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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New tools for flood preparedness available for Medina River near Bandera, Texas

New tools for flood preparedness available for Medina River near Bandera, Texas

  • August 27, 2019
  • News

New tools for flood preparedness are now available for the Medina River near Bandera, Texas, from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District, and the Texas Water Development Board. Resources include two new USGS real-time streamflow gaging stations upstream from Bandera, a series of flood-inundation maps for a 23-mile stretch along the Medina River and online communication tools. Bandera County has experienced several severe floods, including devasting floods in 1978, 2002 and 2015. A need…

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Wimberley residents want to buy Mount Edith to protect it from developers

Wimberley residents want to buy Mount Edith to protect it from developers

Hill Country residents are worried developers will scar the area’s scenic hill tops, and one town has decided to do something about it. Mostly pickups, SUVS and bikers drive down the scenic main drag of the little town of Wimberley, about an hour’s drive from San Antonio. Councilwoman Christine Byrne said the city has a cool vibe. “Wimberley is kind of a small, rural community right outside of Austin,” she said. “Very artsy. We love our natural spaces. We are…

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Creatures of the deep karst

Creatures of the deep karst

Groundwater—the water that is stored beneath the Earth’s surface in soil and rock—makes up more than 95 percent of the Earth’s liquid fresh water. The subsurface aquatic realm is also the world’s largest freshwater habitat. Although organisms that live only in subterranean aquifers make up a relatively small fraction of the total number of freshwater species, they are an important component of biodiversity. They are poorly understood, however, because they are to a large extent inaccessible and are difficult or…

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The public should have a say before anyone cuts a pipeline through the Texas Hill Country

The public should have a say before anyone cuts a pipeline through the Texas Hill Country

A few weeks ago, construction on the Mopac Expressway near Slaughter Lane in Austin came to an abrupt halt when the workers encountered a larger than normal karst feature. Karst features are essentially holes in the limestone underneath our feet that channel water from the surface into our underground aquifers. They stopped because construction around karst features has to be done carefully to ensure both that surface water can reach the aquifer and that the water isn’t contaminated on its…

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Baby Boomers are leaving behind a trail of luxury ranches

Baby Boomers are leaving behind a trail of luxury ranches

Decades ago, a generation of America’s wealthiest, raised on television shows like “Howdy Doody” and “The Lone Ranger,” headed west with dreams of owning some of the country’s most prestigious ranches. Now, as those John Wayne- loving baby boomers age out of the lifestyle or die, they or their children are looking to sell those trophy properties. That generational changing of the guard has led to an oversupply of ultraluxury ranches on the market. Nowhere is the glut more apparent…

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Water wars pit rural and urban Texas against each other

Water wars pit rural and urban Texas against each other

You know you’re getting close to Harrold Witcher’s place when you pass the water tower in Carson, a community of 22 people in northeast Texas just south of the Oklahoma border. A mere 20 minutes from the Red River, this is a part of the state that’s predicated on precipitation. Folks here can count on Bois d’Arc Creek to flood several county roads at least once a year, and a chief source of recreation is fishing in one of several…

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Here’s how America uses its land

Here’s how America uses its land

There are many statistical measures that show how productive the U.S. is. Its economy is the largest in the world and grew at a rate of 4.1 percent last quarter, its fastest pace since 2014. The unemployment rate is near the lowest mark in a half century. What can be harder to decipher is how Americans use their land to create wealth. The 48 contiguous states alone are a 1.9 billion-acre jigsaw puzzle of cities, farms, forests and pastures that…

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