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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Do Landowners Have Right to Protest Proposed Water Project?

Do Landowners Have Right to Protest Proposed Water Project?

An interesting legal question has arisen in Bastrop County recently that could have impacts on groundwater law and landowner rights across Texas. Background: In 2013, Recharge Water (formerly End Op) applied for a permit from the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (GCD) to withdraw 56,000 acre-feet of water per year from the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Bastrop and Lee Counties.  The company planned to export the water for sale in Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties, although no…

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Vulcan faces fight over projects in Comal and Kendall counties

Vulcan faces fight over projects in Comal and Kendall counties

  • March 7, 2018
  • News

Constructing roads, homes and bridges requires rock and concrete, so it’s understandable that Vulcan Materials wants to set up shop in the fast-growing Hill Country, where rolling ranchlands are quickly being developed into new subdivisions. But Vulcan, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates, is facing stiff resistance to plans to establish a limestone quarry on Texas 46 here in Comal County and a concrete batch plant on the same road to the west in Kendall County. Vulcan isn’t the…

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City Council to Consider Outdoor Lighting Ordinance

City Council to Consider Outdoor Lighting Ordinance

  • March 7, 2018
  • News

The Blanco City Council soon will be asked to consider a complete revision of the city’s outdoor lighting ordinance. The revision, still in draft, will address perceived deficiencies in the city’s current ordinance that has been in effect since February 2006, when it was adopted as part of the Blanco’s Unified Development Code (UDC). “The proposed revision addresses many of the ambiguities of the current ordinance and will ensure that our local outdoor lighting will no longer shine upward to…

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