South Llano River State Park installs night sky quality meter

South Llano River State Park installs night sky quality meter

  • February 10, 2016
  • News

Ken Kattner, of Putnam Observatory and key leader on HCA Night Skies Team, recently donated valuable high-tech scientific equipment to monitor sky quality at South Llano River State Park near Junction. Dedicated to preserving large swaths of Hill Country night skies, Ken traveled from Houston volunteering his Saturday to make the remote installation. Over time, the sky quality monitor will establish baseline information needed to officially certify the State Park by the International Dark-sky Association (IDA). Once recognized by IDA,…

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New Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council Holds Inaugural Meeting

New Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council Holds Inaugural Meeting

Armed with $2 million in legislative appropriations to help bring more of the state’s high-value working farm and ranch lands under long term conservation protection, the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council held its inaugural meeting under the administration of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The goal of the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program (TFRLCP) is conservation of working lands with high values for water, fish and wildlife, and agricultural production, especially lands at risk of…

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Will Dripping Springs sewage expansion foul Onion Creek?

Will Dripping Springs sewage expansion foul Onion Creek?

  • February 5, 2016
  • News

From his rolling Hill Country spread, Wes Pitts can watch changes in gray-green Onion Creek as it riffles by. This is the same creek that twice in 2015 flooded poor neighborhoods in Southeast Austin, but here, miles upstream, on a windy, dry late January day, it wends amiably. From beneath the oaks, pecans and elms that line the banks, Pitts can catch perch, bass and crawfish. In some calmer spots, the water is still and clear; in others, whitewater dribbles…

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State Senate hopefuls sound off on issues

State Senate hopefuls sound off on issues

Six Republican candidates vying for the Texas Senate District 24 seat of retiring Sen. Troy Fraser attended a candidate forum recently at the Hill Country University Center. Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune, moderated a two-hour forum in which candidates answered questions ranging from higher education to water issues. Learn more and listen to audio of the Candidate Forum. Read about the event from the Fredericksburg Standard: State Senate hopefuls sound off on issues Candidate forum: who can represent?…

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Interregional Water Piping to Supply Thirsty Regions Debated in Statehouse

Interregional Water Piping to Supply Thirsty Regions Debated in Statehouse

Texas House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources debated the long-term ability of water rich rural regions to supply the thirsty growth of municipalities. Growing Texas metroplexes will continue to advocate for Interregional water supply pipelines to supply their projected demands while rural residents who will supply this water worry about their aquifers’ sustainability. The Sierra Club’s Ken Kramer was invited by the Committee to testify on behalf of the environment. His call for a sensible balance of water management…

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Waters of the United States and the Clean Waters Act: New EPA Rules

Waters of the United States and the Clean Waters Act: New EPA Rules

  • February 3, 2016
  • News

There has been considerable interest in the Hill Country about the EPA’s new Waters of the US (WOTUS) rules clarifications. The debate revolves around the EPA including more waterways into its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act than it traditionally has. (We should remember that the rules explicitly exempt Agricultural uses.) A good explanation of the evolving rules comes from a recent University of Texas School of Law forum on the topic. Read more from Colleen Schreiber: December 3, 2015 Panel…

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Sewage Spill in the Llano River

Sewage Spill in the Llano River

  • February 1, 2016
  • News

Ironically, a few days before the Texas Stream Team training at Texas Tech Junction, members of the Llano River Watershed Alliance hiking just downstream of the junction of the North and South Llano Rivers, observed pools of algae-covered water along the Llano River near the Interstate-10 Bridge. Upon notifying the City, Junction Mayor Russell Hammonds and the City’s Water and wastewater Superintendent investigated the report and discovered that the sanitary sewer line coming from a local motel had become disconnected from the City Lift Station serving the motel. Read more from the Llano Watershed Alliance

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Texas Night Sky Festival – Coming March 5th A Star-Studded Event for the Whole Family

Texas Night Sky Festival – Coming March 5th A Star-Studded Event for the Whole Family

  • February 1, 2016
  • News

As light pollution continues to increase from rapidly growing urban sprawl, the sparkling starlit night skies of Texas have dulled for many across the state.  Instead of allowing our magnificent star-filled nights to fade into a cherished memory, there is a statewide effort to limit excessive artificial lighting and restore the brilliance of the glittering night time sky. Plans for a first ever Texas Night Sky Festival are well underway and the organizers’ intent is to increase appreciation of the…

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Regional Experts Recommend Ways to Protect the Texas Hill Country While Supporting State Growth

Regional Experts Recommend Ways to Protect the Texas Hill Country While Supporting State Growth

  • January 21, 2016
  • News

AUSTIN, Texas — New strategies for protecting the Texas Hill Country came out of a recently published study by regional planning experts and graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. The study addresses threats to water resources, scenic beauty and cultural heritage in the face of rapid population growth in the region. “Toward a Regional Plan for the Texas Hill Country,” report and summary available on the Hill Country Alliance website. The Texas Hill Country is…

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Senate Candidate Forum set Jan. 27 in Fredericksburg

Senate Candidate Forum set Jan. 27 in Fredericksburg

  • January 20, 2016
  • News

Seven candidates running for the Texas Senate District 24 seat of retiring Troy Fraser will take part in a forum from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27 at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg. A welcome will begin at 6 p.m. Ross Ramsey, executive editor and co-founder of the online media outlet Texas Tribune, will moderate the forum. “This is an important race for the Texas Hill Country region and this free public event is an excellent way to learn…

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