Warming may hurt Edwards Aquifer

Warming may hurt Edwards Aquifer

The Edwards Aquifer could be at risk in the next 50 years as a result of warmer temperatures and more frequent and severe droughts, compounded by population growth. “These climate change impacts will be exacerbated in central Texas’s rapidly urbanizing regions, as increasing impervious cover will affect water quality and rates of runoff and recharge,” stated the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a 1,656-page report released by the federal government. Officials in California, Florida and other coastal states are increasingly concerned…

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Texas parks department, advocates pushing Congress to reauthorize key conservation fund

Texas parks department, advocates pushing Congress to reauthorize key conservation fund

The chief of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the absence of the 54-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund is a “substantial loss” for state parks and natural areas. With Congress set to adjourn next week, parks advocates are pushing for lawmakers to revive a half-century-old program that has pumped more than a half-billion dollars into Texas’ parks and natural areas. Congress let the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) expire on Sept. 30. The fund — established in…

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Wharton County reservoir key in updated Colorado River management plan

Wharton County reservoir key in updated Colorado River management plan

  • December 10, 2018
  • News

A long-running feud pitting Austin-area lakeside communities against farmers downriver could settle down with proposed changes to a water management plan for the Highland Lakes. The pending update to what’s essentially a user’s manual for operating the river could mean that more water will stay in Central Texas because of a new reservoir designed to help quench thirsty rice farms. The Arbuckle Reservoir, scheduled to come online in 2019, will store water for agricultural use in Wharton and Matagorda counties…

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Agency: Cost to curb Texas flooding over 10 years is $31.5B

Agency: Cost to curb Texas flooding over 10 years is $31.5B

  • December 10, 2018
  • News

DALLAS — The cost to curtail damaging flooding across Texas over the next 10 years is more than $31.5 billion and state officials are urging lawmakers to adopt legislation meant to end a cycle of “repairing and rebuilding,” according to a series of recommendations released Thursday. The Texas Water Development Board provided the recommendations to lawmakers ahead of the legislative session that begins next month. They’re part of an updated Texas Water Development Board flood assessment report that says coastal…

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Big Bend Conservation Alliance Hires Executive Director

Big Bend Conservation Alliance Hires Executive Director

  • December 7, 2018
  • News

Alpine – The Big Bend Conservation Alliance (BBCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of James “J.D.” Newsom as Executive Director. Born and raised in Midland, J.D. grew up surfing the Monahans Sandhills, swimming at Balmorhea, camping at the Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch, and hiking through Big Bend National Park. “J.D.’s passion for the region, as well as his incredible experience managing non-profits made him an ideal candidate for the job,” said BBCA board member, Matt Lara. Mr. Newsom has…

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Locals ready to fight 430-mile gas pipeline

Locals ready to fight 430-mile gas pipeline

  • December 7, 2018
  • News

As Houston-based company Kinder Morgan moves ahead on a proposed 430-mile underground natural gas pipeline that could bisect Hays County, local landowners worry the project could harbor a negative environmental impact. Bill Johnson, owner of the historic Halifax and 6F ranches and whose land could be affected by the project, said he opposes the pipeline as it encroaches on land that has been nearly untouched for generations. “I’m very upset about the idea of them coming to something that’s treasured…

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As we grow, streams and rivers need TLC

As we grow, streams and rivers need TLC

  • December 4, 2018
  • News

There were four of five things going on in town last Thursday that I wanted to attend. Typical night in the busy ’Burg, huh? One of them I had to let pass was a forum at Schreiner University dealing with water pollution sponsored by the Hill Country Alliance. Fortunately, Texas Public Radio recorded and archived the talk, which can be found at www.tpr.org/post/balancing-population-growth-and-healthy-rivers-texas. Ann Rogers Harrison, water quality program leader with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, served as moderator. Panelists…

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Why are Austin’s trees having such a colorful autumn?

Why are Austin’s trees having such a colorful autumn?

  • November 30, 2018
  • News

Austin is known for a lot of things, but fall foliage is not one of them. That is, until this year. Local trees are putting on an incredible color show lately. It seems like it came out of nowhere, but it didn’t. “This is my 24th fall in Austin, and I’ve never seen the tree color as varied and vibrant as it is this year,” Doug Addison wrote to KUT’s ATXplained project, asking: “Why? Or is it my imagination?” It’s…

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Water Forward plan including artificial aquifers, graywater reuse gets council nod

Water Forward plan including artificial aquifers, graywater reuse gets council nod

  • November 29, 2018
  • News

A 100-year water resiliency plan that calls for massive underground reservoirs and reuse of wastewater is now city policy after gaining the approval of the Austin City Council. The plan, dubbed Water Forward, has been in the works since 2014, when years of drought led council members to call for a look at the city’s long-term water future. It proposes creating artificial aquifers that could store billions of gallons of potable water. Crucially for environmentalists, it promotes reusing water from…

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Sen. Campbell files bill to address quarries, concrete plants in Texas Hill Country

Sen. Campbell files bill to address quarries, concrete plants in Texas Hill Country

AUSTIN – State Senator Donna Campbell filed Senate Bill 208 today to extend requirements for setbacks, or buffer zones, around aggregate facilities. If passed, the bill would double the current 440 yard requirement between concrete plants or quarries and existing residences, schools, and churches to 880 yards, or a half mile. The proposed change is the result of multiple discussions with Kendall and Comal County residents after Vulcan Materials proposed expanding their operations in the Hill Country, including opening a…

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