Hill Country Land Trust to celebrate two decades

Hill Country Land Trust to celebrate two decades

The Hill Country Land Trust wants to get the word out about its conservation easement program as development from the east encroaches on area counties. The trust (HCLT) will mark its 20th anniversary with a “Conservation Celebration” on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Gilbriar Gazebo. In those two decades, HCLT has worked in partnership with private landowners to protect agricultural land, waterways and wildlife habitat. Those attending the event will meet Tiffany Osburn, an archeologist with the Texas Historical Commission…

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Update: Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passes with almost 75% of the vote

Update: Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passes with almost 75% of the vote

Update: The Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passed unofficially with 74.78% of the vote, or 9,715 in favor to 3,276 opposed. Included on the ballot were all seven members of the newly elected board of directors: Juli Hennings, Jim Urie, Tricia Davis, James Dower, Tim Van Ackeren and Rick Scadden, board president. “It’s wonderful that 75% of the voters support confirmation of the SWTCGCD,” Scadden said in a text. “This represents the culmination of many years of hard work…

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Texas voters approve state income tax ban, most other constitutional amendments

Texas voters approve state income tax ban, most other constitutional amendments

Amendments to the state constitution that would make it harder to enact a state income tax, would stabilize funding for state parks and would allow retired law enforcement animals to be adopted by their handlers received widespread support from voters Tuesday. Supporters of one of the most contentious issues on the ballot — Proposition 4 — proclaimed victory within hours of the polls closing, with about three-fourths of voters supporting the proposal in early voting returns. The proposition authored by…

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Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Temple, Texas, October 1, 2019 — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is taking applications through November 15, 2019 for floodplain easements through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Floodplain Easement (EWPP-FPE). The program’s focus is to provide landowners with another option for frequently flooded properties such as agricultural fields, forested land, fallow land, pasture and in certain situations residential areas in cooperation with a qualified sponsor. Through the EWP-FPE program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent…

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The long battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

The long battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

In 1975, Terese Hershey, one of the state’s most influential conservationists, purchased a 1,561-acre tract of land in Stonewall, Texas. For years, she protected the property from the encroachment of nearby development. She worked with The Hill Country Land Trust to establish a conservation easement and turned to Andrew Sansom, a former Texas Parks and Wildlife director, to manage the land with his wife, Nona. In the past eight years, the Sansoms have cleared more than 1,020 acres of cedar…

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Saving Part of the Former Boy Scout Ranch

Saving Part of the Former Boy Scout Ranch

An old saying tells us to invest in land because they aren’t making any more. That saying could be updated to say: Invest in undisturbed natural land because each day there is less of it! Unfortunately, the updated version is very true, which is why we need to take advantage of opportunities to protect such undisturbed natural land when they become available. Such an opportunity now exists in the former Boy Scout Ranch, El Rancho Cima. For more than sixty…

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Landowners got one Hill Country oil pipeline moved. But can they do it again?

Landowners got one Hill Country oil pipeline moved. But can they do it again?

A month after news surfaced that a pipeline proposed by a Texas-based petroleum juggernaut would run across the Edwards Aquifer, the primary source of water for San Antonio and other cities, the company said it would shift the pipeline’s path. It was a difference of approximately 65 miles, and Hill Country residents opposing the project cheered the change—a major victory given that the oil and gas industry typically doesn’t kowtow to landowners’ concerns. So why the monumental move by Enterprise…

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ULI releases report for “Activating the San Marcos Riverfront”

ULI releases report for “Activating the San Marcos Riverfront”

The Urban Land Institute released a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) report regarding land use along the San Marcos River in August. The City of San Marcos, the Greater San Marcos Partnership and Texas State University partnered with the Austin District Council of Urban Land Institute in Fall 2018 to examine land use along the San Marcos River. According to the report, “the Technical Assistance Panel offers recommendations for ways to unlock economic potential by making the river more connected to…

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San Marcos seeks input on use of $24 million in federal disaster mitigation funds

San Marcos seeks input on use of $24 million in federal disaster mitigation funds

The city of San Marcos is asking for public input on how to prioritize the $24,012,000 in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funding it received earlier this year. The online survey can be found here, and paper copies are also available at San Marcos Public Library and San Marcos Activity Center. The deadline to complete the survey is Oct. 31. This type of funding, per a city release, is specifically meant to go towards projects that will prevent or reduce…

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Opinion: Vote ‘No’ on pipelines in Texas in coming elections

Opinion: Vote ‘No’ on pipelines in Texas in coming elections

Another pipeline battle is raging in our backyards. With a major election cycle churning, Texans have the chance to vote out fossil fuel protectors and imagine a new environmental future. The Permian Highway Pipeline, or PHP, has captured fewer headlines than other contentious projects, such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. However, those concerned about water quality in Texas and those demanding a decisive shift away from reliance on oil and gas must keep their sights on the…

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