Landowners attend workshop on financial, conservation tools: About 90 hear CCCA, Hill Country Alliance speakers

Landowners attend workshop on financial, conservation tools: About 90 hear CCCA, Hill Country Alliance speakers

The Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA) and the Hill Country Alliance co-hosted the workshop, “Saving Family Lands: Tools for Landowners in Comal County” on Feb. 15 at the Anhalt Dance Hall in Spring Branch. The one-day workshop, which highlighted financial and conservation tools available to rural landowners in fast-growing Hill Country counties, attracted 90 attendees. The workshop was designed to provide farmers, ranchers and other landowners with effective tools and resources to help them address issues inherent in passing family…

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New publication examines consequences of groundwater depletion to agriculture

New publication examines consequences of groundwater depletion to agriculture

COLLEGE STATION — A new Council of Agricultural Science and Technology, or CAST, paper examines the causes and consequences of groundwater depletion throughout the U.S. with a focus on how this will affect agriculture — the largest sector of groundwater use. The paper, “Aquifer Depletion and Potential Impacts on Long-term Irrigated Agricultural Productivity,” was co-authored by Dr. John Tracy, Texas A&M University’s Texas Water Resources Institute director, College Station. Tracy chaired a task force of university and government researchers exploring…

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Could a tug-of-war between two Central Texas counties leave residents without drinking water?

Could a tug-of-war between two Central Texas counties leave residents without drinking water?

Dirk Aaron’s timing was terrible. He took over management of Bell County’s Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District in the summer of 2011, which the National Weather Service regards as the driest year in Texas history. What made the drought particularly difficult was that the less it rained, the more groundwater people pumped. When Mother Nature isn’t watering your yard or your farm, you have to do it yourself. That dynamic played hell with the resources Aaron had been hired to…

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Homeowners take fight against gas pipeline land grab to U.S. Supreme Court

Homeowners take fight against gas pipeline land grab to U.S. Supreme Court

For nearly a decade, Michelle and Gary Erb lived on a rustic, 72-acre plot of land east of the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The bucolic setting was perfect for farming, hiking, and hunting. There, the couple hoped they could build a second home for their sons. But the landscape Gary once called a “deer paradise” became a construction site for a pipeline that can move 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day. Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line…

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Landowners, volunteers wade into riparian restoration effort

Landowners, volunteers wade into riparian restoration effort

While the cooler temperatures March 2 were enough to send some people inside, a number of folks rolled up their sleeves, and pants legs, sowed seeds, and planted vegetation along a stretch of Sandy Creek. “We want to be proactive by doing riparian zone restoration,” Fermin Ortiz said. He and about 25 local landowners, concerned residents, and volunteers gathered along the creek at CR 316 in Llano County. Ortiz and several other residents and landowners are concerned about a sand-mining…

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Rep. Erin Zwiener brings aggregate industry bills

Rep. Erin Zwiener brings aggregate industry bills

Austin, TX — State Representative Erin Zwiener filed four bills to address concerns from House District 45 residents regarding the proliferating aggregate industry. Aggregate operators include concrete batch plants, gravel pits, and stone crushers. With a rapidly growing district, some areas have seen a growing number of aggregate operators who are unconcerned with being good neighbors to the community around them. “I’m working with my Hill Country neighbors, Representatives Terry Wilson and Andy Murr, to provide comprehensive oversight for aggregate…

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J. David Bamberger on fifty years of coaxing his Blanco county ranch back to life

J. David Bamberger on fifty years of coaxing his Blanco county ranch back to life

On an overcast day in early February, J. David Bamberger charged down a trail at his ranch near Blanco, pointing out maples he’d planted more than a decade ago. The ninety-year-old land conservationist wanted to determine why the leaves of some of the trees turned orange last fall, while those on others became deep red or golden yellow. To collect the data he sought, he needed to clear the brush from around each maple. The former door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman…

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UPDATE: Georgetown evacuations continue for third week after natural gas leak

UPDATE: Georgetown evacuations continue for third week after natural gas leak

  • March 20, 2019
  • News

The evacuation of 64 businesses and 57 homes in Georgetown due to the results of an initial natural gas leak continued Monday, according to a news release from Atmos Energy. The company would not say when it planned to lift the evacuation order, which started Feb. 20. “Out of an abundance of caution, evacuations will remain in place until we are confident it is safe to re-occupy the structures,” the release said. The number of businesses and home evacuated have…

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Texas Stream Team honored by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Texas Stream Team honored by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

The Texas Stream Team, part of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, received a Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Governor Greg Abbott and TCEQ commissioners selected 10 winners in nine categories. The awards recognize efforts to use less water or energy, educate the public about natural resources and reduce pollution. “I am proud to announce this year’s winners,” said TCEQ Chairman Jon Niermann. “Not only are they innovative,…

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New report by the Texas Land Trust Council highlights over $1 billion in annual economic benefits of conserved lands to flood mitigation, agriculture, water resources

New report by the Texas Land Trust Council highlights over $1 billion in annual economic benefits of conserved lands to flood mitigation, agriculture, water resources

The new study, produced by Siglo Group in partnership with the Texas Land Trust Council, quantifies the value of lands and conservation easements that have been conserved by or with assistance from the Texas land trust community. Values for benefits provided by these conserved lands were calculated using an ecosystem services approach. Specifically, the study assessed the more than 1.6 million acres of open space lands that have been compiled into a statewide conserved lands database by TLTC members, and evaluated those acres for the services they offer Texas in terms water quality, water quantity, flood prevention, and…

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