Comal County needs to borrow tools from Hays

Comal County needs to borrow tools from Hays

I want to thank Craig Massouh for the article published on August 21 about the work being done to protect our environmental resources in Comal County. Cliff Kaplan, the operations manager for the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) pointed out that “Hays County just agreed to put on the Nov. 3 election a $75-$80 million item to address the need for 16 parks throughout its county, including six in San Marcos and one in Kyle.” The article concluded by explaining what…

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Healthy Creeks Initiative underway

Healthy Creeks Initiative underway

Contractors will soon begin the annual control efforts to manage Arundo along the Pedernales River and several tributary creeks. Arundo, also referred to as Giant Reed or Carrizo Cane, is a non-native, invasive plant that can take over creeks and rivers. Since 2016, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), Hill Country Alliance (HCA), City of Fredericksburg, and other organizations have partnered with participating landowners through the Healthy Creeks Initiative to control Arundo and enhance the creek-side (or riparian) habitat…

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Preserving the view of the Night Stars in the Texas Hill Country

Preserving the view of the Night Stars in the Texas Hill Country

Can you see stars at night where you live? Or, do you live in an area where the streetlights and other light sources obscure the night stars? The Hill Country Alliance is working to protect and preserve our view of the night skies in the wonderful Texas Hill Country. Our guest on Shades of Green is Cliff Kaplan, the Night Sky and Community Program Manager at the Hill Country Alliance. He shares the details of the program and provides pro-active…

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The stars at night are big and bright

The stars at night are big and bright

The stars may be big and bright deep in the Heart of Texas, but they’re only visible when there are sky is dark. Whether you’re in Texas or anywhere else in the world, light pollution continues to distort our ability to enjoy the night sky, and it wreaks havoc on the natural world. We talk with Cliff Kaplan with the Hill Country Alliance and Chloe Crumley with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) to learn about the importance of dark…

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Bill Neiman: A sculptor of seeds and soil

Bill Neiman: A sculptor of seeds and soil

A sculptor molds, carves, shapes, and ultimately creates. They may work in different media and are adept with their tools. In addition to shapes, lines, and colors, some incorporate motion —an interrelationship of objects. Bill Neiman is a sculptor. For more than four decades, his medium has been plants and Texas soil. In 1974, at age 19, he started his own landscaping company with a borrowed shovel, rake, and lawn mower. Today, Neiman’s family and a dedicated team run Native American…

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Conservation is essential to Texas’ future, and it’s time to get serious

Conservation is essential to Texas’ future, and it’s time to get serious

As we head into another hot Texas summer and ponder future summers in a warming climate, the imperative to sustain adequate water availability for our communities and support fish and wildlife habitat continues to grow. The just-released 2020 Water Conservation Scorecard addresses this concern head-on by offering an in-depth look at how effectively Texas water utilities are saving water. Since the release of the initial Scorecard in 2016, utilities have made some advances, but these new scores highlight that the…

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The Hill Country Alliance is preserving our beautiful land in Central Texas

The Hill Country Alliance is preserving our beautiful land in Central Texas

The non-profit environmental organization, The Hill Country Alliance plays a vital role in preserving the beauty of the hill country of Texas. Their mission is: “The mission of the Hill Country Alliance is to bring together an ever-expanding alliance of groups throughout a multi- county region of Central Texas with the long-term objective of preserving open spaces, water supply, water quality and the unique character of the Texas Hill Country.” Our guest on Shades of Green is Daniel Oppenheimer, Land…

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Catch some falling stars with Comal County Friends of the Night Sky

Catch some falling stars with Comal County Friends of the Night Sky

With Comal County in the crosshairs of rapid growth along the I-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio, Wells and other Canyon Lake residents have joined forces with a grassroots movement sweeping Central Texas whose goal is stopping “light pollution” before it erases stars from the night sky… With the help of HCA, Comal County’s night skies movement kicked off in December 2018 after Commissioners Court passed a Night Sky resolution encouraging residents, businesses and developers to start paying attention…

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Group to keep eye on the sky

Group to keep eye on the sky

A week after the county adopted a resolution to protect the night skies, a local group is forming with the intent of educating residents about how they can help protect one of the Hill Country’s greatest assets — a starlit night sky. Cliff Kaplan, program manager with the Hill Country Alliance, said 14 counties have adopted resolutions similar to that of Kendall County. However, because of state legislation, it’s often difficult for cities and counties to regulate lighting. Instead it’s…

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County resolution supports efforts to preserve darkness

County resolution supports efforts to preserve darkness

The stars at night are big and bright — and disappearing from view deep in the heart of Texas. That was the consensus of a standing-room-only audience this week as the Kendall County Commissioners Court heard comments from concerned citizens in support of a resolution supporting efforts to preserve the night skies. Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Durden introduced the resolution, and the court voted in favor of its adoption. “Sometimes we don’t miss things until they’re gone, and then they’re…

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