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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Local family dedicates Hill Country ranch to conservation

Local family dedicates Hill Country ranch to conservation

Jason and Ashley Roberts partnered with Colorado River Land Trust to protect their family ranch from future development in the rapidly growing area of San Marcos, Texas. Riding horseback across the wide-open spaces of the Hill Country is one of the most iconic images of Texas. With the rapid growth and development along the I-35 corridor in Central Texas, these open spaces are being threatened by conversion to neighborhoods and shopping centers. Hays County has quickly become one of the…

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As drought persists, Texas ranchers take stock

As drought persists, Texas ranchers take stock

Cattle ranchers in the Texas Hill Country are facing a tough decision after months of drought. “You have to decide where’s your quitting point in terms of buying feed, buying hay and feeding your animals,” says Jamie Osbourn, an agent with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension office in Llano County. Llano is one of a handful of counties in the state experiencing severe drought. Gregg County is another, and other East Texas counties also are suffering. Federal data showed most…

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Record-breaking vote shows consensus and need for more Texas state parks

Record-breaking vote shows consensus and need for more Texas state parks

To my wife’s dismay, I was going to cook the Thanksgiving turkey over a campfire at Tyler State Park with the guidance of my son’s most recent Boy’s Life magazine. We have a big map of Texas on the wall of our family room. We’re on a mission to visit all 90 or so state parks, and about 30 push pins show the ones we’ve visited so far. At Monahans Sandhills State Park, we rode sleds down rolling dunes of…

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Urban sprawl making its way toward slower growing parts of the Hill Country

Urban sprawl making its way toward slower growing parts of the Hill Country

Cities up and down the I-35 corridor have experienced explosive growth over the last decade, but the counties adjacent to them have largely escaped the surge of people. That all appears to be over, with the urban expansion beginning to head their way. “We have three of the fastest growing counties – not only in Texas but in the entire country – in Hays, Comal and Kendall counties,” said Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance. Romans’ mission…

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As aquifer protection debate continues, Nirenberg offers funding details

As aquifer protection debate continues, Nirenberg offers funding details

Mayor Ron Nirenberg plans to propose using future borrowing to help preserve land over the Edwards Aquifer while shifting the sales tax that currently funds that preservation over to San Antonio’s transit system. In an interview Thursday, Nirenberg laid out more specifics for his plan to continue funding the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program (EAPP). He proposed using an unspecified annual amount of San Antonio Water System funds, which could allow SAWS to pay for preserving more aquifer land over 10…

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A river worth saving: Who will protect the unheralded Llano?

A river worth saving: Who will protect the unheralded Llano?

The Llano River is an ecological gem in Texas Hill Country, supporting dozens of native and rare plants and animals. But due to weak state environmental protections, the Llano — along with other waterways in Texas — is increasingly facing pressure from industry and development. On a February day in 2018, Bill Neiman walked me along the perimeter of a Pilot Flying J truck stop in Junction, Texas, five miles upstream from his farm. Semis revved and hissed in the…

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