What’s porous paving? All new lots in New Orleans must have in city’s fight with water woes

What’s porous paving? All new lots in New Orleans must have in city’s fight with water woes

New Orleans is a city often inundated by water and, just as often, a city frustrated in its attempts to deal with it. Now, joining a movement that supporters say will help mitigate flooding and soil subsidence, the City Council has decided that all new commercial parking surfaces in New Orleans must be porous. The rules unanimously approved by the council last week require businesses to use pervious paving — which lets rainwater flow through it, to be absorbed by the…

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State-funded studies help federal agency remove two mussels from endangered species candidate list

State-funded studies help federal agency remove two mussels from endangered species candidate list

  • September 5, 2019
  • News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has determined that two Texas mussels can be removed from the list of candidate species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The determinations were based mainly on research funded by the Texas Comptroller’s office and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Genetic studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and conservation maps made by Texas A&M University’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) showed that the smooth pimpleback and golden orb mussels actually…

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Moonlight helps white barn owls stun their prey

Moonlight helps white barn owls stun their prey

Barn owls are skilled nocturnal hunters, swooping across open landscapes to scout out small rodents that scurry below. But scientists have long been puzzled by a trait that seems like it would work against the birds during their nighttime prowls. Some barn owls boast a brilliant white plumage—an unusual feature for an animal that should, in theory, need to remain inconspicuous against the darkened sky. The bellies of Tyto alba, as the common barn owl is formally known, can range…

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In latest development, SOAH disagrees with citizen groups on proposed Vulcan Quarry

In latest development, SOAH disagrees with citizen groups on proposed Vulcan Quarry

External Article – Press Release from Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry State Office of Administrative Hearings administrative law judges Rebecca Smith and Victor Simonds rendered a long-awaited decision Tuesday morning in the contested case hearing against Vulcan Construction Materials. In June 2017, Vulcan submitted an air quality permit application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a rock crusher at its proposed 1500-acre open-pit limestone quarry between Bulverde and New Braunfels. In late 2018, over 100 individuals, groups, and…

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Underground lakes part of major new discoveries at Natural Bridge Caverns

Underground lakes part of major new discoveries at Natural Bridge Caverns

A 19-hour trip deep into the caves at Natural Bridge Caverns in July led to some major new discoveries, including underground lakes and massive rooms. Brad Wuest and Travis Wuest, who own and operate Natural Bridge Caverns, were joined by Bill Steele on their journey into the uncharted portions of the cave. Travertine Passage is one of the new areas the team discovered during their July trip. “I was descending deeper than anticipated into large, never before seen passage. I could…

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San Marcos River Foundation names new executive director

San Marcos River Foundation names new executive director

  • September 3, 2019
  • News

The San Marcos River Foundation announced its new executive director on Friday. Virginia Parker Condie was selected by the SMRF’s Board of Directors. The SMRF says Condie will provide the foundation with a wide range of experience and a deep passion for the San Marcos River. “(Condie) has already begun attending meetings with me to meet people, even though her first official day of work is not till September 1,” said Dianne Wassenich, the foundation’s outgoing executive director who worked…

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This land is your land: Local property owners in eminent domain battle

This land is your land: Local property owners in eminent domain battle

Few people know much about the issue of eminent domain when it comes to underground pipelines being laid out across the state of Texas. Even fewer people are fighting it. Several Erath County landowners say they are willing to defend their property right, and are willing to go as far as it takes to do so. The steel pipelines are being built not only to transport oil, but also for jet fuel, diesel, natural gas and even electrical lines. Ron…

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Citizens continue to fight Comal County quarry, push for statewide reforms

Citizens continue to fight Comal County quarry, push for statewide reforms

External Article – By Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry In the fall of 2018, hundreds of citizens and groups in Comal County continued the fight against Vulcan Construction Materials’ proposed 1500-acre limestone quarry, located over the Edwards Aquifer between New Braunfels and Bulverde—just north-east of San Antonio. These individuals and organizations, actively opposing the air quality permit application by Vulcan, obtained a contested case hearing from the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). At the preliminary hearing on March 6, 2019,…

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The butterfly effect: Native milkweed can save monarchs – if you know how to grow it

The butterfly effect: Native milkweed can save monarchs – if you know how to grow it

Barbara Keller-Willy remembers her reaction when fellow Texas gardeners told her that native milkweed, a plant essential for the survival of the monarch butterfly, was nearly impossible to grow: How hard could it be? It was 2009, and Keller-Willy had just quit her job as an engineering executive. She was spending her time volunteering for local nature and prairie restoration projects. Keller-Willy had been a corporate problem-solver for most of her professional career. Learning that milkweed was resistant to even…

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Watering limits loom as aquifer drops amid heat

Watering limits loom as aquifer drops amid heat

So far, the San Antonio area has escaped outdoor watering restrictions this summer, but that could change next month. In the past several weeks, the Edwards Aquifer has dropped sharply and is approaching the level that triggers the first stage of cutbacks. July and August have been extraordinarily hot and dry, like a “flash drought,” said Karen Guz, the San Antonio Water System’s conservation director. There’s been less than a half-inch of rain here since June 30. For the year,…

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