Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Temple, Texas, October 1, 2019 — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is taking applications through November 15, 2019 for floodplain easements through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Floodplain Easement (EWPP-FPE). The program’s focus is to provide landowners with another option for frequently flooded properties such as agricultural fields, forested land, fallow land, pasture and in certain situations residential areas in cooperation with a qualified sponsor. Through the EWP-FPE program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent…

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Austin’s aging water pipes leaked 6 billion gallons in a year

Austin’s aging water pipes leaked 6 billion gallons in a year

Investigative Summary: KXAN investigated Austin’s water loss, enough to fill Lady Bird Lake twice, in 2015. Now, the city is losing more water through leaks and pipes, more than six billion gallons in 2018 alone. KXAN investigator Kevin Clark questioned Austin Water’s Director about the losses, while City Council’s new Water Oversight Committee also works to address the losses. Kristine Poland says she woke up one morning in late-September to find her street flooded. A 12-inch water line blew along…

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The long battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

The long battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

In 1975, Terese Hershey, one of the state’s most influential conservationists, purchased a 1,561-acre tract of land in Stonewall, Texas. For years, she protected the property from the encroachment of nearby development. She worked with The Hill Country Land Trust to establish a conservation easement and turned to Andrew Sansom, a former Texas Parks and Wildlife director, to manage the land with his wife, Nona. In the past eight years, the Sansoms have cleared more than 1,020 acres of cedar…

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Saving Part of the Former Boy Scout Ranch

Saving Part of the Former Boy Scout Ranch

An old saying tells us to invest in land because they aren’t making any more. That saying could be updated to say: Invest in undisturbed natural land because each day there is less of it! Unfortunately, the updated version is very true, which is why we need to take advantage of opportunities to protect such undisturbed natural land when they become available. Such an opportunity now exists in the former Boy Scout Ranch, El Rancho Cima. For more than sixty…

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Report reveals the challenges Austin faced during last year’s citywide water-boil order

Report reveals the challenges Austin faced during last year’s citywide water-boil order

Floodwaters shut down the Colorado River a year ago, bringing mud and silt to the treatment plants that supply Austin’s water. That aquatic sediment was too much for the plants to filter out efficiently. What followed will be remembered by anyone who lived here as “the week we all had to boil our water.” Earlier in October, the City of Austin released a 346-page report looking at the city response to the breakdown in drinking water quality. It offers recommendations for how…

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Travis County to vote to approve groundwater conservation district

Travis County to vote to approve groundwater conservation district

Many residents of Southwestern Travis County rely on Trinity Aquifer for their water supply, but due to overpumping and lack of regulation, the water supply is rapidly declining, said a representative from the Hill Country Alliance. Currently, eight groundwater conservation districts have been approved by the Texas Legislature and voters, and these distrcits currently manage Trinity Aquifer. During the Travis County General Election on Nov. 5, citizens will vote to decide whether to approve a ninth district in Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation…

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Landowners got one Hill Country oil pipeline moved. But can they do it again?

Landowners got one Hill Country oil pipeline moved. But can they do it again?

A month after news surfaced that a pipeline proposed by a Texas-based petroleum juggernaut would run across the Edwards Aquifer, the primary source of water for San Antonio and other cities, the company said it would shift the pipeline’s path. It was a difference of approximately 65 miles, and Hill Country residents opposing the project cheered the change—a major victory given that the oil and gas industry typically doesn’t kowtow to landowners’ concerns. So why the monumental move by Enterprise…

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ULI releases report for “Activating the San Marcos Riverfront”

ULI releases report for “Activating the San Marcos Riverfront”

The Urban Land Institute released a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) report regarding land use along the San Marcos River in August. The City of San Marcos, the Greater San Marcos Partnership and Texas State University partnered with the Austin District Council of Urban Land Institute in Fall 2018 to examine land use along the San Marcos River. According to the report, “the Technical Assistance Panel offers recommendations for ways to unlock economic potential by making the river more connected to…

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Buda OKs bond issuance for regional water project

Buda OKs bond issuance for regional water project

The Buda City Council unanimously approved the issuance of $4.37 million in revenue bonds as part of the city’s participation in a regional water supply contract with the Alliance Regional Water Authority (ARWA) at its regular meeting Oct. 15. The project will supply, beginning in 2023, water the city “sorely needs in the future as we continue to grow,” Mayor George Haehn said prior to the vote. Graham Moore, ARWA executive director, told council members prior to the vote that…

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San Marcos seeks input on use of $24 million in federal disaster mitigation funds

San Marcos seeks input on use of $24 million in federal disaster mitigation funds

The city of San Marcos is asking for public input on how to prioritize the $24,012,000 in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funding it received earlier this year. The online survey can be found here, and paper copies are also available at San Marcos Public Library and San Marcos Activity Center. The deadline to complete the survey is Oct. 31. This type of funding, per a city release, is specifically meant to go towards projects that will prevent or reduce…

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