Water emerges as ‘the new oil’ in $32.5 million sale of vast Permian Basin ranch

Water emerges as ‘the new oil’ in $32.5 million sale of vast Permian Basin ranch

Toby Darden stomped on the ATV’s gas pedal, carving through blustery winds to reach the far northern corner of his 37,000-acre West Texas ranch. He wanted to show off the crown jewel. This wasn’t the spectacular views of the Davis Mountains or the herds of aoudad rams with their distinctive curved horns. It was a big hole in the ground, the first cut at a well — not to bring oil up but water, the precious commodity of the Permian…

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Public meetings on eminent domain a good start

Public meetings on eminent domain a good start

AUSTIN — There is an information vacuum when it comes to private companies using eminent domain in Texas. Even though eminent domain is a governmental power that is supposed to be used only for the public good, private entities who use eminent domain have very few obligations to operate in the kind of transparent manner that citizens have come to expect from public projects. Transmission line companies must at least present a proposed route to the Public Utility Commission, which…

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Bill would bar new billboards from some Hays County roads

Bill would bar new billboards from some Hays County roads

Legislation filed in the Texas House would prohibit new billboards along segments of three Hays County highways. Local elected officials say billboards disrupt the scenic Hill Country views that attract tourists and homeowners alike in the fast-growing region. The bill, filed Feb. 1 by state Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, and supported by two Hays County-based environmental preservation groups, would ban new billboard construction within Hays County along RM 1826, RM 150 between Kyle and RM 12, and RM 967 between…

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Confluence Park Awarded Country’s Highest Architectural Honor

Confluence Park Awarded Country’s Highest Architectural Honor

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has recognized Confluence Park with a “2019 Institute Honor Award for Architecture”! The award is one of the highest honors in the architecture profession, celebrating the best contemporary architecture which highlights the many ways building and spaces can improve lives. AIA’s nine-member jury selected submissions that demonstrated design achievement, including a sense of place and purpose, ecology, environmental sustainability and history. Confluence Park was among nine projects honored ranging from an elementary school in Tacoma, Washington…

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State parks a boon to Texas economy according to new report

State parks a boon to Texas economy according to new report

Parks generated nearly $900 million in sales in 2018 AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation today released a new report about the strong and growing economic role state parks have on the Texas economy. The research showed the parks generated more than $891 million in sales activity, had a $240 million impact on the incomes of Texas residents, and supported an estimated 6,081 jobs throughout the state in 2018. The real power in this report is the impact…

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Flows of the Llano still strong

Flows of the Llano still strong

The Llano River continues to flow strongly past the gage in Llano; the latest reading is 442 cfs, well above the median flow of 157 cfs. Over the three months since last fall’s rains, the Llano has flowed at a 3-month average of 4,111 cfs, greater than the previous recorded 3-month average of 3,137 in late 2000. The next highest 3-month average i 2,591 cfs in 1992, then 2,315 cfs during the drought breaker in 1957. Average flow for the one-month period between September…

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State lawmakers aim to lock in funding for Texas parks, historic sites

State lawmakers aim to lock in funding for Texas parks, historic sites

For nearly a decade, the Texas parks department has hoped to turn a 4,400-acre swath of pristine forest in North Texas into what some hope could be the “metroplex’s playground.” About 80 miles west of downtown Fort Worth, the already-named Palo Pinto Mountains State Park — with a scenic ridge overlooking a lake and more-than-ample space for camping — promises to be a huge recreational draw. But the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has struggled to secure funding from the…

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Devils River SNA designated as first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas, sixth in world

Devils River SNA designated as first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas, sixth in world

DEL RIO– Devils River State Natural Area has been designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), making it the only Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas. As the sixth International Dark Sky Sanctuary to receive the title, Devils River SNA is recognized as a one of the darkest and most ecologically fragile sites in the world. “We cannot be more thrilled about Devils River SNA’s designation as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas,” says…

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Trinity Glen Rose District studies impacts of new pumping from the Trinity aquifer

Trinity Glen Rose District studies impacts of new pumping from the Trinity aquifer

Over the past year, the Trinity Glen Rose District (TGR) has been working with a groundwater modeling consultant to take a look at how some projected new pumping from the Trinity Aquifer, exempt from TGR regulations, might impact the water source over time. The District was alerted about a year ago that a new water supply company was planning to possibly withdraw approximately 17,000 acre feet of water (5.5 billion gallons) each year to supply water to developments north of…

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Central Texas pipeline reignites fight over land rights

Central Texas pipeline reignites fight over land rights

A fight over a pipeline is never only about the pipeline. It’s about the environment, property rights, public safety and a community’s sense of itself. Just such a fight is now brewing in the Texas Hill Country, where company Kinder Morgan plans to lay a part of its 430-mile natural gas Permian Highway Pipeline. The Houston-based company says the time is right for the project. An unprecedented drilling boom in West Texas means there’s more oil and gas coming out of the ground…

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