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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Report urges buying floodplain properties to head off $3 billion bill by 2050

Report urges buying floodplain properties to head off $3 billion bill by 2050

It would be less expensive for the government to buy and preserve undeveloped land that lies in Houston’s floodplains than it would be to let development occur and face a potentially devastating bill if those properties flood, according to a new study. Allowing development on these sites could expose Harris County to as much as $3 billion in damages by 2050, according the report, published in the journal Nature Sustainability. The magnitude of potential damages far outstrips the $400 million…

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Wild pigs increase their urban and suburban area sprawls

Wild pigs increase their urban and suburban area sprawls

Whether you call them wild pigs or feral hogs, they are no longer just a rural problem, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Wild pigs cause more than $52 million in agricultural damage in Texas annually, said John Tomecek, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Thrall. But it’s their encroachment into increasingly urbanized areas that is becoming a burgeoning problem for landowners and municipalities. Texas’ wild pig population was 2.6 million according to a 2012 study. Now experts…

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Axis deer population control in Texas

Axis deer population control in Texas

Axis Deer Control Warranted Gillespie County AgriLife Extension and Hill Country Alliance have launched the Axis Deer Control Project and are encouraging landowners and hunters to participate. Axis deer are an exotic species that were introduced from India to the Texas Hill Country in the 1930s. Since their introduction, this species has proliferated in several portions of Gillespie County, adversely impacting native wildlife, particularly white-tailed deer. Exotic species such as Axis deer can out-compete native white-tailed deer because of their…

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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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We say “Imagine a day without water,” but in the future this could be a reality we face

We say “Imagine a day without water,” but in the future this could be a reality we face

Did you know that the State Demographer estimates 250 people a day (yes, that’s every day!) move to the Hill Country?  Would it surprise you that none of them are bringing their own water? The state water plan projects a water deficit of 2,897,404,528,608 gallons by year 2070!  In order to protect our economic vitality and unique ecology, HCA is working with other water user groups like your local utilities, groundwater districts, and others on the Texas State Water Plan…

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There’s an election in Texas coming up. Here are the Constitutional Propositions you’ll vote on.

There’s an election in Texas coming up. Here are the Constitutional Propositions you’ll vote on.

Voters in Texas will decide on 10 constitutional amendments this Election Day, Nov. 5. The propositions range from prohibiting an income tax from ever being collected in the state to allowing law enforcement animals to stay with their handlers when they retire. Sometimes the language on a ballot can be confusing. Here’s an explanation of what voters are being asked to decide, with an assist from the League of Women Voters. Proposition 1: Municipal Judges What you’ll see on the…

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Ensuring One Water delivers for healthy waterways

Ensuring One Water delivers for healthy waterways

Texas Living Waters is an active advocate for the One Water approach because it offers tremendous opportunities for improving how water is managed. Even so, we are concerned that the available One Water implementation frameworks are not providing adequate guidance or methodologies for ensuring that implementation of One Water principles will result in actual on-the-ground benefits in achieving “healthy waterways,” which is a key component of the One Water approach. There often seems to be an assumption that implementing a One Water…

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Invasive zebra mussels found in Lakes Lyndon B. Johnson, Pflugerville in Central Texas

Invasive zebra mussels found in Lakes Lyndon B. Johnson, Pflugerville in Central Texas

AUSTIN – Established, reproducing populations of invasive zebra mussels have been discovered at two new lakes in Central Texas, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) in the Colorado River basin northwest of Austin and Lake Pflugerville northeast of Austin. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) biologists confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake LBJ after LCRA staff found about a dozen juvenile and adult zebra mussels near the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in…

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Sedimentation surveys on the Highland Lakes a look into the future of water resources

Sedimentation surveys on the Highland Lakes a look into the future of water resources

  • July 25, 2019
  • News

Nathan Leber is all about finding the dirt on Lake Buchanan and other Texas reservoirs, or, more precisely, the dirt at the bottom. Leber, manager of the TexMesoNet and Hydrosurvey programs for the Texas Water Development Board, is in charge of a crew that’s currently surveying sedimentation in Lake Buchanan. Sedimentation surveys in Texas reservoirs help the state understand how water resources will look 50-100 years into the future. “We provide the data; (state leaders) make the decisions,” Leber said.…

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