New financial program available for Texas communities

New financial program available for Texas communities

A new financial assistance program will soon become available to assist in the funding of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects. On Nov. 5, Texas voters approved Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF). In conjunction with the constitutional amendment, the legislature made a one-time transfer of $793 million from the Economic Stabilization or “Rainy Day” Fund to the FIF via Senate Bill 500 and passed Senate Bill (SB) 7, which outlines…

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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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TCEQ awards Meadows Center $350,000 for Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University has been awarded a $351,101 grant from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to implement Years 4-6 of the Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). The Cypress Creek WPP is the result of a six-year collaboration between numerous stakeholders working together to keep Cypress Creek clean, clear and flowing. After the plan was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and TCEQ in 2016, The Meadows…

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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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Proaction needed for water stewardship

Proaction needed for water stewardship

Local water resources grabbed state-level attention at the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District last week. State Rep. Kyle Biedermann and his environmental policy analyst, Larry Bailey, joined Boerne Mayor Tim Handren in addressing the CCGCD directors and asking for their help in advocating for responsible water stewardship. “My staff and I have been working closely with elected officials, experts and the public in my district regarding future water plans regarding the significant increase in growth,” Biedermann said. Bailey shared information…

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Resilience along a river

Resilience along a river

It’s a crisp November after-noon and landowner Suzanne Davis is admiring native bald cypress seedlings while cutting back invasive Brazilian verbena along her stretch of the Blanco River. Davis and her husband, Edward, live in Wimberley, where, four years ago, the Blanco River rose more than 20 feet in an hour — over 40 feet at its peak — causing extensive devastation to property and life. “The destruction all around was incomprehensible,” she said. While the couple had to start…

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Report: Austin and San Antonio best in Texas for fighting water pollution with nature-based infrastructure

Report: Austin and San Antonio best in Texas for fighting water pollution with nature-based infrastructure

Amid ongoing problems with water pollution and flooding, cities across Texas are turning to nature-based infrastructure. San Antonio and Austin lead the way, followed closely by Harris County, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, which ranks local governments across Texas on how well their stormwater policy incorporates nature-based infrastructure, like rain gardens and green roofs. “Nature-based infrastructure, from rain gardens to constructed wetlands, helps keep Texans safe,” said Anna Farrell-Sherman, Clean Water Associate with…

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Petition circulates against relief route

Petition circulates against relief route

A petition to stop the Texas Department of Transportation’s technically preferred route around Fredericksburg is being distributed. Citizens for an Informed Relief Route (CIRR), a local group that has been active in relief route conversations, created this petition after a “No Build” option wasn’t presented in the most recent relief route open house on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Gary Saucier, who created CIRR, feels “most of the county citizens are unaware or not in favor” of TxDOT’s proposed route. The petition…

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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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Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for funding of conservation easements through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for funding of conservation easements through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

The Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI), a program of Hill Country Conservancy, the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network and 18 partner organizations, is now accepting pre-applications from landowners located within specified critical river basins. The HCHCI has a $2.1 million pledge, awarded by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, for the purchase of conservation easements from willing landowners. “Private landowners throughout the Texas Hill Country are caring daily for our precious natural resources, growing our food, and keeping our land beautiful, often without recognition or compensation for…

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