US national park rangers look to the stars with skywatching training program

US national park rangers look to the stars with skywatching training program

  • March 22, 2018
  • News

The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) has partnered with the McDonald Observatoryto create training programs for park rangers and improve skywatching events. The observatory, which is run by the University of Texas at Austin, will offer two workshops for national park rangers. One of the workshops will be offered in the spring at McDonald Observatory, while the second will be offered on-site at a U.S. national park, according to a statement from the observatory.  “We are extremely pleased to join forces with the McDonald Observatory…

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Comal County resolution on quarry decried as too little, too late

Comal County resolution on quarry decried as too little, too late

  • March 22, 2018
  • News

Comal County commissioners’ adoption Thursday of a resolution expressing concerns about a rock quarry proposed by Vulcan Materials west of town was decried as too little, too late by opponents of the project. The measure calls on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to use its authority to protect the environment and residents’ health, safety and welfare in assessing Vulcan’s request for a state permit and to review the quarry’s potential effects on air and water resources. The resolution also…

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San Antonio Uses Water To Influence How Kendall County Land Is Developed

San Antonio Uses Water To Influence How Kendall County Land Is Developed

  • March 19, 2018
  • News

Behind the white metal gates on Corley Road south of Boerne lie 375 acres of gentle pastures, Texas live oaks, and an old ranch house visible from the fence line. In the near future, this ranch could look a lot more like a suburban neighborhood less than a mile away, just one of many new housing developments in the fast-growing town on the southern edge of the Hill Country. What will distinguish the so-called Boerne West project is that it will be…

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San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program: Overview and Analysis

San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program: Overview and Analysis

“The City of San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program utilizes land and conservation easement acquisitions to protect the quality and quantity of Edwards Aquifer recharge. Overall, the analysis concludes that the program has been well adapted to the city’s need to protect the recharge and contributing zones beyond its regulatory jurisdiction. As such, it may serve as a significant model for other cities, particularly in Texas, where regulations may face legal and cultural resistance.” Read more from Francine Sanders Romero and…

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Major Texas industrial facilities rank first nationally in illegal water pollution

Major Texas industrial facilities rank first nationally in illegal water pollution

  • March 15, 2018
  • News

About half of Texas’ major industrial facilities released illegal levels of pollution into rivers, lakes and other waterways over a 21-month period ending September 2017, according to a new report by Environment Texas and California-based think tank Frontier Group. Analyzing self-reported industry data compiled by the federal government, the study found that about 40 percent of the nation’s 2,772 major industrial facilities released pollution that exceeded maximums set in their federal clean water permits from January 2016 to September 2017 and…

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Pioneers Taking on “Dark Sky” Project

Pioneers Taking on “Dark Sky” Project

  • March 15, 2018
  • News

In Mason, the students of the Pioneers Youth Leadership program have taken on Dark Sky Preservation as a focus for sharpening their leadership skills in their community. Working with their teacher Megan Bierschwale, Hill Country Alliance (HCA) Night Sky Program Manager Cliff Kaplan, and HCA Night Sky volunteer and Texas Master Naturalist Bridget Langdale, these students will write newspaper articles, give public presentations, host public star parties, improve the outdoor lighting at their school, and help business owners similarly improve…

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HCA’s 12th annual photo contest has begun

HCA’s 12th annual photo contest has begun

  • March 13, 2018
  • News

The Texas Hill Country is a unique region of scenic beauty, diverse wildlife, star-filled skies, and historic towns. With a rapidly growing population and increasing development coming to the region, many of these special qualities are at risk of being lost forever. For their 12th annual photography contest, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) asks photographers to take out their cameras and capture what is unique and special about the Texas Hill Country that they would like to conserve. “We are…

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Boy Scouts selling historic El Rancho Cima

Boy Scouts selling historic El Rancho Cima

  • March 13, 2018
  • News

You wouldn’t know it looking at the serene landscape now, but the 2015 Memorial Day weekend flood that devastated Wimberley also dealt a deathblow to the nearby historic Boy Scout camp, El Rancho Cima. Sweeping away entire structures along the banks of the Blanco River, the flood obliterated a camp that has been owned and operated by the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America since 1954. To recoup its losses, the council placed El Rancho Cima…

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Valley’s first Night Sky Friendly businesses awarded

Valley’s first Night Sky Friendly businesses awarded

  • March 9, 2018
  • News

The Wimberley Valley’s first ever Night Sky Friendly Business Awards have been presented to Byron Eckols – State Farm and to the Leaning Pear Restaurant. The awards are sponsored by the Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce, endorsed by the Hill Country Alliance and supported by the Wimberley Valley Dark Sky Committee (WVDSC). They will be presented to companies where the night lighting protects the integrity of our valley’s night sky, and meets the standards of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).…

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Council firestorm erupts over SAWS appointee

Council firestorm erupts over SAWS appointee

  • March 8, 2018
  • News

All three of Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s nominees to the San Antonio Water System board of trustees were approved recently by the City Council after a heated exchange over the appointment of water law expert Amy Hardberger. Councilman Greg Brockhouse grilled Hardberger, the daughter of former Mayor Phil Hardberger, on her ability to represent the city’s southwest quadrant and maintain objectivity on issues related to development. He, in turn, drew fire from Councilwomen Shirley Gonzales and Ana Sandoval. Gonzales chastised Brockhouse…

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