturally, then, we are pleased to see…

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City staff propose keeping aquifer protection program under city control

City staff propose keeping aquifer protection program under city control

As city officials try to get massive transportation plans moving, they are pushing a new plan to continue funding the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program. In a presentation to council members on Wednesday, city staff recommended keeping the EAPP under the city’s control but using a different pot of money to fund it. Instead of using the sales tax revenue that has been targeted to fund transportation plans, staff said the city could borrow $109 million to continue buying conservation easements…

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Comal workshop to provide landowners with information on conservation programs that create a family land legacy

Comal workshop to provide landowners with information on conservation programs that create a family land legacy

On Friday, February 21, the Comal County Conservation Alliance and partners will host a landowner workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Anhalt Dance Hall, 2390 Anhalt Road, Spring Branch, TX 78070. The one-day workshop will highlight conservation easements and how they can help provide a family land legacy, the role of land trust organizations, wildlife and open space valuation, financial tools/resources available, and a panel discussion with landowners. Many landowners are concerned about conserving those special natural…

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New Texas conservation area boasts hundreds of springs

New Texas conservation area boasts hundreds of springs

The Nature Conservancy has acquired a conservation easement on 1,640 acres owned by landowner Gary Krause, preserving its unique natural features for future generations, according to a news release. The easement was funded in part by the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program, overseen by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Krause donated part of the value of the easement as a…

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‘When, not if it happens’: Factors favor possible Austin megawildfire event

‘When, not if it happens’: Factors favor possible Austin megawildfire event

All it will take for Central Texas to become the next area engulfed by catastrophic wildfires like those seen in Australia is a dry spring and summer, an errant flame and sustained winds. Travis County fire officials say the likelihood of such a megafire event is just a matter of time. A recent report released by CoreLogic, an online property data service, ranked Austin fifth among metropolitan areas in the nation most at risk for wildfires. The only others in…

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Commentary: San Antonio should vote on aquifer protection, greenway trails

Commentary: San Antonio should vote on aquifer protection, greenway trails

Since 2000, San Antonians have voted every five years to dedicate a portion of our sales taxes to the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program, or EAPP. Residents are rightfully proud of a program recognized internationally as an elegant solution to protecting our primary source of water. Absent adequate regulation to protect the quality of San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer water supply, we have opted to pay those who own land in the Edwards watershed for the ecological services they provide. Perhaps we…

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