Preserving the night sky in Austin

Preserving the night sky in Austin

Most evenings in Central Texas, the sky transforms into the legendary violet crown before falling into darkness. Although humans wait for the beauty of the sunset, it is the darkness that animals need, according to Cliff Kaplan of the Hill Country Alliance. “All of the creatures of Central Texas rely on dark nights. That’s what they evolved for,” he told the Environmental Commission at its Feb. 5 meeting. Golden-cheeked warblers navigate by starlight and fireflies communicate in darkness. Darker skies…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
Cookie-cutter suburbs could help spread sustainable yards

Cookie-cutter suburbs could help spread sustainable yards

Yards in Austin, Tex., look like most across the country: sprawling expanses of short, uniform grass. But when intense Texas droughts set in, dead brown patches deface the Kelly green monochrome. Instead of repeatedly replanting these patches with the typical sod, the homeowner association of one Austin neighborhood, Travis Country, offers another option: filling in the brown spots with less-thirsty native species. As Cynthia Wilcox, the association’s grounds committee chair, puts it: “When your grass gets big dead spots, stop…

Read More
Travis County commissioners delay approving RV park proposal near Hamilton Pool Preserve as residents raise concern

Travis County commissioners delay approving RV park proposal near Hamilton Pool Preserve as residents raise concern

Important Update: Despite last week’s decision (discussed in article below) to delay voting on this agenda item, the Travis County Commissioners Court will be meeting on Tuesday, 12/17/19 at 9 AM to discuss the Bentree RV proposal AGAIN. Learn more here.  For the second week in a row, dozens of Dripping Springs residents filled the Travis County Commissioners Court chambers, prepared to speak in opposition to a proposed RV park at 401 Stagecoach Ranch Road, less than a half mile…

Read More
One Water: Projects In Motion

One Water: Projects In Motion

Ian Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at New Braunfels Utilities, knows his city is growing, fast. And that with that growth means looking at new ideas to manage resources. “I really struggled with [One Water] because … it was just kind of this out there concept,” Taylor explained at the Texas Water Symposium held on November 21, 2019 in San Marcos. “I had trouble trying to figure out how to nail it down and figure out how you apply this thing.…

Read More
Dark Skies meeting attracts Medina crowd

Dark Skies meeting attracts Medina crowd

Nearly 40 people filled the meeting room at the Medina Community Library on Tuesday, Oct. 29, to be enlightened about a program called Dark Skies which helps combat light pollution from cities and towns. “We had a great turnout at the Medina Dark Skies Night,” said Cliff Kaplan, program manager for the Hill Country Alliance which sponsored the event along with the Bandera Electric Cooperative and the Medina Astronomy Club. “It is very clear that folks in Medina care deeply…

Read More
Hays County plans to transform El Rancho Cima into public park along Blanco River

Hays County plans to transform El Rancho Cima into public park along Blanco River

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — It’s something many Wimberley residents have been aching for: a public park with waterfront access. Hays County has the ability to secure 533 acres of El Rancho Cima El Rancho Cima is a nearly 2,400 acre property County might use land for public park Now, that dream could finally come to fruition. Hays County has the ability to secure 533 acres of El Rancho Cima, with land on both sides of the Blanco River. This purchase would give the public…

Read More
Study shows declining water levels in Trinity aquifer; local leaders urge creation of groundwater conservation district

Study shows declining water levels in Trinity aquifer; local leaders urge creation of groundwater conservation district

Homestead resident John Colman’s nearly 1.5-acre property near Bee Cave runs on well water and has since he and his wife brought the property in 2010. The well system is used for everyday uses including drinking water, washing, topping off the pool and irrigation. Last year, after the land’s original well met the end of its life, the Colmans had to install a new well on the property, and what he learned in the process about the importance of groundwater…

Read More