Hill Country Alliance gathers concerned citizens

Hill Country Alliance gathers concerned citizens

A get-together introducing the resources of the Hill Country Alliance to concerned area citizens was led by the HCA’s executive director Katherine Romans who discussed Hill Country conservation issues included multiple presentations along with audience participation and questions. Future meetings are in the works. Speaking before an audience numbering dozens of area residents Thursday, Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance, offered her agency’s assistance along with cautionary reasons for guarding natural resources. Romans stated that between 2010…

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House bill opens tap for WCID3 despite opposition

House bill opens tap for WCID3 despite opposition

On May 22, HB 1806 was voted through by the Texas Senate, clearing the way for the San Antonio Water System to sell 1,500 acre feet of water across county lines from Bexar into Kendall. Despite vigorous and organized opposition by local leaders – including Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District chairman Milan J. Michalec, who protested the bill before committee members in Austin – HB1806 will reverse water management law established in 1993. After its passage, Michalec spoke strongly against…

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Hill Country landowners fight for land in proposed gas pipeline’s path

Hill Country landowners fight for land in proposed gas pipeline’s path

Hill Country landowners flooded a Travis County courtroom Tuesday hoping to thwart the construction of a natural gas pipeline they say poses safety risks and drives down the values of their multi-million dollar properties. Sitting shoulder to shoulder and wearing “Save the Water” stickers, dozens of landowners grumbled as lawyers for Houston-based Kinder Morgan, which plans to route the $2 billion Permian Highway Pipeline Project through their backyards, downplayed potential health hazards, or referenced the power they say the company…

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Reduce electricity waste with proper outdoor lighting

Reduce electricity waste with proper outdoor lighting

We all know the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. But keeping the night skies dark so we can continue to enjoy the stars requires some extra effort and mindfulness. Outdoor lighting has important applications, such as keeping our outdoor spaces safe and usable at night. But it can easily result in wasted energy that creates sky glow, dimming the starry night sky for everyone. This light, and the electricity used to create…

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Bat-killing fungus detected in 21 Texas counties and in Bracken Cave, north of San Antonio

Bat-killing fungus detected in 21 Texas counties and in Bracken Cave, north of San Antonio

A fungus that kills hibernating bats has spread and is now detected in 21 Texas counties, including Bexar, and Comal County’s Bracken Cave, which houses the world’s largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. That’s double what it was in previous years, said Jonah Evans, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department state mammalogist. The fungus causes what’s known as “white nose syndrome” and has been deadly for millions of bats in eastern parts of the U.S., where some species have been…

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Eminent domain reform died in the Texas Legislature this session

Eminent domain reform died in the Texas Legislature this session

Texas state lawmakers looking to reform the eminent domain process were unable to find common ground this session, despite hundreds of hours of negotiation. State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s Senate Bill 421 sought to better protect property owners when private companies condemn their land — a nod to landowners in Texas who’ve grown accustomed to encroaching oil and gas pipelines. The bill would’ve required public meetings between property owners and industry groups and instituted measures to prevent low-ball offers to property…

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The flight of the Texas fireflies

The flight of the Texas fireflies

In a state with more than its share of biting, stinging, and creeping and crawling insects and arachnids with little or no charm to any but their own species, fireflies (or lightning bugs as they are variously known here) have long enjoyed a special place in our hearts, that rarest of varmints—a charismatic insect. To those of us who grew up in suburbia or out in the country in recent decades (or those who grew up in big cities long…

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Landowners, pipeline company meet in court today

Landowners, pipeline company meet in court today

Attorneys for Hill Country landowners along with the city of Kyle and Hays County have prepared for a fight this morning with lawyers for Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline and the Texas Railroad Commission over the route of the proposed natural gas pipeline and whether the commission has lived up to its constitutional responsibility in overseeing Kinder Morgan’s exercise of its power of eminent domain. Kinder Morgan proposes to build the approximately 430-mile Permian Highway Pipeline through the Hill Country, between…

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How eminent domain is blighting farmers in path of gas pipeline

In July 2015, Neal Laferriere and his wife, Beth, purchased a home in Summers county, West Virginia. The first time they visited the property after purchasing it, they found stakes outlining what they would later find out to be the route for a gas pipeline. About two years later, representatives for the Mountain Valley pipeline approached the Laferriere family over the land rights to the property. “The land agent was saying if we don’t come to the table they would…

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100 years later, Medina Lake dam still a marvel

100 years later, Medina Lake dam still a marvel

The Medina Lake dam is a huge block of concrete, lodged in a canyon, which impounds a waterway flowing along the border of Bandera and Medina counties. But that description hardly does justice to the enduring edifice on the Medina River, say those behind Saturday’s celebration of the dam’s construction 100 years ago. They see the dam as an engineering marvel that provides water critical to surrounding farmland, safeguards downstream residents from flooding and spawned, among other developments, Lakehills, now…

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