Judge rules Golden-cheeked Warbler should stay on endangered species list

Judge rules Golden-cheeked Warbler should stay on endangered species list

A bright-faced songbird of the Texas Hill Country still faces enough threat from population growth and land development in the San Antonio-Austin region to need shelter under the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge in Austin has ruled. Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks sided with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week in a case centered on the golden-cheeked warbler, a 3- to 5-inch migratory songbird that only nests in around 39 counties in Central Texas. The Texas General…

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Texas Land Trends report shows value of conservation easements to ag, water, wildlife

Texas Land Trends report shows value of conservation easements to ag, water, wildlife

The Texas Land Trends project of Texas A&M’s Natural Resources Institute, or NRI, has published a special series report describing Texas landowner participation in land conservation easements and their value to agricultural production, water and wildlife. About 83 percent of lands in Texas are classified as privately-owned working lands, signifying the critical role private landowners play in protecting the state’s valuable resources. Land-use conversion, including fragmentation, accounted for the loss of approximately 1.1 million acres of working lands in Texas…

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Group wants relief route answers

Group wants relief route answers

Gillespie County Commissioners received a presentation from the Citizens for an Informed Relief Route during their Monday meeting. The group, formed two weeks ago, consists of around 200 locals who want answers about the proposed relief route. Gary Saucier, group representative, said the group was formed with the goal of getting more answers. “We aren’t necessarily pro or con, but we have concerns and we want answers,” he said. “We feel as if we are being asked to make a…

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Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the country. But a downside of this growth is that, coupled with extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, many of our existing water resources are becoming overburdened. If trends continue, our water supply will be significantly reduced over the next 50 years, and everything we love about the Lone Star State will start to disappear: the economy, recreation, our way of life. According to the 2017 State Water Plan,…

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Could Kinder Morgan’s ‘Permian Highway’ scar the Hill Country?

Could Kinder Morgan’s ‘Permian Highway’ scar the Hill Country?

The golden-cheeked warbler — a compact, yellow-headed songbird that migrates from Mexico to Central Texas each March — is in trouble. The endangered species, which nests nowhere else but the cedar breaks of the Texas Hill Country and surrounding areas, has in recent years seen its habitat shrunk and fragmented by urban sprawl and has faced competition from the brown-headed cowbird, a sneaky rival that likes to lay its eggs in warbler nests. One place the warbler can still find…

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25 states took additional steps to fight chronic wasting disease in the past year

25 states took additional steps to fight chronic wasting disease in the past year

It’s up to hunters to comply with new regulations on moving deer carcasses and using mineral lures—but it’s worth it to stop the spread of CWD The Boone & Crockett Club, North America’s oldest wildlife and habitat conservation organization founded by Theodore Roosevelt himself, recently made a bold recommendation to end all human-assisted live transport of deer and elk. Based on the most recent science, B&C said this is absolutely necessary to prevent unknowingly relocating animals infected with chronic wasting…

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Cibolo Nature Center & Farm founder receives conservation award

Cibolo Nature Center & Farm founder receives conservation award

Boerne, TX – Carolyn Chipman Evans, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm (CNC&F) in Boerne, is a recipient of the 2019 Texas Women in Conservation Terry Hershey Award presented by Audubon Texas. Evans will receive the award at a luncheon hosted by Travis Audubon Society and Audubon Texas on March 5, 2019 at the Austin Country Club in Austin, TX. “It’s an honor to be among this year’s honorees, all women who have dedicated…

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Water emerges as ‘the new oil’ in $32.5 million sale of vast Permian Basin ranch

Water emerges as ‘the new oil’ in $32.5 million sale of vast Permian Basin ranch

Toby Darden stomped on the ATV’s gas pedal, carving through blustery winds to reach the far northern corner of his 37,000-acre West Texas ranch. He wanted to show off the crown jewel. This wasn’t the spectacular views of the Davis Mountains or the herds of aoudad rams with their distinctive curved horns. It was a big hole in the ground, the first cut at a well — not to bring oil up but water, the precious commodity of the Permian…

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Public meetings on eminent domain a good start

Public meetings on eminent domain a good start

AUSTIN — There is an information vacuum when it comes to private companies using eminent domain in Texas. Even though eminent domain is a governmental power that is supposed to be used only for the public good, private entities who use eminent domain have very few obligations to operate in the kind of transparent manner that citizens have come to expect from public projects. Transmission line companies must at least present a proposed route to the Public Utility Commission, which…

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Bill would bar new billboards from some Hays County roads

Bill would bar new billboards from some Hays County roads

Legislation filed in the Texas House would prohibit new billboards along segments of three Hays County highways. Local elected officials say billboards disrupt the scenic Hill Country views that attract tourists and homeowners alike in the fast-growing region. The bill, filed Feb. 1 by state Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, and supported by two Hays County-based environmental preservation groups, would ban new billboard construction within Hays County along RM 1826, RM 150 between Kyle and RM 12, and RM 967 between…

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