HCA Director’s Notes – October 2016

HCA Director’s Notes – October 2016

  • October 14, 2016
  • News

October always feels like a month of renewal in the Hill Country. August rains replenished our aquifers, rivers and rain tanks, and the signs of abundance are reflected in the tall grasses, brilliant fall wildflowers and flowing rivers. Fall is also a great time to reconnect with neighbors. With summer’s heat behind us, it seems that wildlife co-op gatherings, watershed potlucks, and star parties are planned for almost every weekend. The land, water, sky and community issues we focus on…

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Texas Water Symposium planned for November 10th in Austin: 2017 Legislative Outlook: Population Growth and Groundwater Management

Texas Water Symposium planned for November 10th in Austin: 2017 Legislative Outlook: Population Growth and Groundwater Management

The second Texas Water Symposium of 2016-2017 season has been set for 7pm on Thursday November 10th at Thompson Center Auditorium (adjacent to the LBJ School) on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas. The Texas Water Symposium is free and open to the public. The Texas Legislature will be convening in 2017 and one of the most important issues they will consider is the management of our state’s groundwater resources. With the population of Texas projected to double…

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Rainwater Revival Raises Funds for School Grants

Rainwater Revival Raises Funds for School Grants

  • October 12, 2016
  • News

A good place to learn about the many benefits of rainwater harvesting is at the 7th annual RAINWATER REVIVAL to be held Saturday, November 5, from 10am to 4pm at Dripping Springs Ranch Park in Dripping Springs, Texas. In addition to a full-day of speakers and demonstrations, 50 vendors, food trucks and musical entertainment, the RAINWATER REVIVAL raises funds for the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) School Grant program for water conservation education in schools throughout the 17-county region. This year,…

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EP Aquifer Test Approved

Aquifer tests are an essential part of the District’s permitting process.  The Board and staff rely heavily on results of these tests to inform permit volumes and conditions. In the spring, Electro Purification (EP) submitted a test well application to allow them to perform an aquifer test on three wells.  District staff worked with EP to design and plan an aquifer test that meets District guidelines.  The aquifer test will measure responses to abbreviated pumping simulations from the target pumping…

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Discovering Westcave

Discovering Westcave

  • October 12, 2016
  • News

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country lies an astonishing place called Westcave Preserve, a 76-acre nature preserve and environmental education facility in western Travis County, near Austin, that provides a sanctuary for the flora and fauna of surprisingly diverse ecosystems. Westcave has been connecting children and families to nature since 1976, when the nonprofit Westcave Preserve Corporation was established to restore and protect a popular but rapidly deteriorating picnic spot that encompassed a fern-covered grotto, an ancient rock…

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The Edwards Aquifer: A Valuable Resource We Must Conserve

The Edwards Aquifer: A Valuable Resource We Must Conserve

The story of water and Texas starts right here, some 650 ft. below the surface where you are reading this. That’s the historic average for October of the J-17 well, 658 ft. above sea level, the measure that influences everything related to the Edwards Aquifer. The Edwards Aquifer is one of the most abundant artesian aquifers in the world. It supplies water to more than two million people and thousands of farmers in the region. Spread underneath Southwestern Texas, the Edwards Aquifer…

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Dripping Springs Wastewater Discharge Permit update

Dripping Springs Wastewater Discharge Permit update

  • October 11, 2016
  • News

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) published notice of the Dripping Springs application and preliminary decision for TPDES permit for municipal wastewater.  They also set the date and location for the public meeting.  The District submitted supplemental comments on the Dripping Springs draft permit to TCEQ shortly after notice was published. A map of the proposed Dripping Springs TPDES locations, District documents (such as the supplemental comments), and Dripping Springs reference documents can be found on the Dripping Springs Wastewater…

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Hill Country Alliance marks its first decade

Hill Country Alliance marks its first decade

  • October 10, 2016
  • News

Many folks in Gillespie County still have not heard of the Hill Country Alliance, but the group marked its 10th year in existence in advocating for healthy land and waters, dark skies and fostering a community which cares about these things. The group’s footprint covers 17 counties and 17,000 square miles. Last week, the group held its annual meeting to a packed room at Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs. Speakers included advocates of all stripes, including lawmakers, CEO of the…

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E.O. Wilson explains why parks and nature are really good for your brain

E.O. Wilson explains why parks and nature are really good for your brain

  • October 10, 2016
  • News

In recent years, a growing body of research has documented the psychological and even health benefits of spending time in natural settings, such as forests or parks. This research has shown that people who live in urban areas that feature more trees have better physical health, that nature walks decrease a tendency towards harmful mental “rumination” and much more. None of which comes as a surprise to E.O. Wilson, the famed Harvard biologist and conservationist known for his influential ideas about evolution, the “consilience” of human knowledge and…

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How to help monarch butterflies without accidentally luring them to their deaths

How to help monarch butterflies without accidentally luring them to their deaths

Dara Satterfield has a unique way of looking at Monarch butterflies. She thinks of them as “tiny camels.” “They store up energy to help them through these harsh conditions for a couple months.” says Satterfield, a James Smithson Fellow at the National Zoo in Washington DC. “Flowers in Texas, particularly, fuel monarchs through their winter.” As monarch populations have declined, it’s become popular for people to plant flowers like milkweed in their yards, which encourages them to reproduce. But, recent research shows that…

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