Lessons From Hurricane Harvey: Houston’s Struggle Is America’s Tale

Lessons From Hurricane Harvey: Houston’s Struggle Is America’s Tale

  • November 11, 2017
  • News

The mayhem that Hurricane Harvey unleashed on Houston didn’t only come from the sky. On the ground, it came sweeping in from the Katy Prairie some 30 miles west of downtown. Water drains naturally in this stretch of Texas, or at least it used to. At more than 600 square miles, Houston has grown to be as big as Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia combined, a giant spread of asphalt smothering many of the floodplains that once shuttled water from…

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San Marcos City Council Votes To Enter Lease-Purchase Agreement

San Marcos City Council Votes To Enter Lease-Purchase Agreement

The San Marcos City Council voted on Wednesday to enter a lease-purchase agreement with the Trust for Public Land to purchase 102 acres of undeveloped land. The property is located near Country Estates and is currently owned by Texas State University. The lease-purchase agreement will break up the $1,270,000 price tag into three payments. The city will make three payments of $423,333 to purchase the property. According to the agenda, the property is in an environmentally sensitive area; runoff from…

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Land office turns to private sector to develop water as new revenue stream

Revenues from the crude and natural gas found in the Delaware Basin are flowing into state coffers, benefiting the state’s general fund, transportation funding and the state’s public schools and universities, among others. Now, water is about to be added to the resource riches found in the Delaware that will benefit the state’s residents. The Texas General Land Office has signed a long-term agreement with Layne Christenson Co. to develop non-potable water resources owned by the office in Reeves and…

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Hundreds of dams in Texas could fail in worst-case flood

Hundreds of dams in Texas could fail in worst-case flood

  • November 10, 2017
  • News

The earthen dam on the outskirts of this Williamson County city certainly does not look flimsy. At 35 feet high and nearly a third of a mile long, it has done a reliable job of holding back floodwaters on Chandler Branch, a normally placid tributary of Brushy Creek, for more than 50 years. But in a worst-case flood, like what Hurricane Harvey unleashed on parts of Texas in August, or even a flood a bit more than half as severe,…

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Experiencing the Dark Skies of Texas

Experiencing the Dark Skies of Texas

  • November 10, 2017
  • News

The stars.  I think I share a common experience with many people who grew up in an urban or suburban environment. You manage to learn about Orion and his belt, the Big Dipper and its little companion, and of course the North Star. You have a chance to see them on occasion on a perfectly clear night or maybe you remember seeing them from the edge of town. Years and years go by and the stars never have an impact…

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National Parks Struggle With a Mounting Crisis: Too Many Visitors

National Parks Struggle With a Mounting Crisis: Too Many Visitors

  • November 9, 2017
  • News

The rocky shorelines, shifting deserts and winding canyons of the country’s 59 national parks have been hallmarks of American vacations for generations. But the number of park visitors has reached an unprecedented level, leaving many tourists frustrated and many environmentalists concerned about the toll of overcrowding. In 2016, the National Park Service tracked a record 331 million visits, and after a busy summer, the system is likely to surpass that number this year. In August alone, some 40 million people…

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Bandera Electric Cooperative helps customers choose dark sky friendly lighting

Bandera Electric Cooperative helps customers choose dark sky friendly lighting

  • November 9, 2017
  • News

By Patti Berkstresser |  Bandera Electric Cooperative and The Real County Night Skies team, part of Keep It Real-ly Beautiful, have taken a major step in the reduction of light pollution in our community.  BEC has installed three Dark Sky Compliant outdoor lighting choices on HWY 337 to assist customers with choosing dark sky friendly lights.  Signs have been installed on each of the three lights, designating the wattage and output.  The 50-Watt LED light, the best choice for Dark…

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Nirenberg: City Reviewing ‘Pandora’s Box’ of Impervious Cover Policies

Nirenberg: City Reviewing ‘Pandora’s Box’ of Impervious Cover Policies

  • November 6, 2017
  • News

The convergence of dialogue, data, and disaster have sparked a more serious look at regulations that impact water management and development in San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Monday. Revisions to the City’s impervious cover policies will likely add to the longstanding contention between developers and environmentalists. That fight is a political “Pandora’s box,” he added, but it’s time to stop ignoring the “seriousness of the situation.” Hurricane Harvey, which claimed 77 lives, helped expose that situation, the mayor said. New…

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Ahead of the curve

Hill Country stakeholders proactively create Upper Llano River Watershed Protection Plan. Composed of the North and South Llano rivers, the Upper Llano River is known as a Hill Country treasure. Its near-pristine flows provide a healthy ecosystem supporting a variety of aquatic communities and numerous recreational opportunities. To sustain the river’s pristine condition, local stakeholders partnered with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), soil and water conservation districts, groundwater conservation districts, Texas Tech University Llano River Field Station, Texas Water Resource…

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Reforestation Experts Help Restore a Wild Blanco River

Each week, Ina Alexatos drives throughout Wimberley in a Subaru Forester with the words Trees for the Blanco printed across the side. She visits riverside landowners one by one to consult them on letting their banks go wild. She then stakes orange flags to mark where a variety of trees — bald cypress, sycamore, pecan — will be planted by volunteers, private contractors or Texas Conservation Corps. Alexatos works as the reforestation coordinator on the Blanco River for Austin-based nonprofit…

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