Hill Country’s Honey Creek no longer set to receive treated sewage

Hill Country’s Honey Creek no longer set to receive treated sewage

A developer planning a subdivision upstream of an ecologically sensitive Hill Country creek has changed his plans to avoid filling the creek with treated wastewater. The controversial proposed wastewater treatment plant north of San Antonio is tied to a 2,347-unit subdivision planned for what is now Honey Creek Ranch off State Highway 46 in Comal County. Ronald and Terry Urbanczyk, who also run Urban Concrete Contractors in San Antonio, own the property. The Urbanczyks also control Silesia Properties, the company…

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Cookie-cutter suburbs could help spread sustainable yards

Cookie-cutter suburbs could help spread sustainable yards

Yards in Austin, Tex., look like most across the country: sprawling expanses of short, uniform grass. But when intense Texas droughts set in, dead brown patches deface the Kelly green monochrome. Instead of repeatedly replanting these patches with the typical sod, the homeowner association of one Austin neighborhood, Travis Country, offers another option: filling in the brown spots with less-thirsty native species. As Cynthia Wilcox, the association’s grounds committee chair, puts it: “When your grass gets big dead spots, stop…

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Texas regulators want stiffer penalties for company whose Port Neches plant exploded

Texas regulators want stiffer penalties for company whose Port Neches plant exploded

In a surprising vote, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rejected a staff-proposed penalty against TPC Group’s Port Neches chemical plant — which was rocked by explosions last month — for a slew of 2018 pollution violations and asked that they be referred to the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Environmental and watchdog groups have long criticized the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for taking it too easy on polluters — and the TCEQ has often countered that its job is…

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IDA Advocate helps teens open eyes to light pollution in Chicago

IDA Advocate helps teens open eyes to light pollution in Chicago

Each month the International Dark-Sky Association features an IDA Advocate from the worldwide network of volunteers who are working to protect the night. This month we’re highlighting the work of IDA Delegate, Rosalía Lugo.  Self-described as “a true believer in the potential of working-class youth of color,” IDA Delegate Rosalía Lugo works as the teen programs manager at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. With a master’s in education policy, organization, and leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,…

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Val Verde County white-tailed deer tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Val Verde County white-tailed deer tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

  • December 20, 2019
  • News

AUSTIN – Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected in a free-ranging, 5 ½ year-old white-tailed doe between Del Rio and Amistad Reservoir, making it the first confirmed case of the disease in Val Verde County. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are implementing a containment strategy designed to limit the spread of CWD from the affected area and better understand the distribution and prevalence of the disease. “Because eradication is thought to…

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BSEACD denies motion for rehearing of the Needmore Water LLC Permit

BSEACD denies motion for rehearing of the Needmore Water LLC Permit

This evening at its Regular Meeting, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) Board of Directors denied the request from the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Alliance (TESPA) for a rehearing of the Needmore Water LLC permit. Blayne Stansberry, Director and President of the Board, stated that the primary reason the Board denied this request was that TESPA did not present any new information that would warrant another hearing on the matter. She further stated that the District held a 5-hour…

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Over 60 roadway improvements require relocation of water and wastewater lines

Over 60 roadway improvements require relocation of water and wastewater lines

  • December 16, 2019
  • News

At the Dec. 11 meeting of the Water and Wastewater Commission, Austin Water presented an update on the 65 active transportation improvement projects that necessitate the repositioning of water utility lines. Of those projects, 56 percent are in the planning period, 22 percent are in the design stage, 17 percent are in construction, and 5 percent are still in the bid phase. “I am really blown away by the amount of work that is here,” said William Moriarty, chair of…

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Rep. Zwiener named to House Interim Study Committee on concrete plant operations

Rep. Zwiener named to House Interim Study Committee on concrete plant operations

State Representative Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) was one of nine representatives and public members appointed to the House Interim Study Committee on Aggregate Production Operations (APOs) by Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) on Tuesday, December 10. APOs, which include concrete batch plants and rock quarries, are having a dramatic impact on the environment and surrounding communities in rapidly growing counties like Hays and Blanco. Rep. Zwiener worked tirelessly with Representative Terry Wilson (R-Marble Falls) and fellow Hill Country representatives during the 86th…

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Travis County commissioners delay approving RV park proposal near Hamilton Pool Preserve as residents raise concern

Travis County commissioners delay approving RV park proposal near Hamilton Pool Preserve as residents raise concern

Important Update: Despite last week’s decision (discussed in article below) to delay voting on this agenda item, the Travis County Commissioners Court will be meeting on Tuesday, 12/17/19 at 9 AM to discuss the Bentree RV proposal AGAIN. Learn more here.  For the second week in a row, dozens of Dripping Springs residents filled the Travis County Commissioners Court chambers, prepared to speak in opposition to a proposed RV park at 401 Stagecoach Ranch Road, less than a half mile…

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Nature up close: The largest bat colony in the world

Nature up close: The largest bat colony in the world

Bracken Bat Cave, northeast of San Antonio, is the summer home of about 20 million insect-eating Mexican free-tailed bats. Bats don’t always get the respect they deserve, especially Mexican free-taileds which, even among some bat researchers, are considered the rats of the bat world because they live so closely together in colonies often numbering in the millions, such as those featured in last week’s Moment of Nature. In 1976 I was looking for a Master’s thesis topic. I wanted to…

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