Why native plants matter

Why native plants matter

Restoring native plant habitat is vital to preserving biodiversity. By creating a native plant garden, each patch of habitat becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals. Over the past century, urbanization has taken intact, ecologically productive land and fragmented and transformed it with lawns and exotic ornamental plants. The continental U.S. lost a staggering 150 million acres of habitat and farmland to urban sprawl, and that trend isn’t slowing.…

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Quarry hearing scheduled for Wednesday

Quarry hearing scheduled for Wednesday

Property owners and other stakeholders trying to keep Vulcan Construction Materials from developing a 1,500-acre open-pit limestone quarry at FM 3009 and SH-46 are expected to pack Comal County Commissioners Courtroom 9 a.m. Wednesday for a preliminary administrative hearing to determine who has the legal right to challenge the air-quality permit Vulcan needs to proceed. The purpose of the State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH) preliminary hearing is to to finalize issues, determine so-called “affected-party” status and set a timeline…

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GOP senator, oil industry clash over proposed eminent domain reforms

GOP senator, oil industry clash over proposed eminent domain reforms

At a public hearing on Monday, state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst — who has long tried to strengthen protections for landowners facing condemnation — challenged officials from fossil fuel groups who said her latest legislation would drag down energy production. For years now, Texas Sen. Lois Kolkhorst has aimed to strengthen protections for Texans whose property may be seized by the governmental or private companies building roads, oil pipelines and other projects considered to be for the public good. The first…

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TCEQ OKs Dripping Springs discharge permit

TCEQ OKs Dripping Springs discharge permit

  • March 5, 2019
  • News

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a wastewater discharge permit to Dripping Springs on Wednesday, giving the city authority to expand its existing wastewater plant and discharge up to 822,500 gallons of effluent per day into Onion Creek. However, Dripping Springs has committed to beneficial reuse of the effluent in an effort to avoid polluting the aquifer, as Barton Springs environmentalists have long feared might happen. Area landowners, the Save Barton Creek Association, a Hays County group called Protect…

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Hays County Commissioners Court unanimously votes to oppose Permian Highway Pipeline

Hays County Commissioners Court unanimously votes to oppose Permian Highway Pipeline

Kinder Morgan is moving full-speed ahead with its plan to route a 430-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline through the center of Hays County—but local governments are making their opposition to the project known. Hays County Commissioners Court voted unanimously at its Feb. 26 meeting to oppose the Permian Highway Pipeline “on behalf of the interests of the citizens of Hays County and in recognition of the potential harm the [Permian Highway Pipeline] poses to its natural and economic resources.” The…

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Conservation easement program preserves ranches for local water quality and nature benefits

Conservation easement program preserves ranches for local water quality and nature benefits

Gary Puryear said he did not know much about nature conservation when he inherited his father’s 423-acre ranch near Hamilton Pool Road in Western Travis County. Members of his family had owned and lived on the working ranch since 1880, and Puryear said the emotion of losing his father made it difficult to decide whether to keep the land or sell it to a developer. However, when he learned of the vast environmental benefits maintaining the land would bring to…

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Tempers flare at pipeline meetings

Tempers flare at pipeline meetings

At two meetings last week about the proposed Kinder Morgan 42-inch natural gas pipeline project, landowners expressed displeasure with the routing of the giant project through land that, in some cases, stretches back generations. A landowner meeting was held Tuesday, Feb. 19 at the Gillespie County Farm Bureau Events Hall. A company meeting, done at request of the city of Fredericksburg, was held Thursday at the Gillespie County Fair Grounds. “My issue is that, one, unless you’re a steward of…

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