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Rebecca Creek Salamanders Could Warrant Federal Protection

Rebecca Creek salamanders could warrant Federal protection

Lizard-like amphibians with elongated bodies and tails, short limbs and external gills are the focus of scientists keeping tabs on groundwater health in Rebecca Creek. In April, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) staff headed out to the area with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) scientists to collect salamanders to help determine what species are present and whether they warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Read more from Stephanie Johnson with My…

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Q&a+water: Suzanne Scott

q&a+water: Suzanne Scott

In this issue’s Q&A, Texas+Water Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Todd Votteler, interviews Suzanne Scott, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas. As State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Texas, Scott establishes conservation strategy and public policy leadership to protect the state’s cherished landscapes and support ecology, economy, public health, and equity. Working closely with a talented and diverse staff, she oversees the execution of landscape-scale conservation efforts, freshwater protection initiatives, and critical marine protection measures in the Gulf of Mexico,…

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Update: Wild Pigs Negatively Impact Ground-nesting Birds

Update: Wild pigs negatively impact ground-nesting birds

Wild pigs are an invasive species that can cause damages to private land, water quality and other wildlife populations. For ground-nesting birds, wild pigs pose a real threat to nest success and population numbers. Recent research documented that wild pigs readily consume eggs and depredate both wild and simulated nests. For the Rio Grande turkey (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia), Eastern turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and declining waterfowl species, nest destruction by wild pigs may lead to decreased…

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Lege+water: April 2021 Update

lege+water: April 2021 Update

Every month during the 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, Dr. Todd Votteler and Dr. Robert Mace provide an update on water-related legislation. The key water committees are Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs in the Senate, chaired by Senator Charles Perry (R) of Lubbock, and Natural Resources in the House of Representatives, chaired by Representative Tracy King (D) of Uvalde. The Senate Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs Committee is still meeting weekly on Monday mornings at 8 a.m., while…

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Developer Promises ‘responsible’ Approach

Developer promises ‘responsible’ approach

A Dallas entrepreneur says he plans to build what he’s calling an environmentally friendly development on 1,400 acres in the Texas Hill Country, with an aim toward preserving much of the land for future generations. The development, called Mirasol Springs, is being proposed by Dallas billionaire Steve Winn. It is planned for land along Hamilton Pool Road, where it meets the Pedernales River. The property straddles Travis and Hays counties. Read more from Shonda Novak with Austin American-Statesman here. 

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Rebecca Springs, Salamander Surveys, And WHY They Matter

Rebecca Springs, salamander surveys, and WHY they matter

Salamanders are sensitive critters. With external gills and limited habitats, they are good indicators of groundwater health. They rely on clean, clear, flowing springs to maintain healthy populations. Low water levels in aquifers lead to less spring flow and less dissolved oxygen in the water. Pollution and contaminants from surface water runoff can drastically alter water quality. Hill Country residents rely heavily on groundwater, and the status of salamander populations can tell us how well we’re balancing resource protection and development.…

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Easing Into Watershed Protection With Taxes And Bonds Featuring Lon Shell, Frank Davis, And Phillip Covington

Easing into watershed protection with taxes and bonds featuring Lon Shell, Frank Davis, and Phillip Covington

Episode Notes  In this episode, Leslie Bobby of Southern Regional Extension Forestry talks to Frank Davis and Commissioner Lon Shell, important water management players in Texas's Hill Country region, an area marked by considerable growth and development in recent years. They discuss how communities around San Antonio are using taxes and those around Austin are using bonds to ensure they have clean water for generations to come. About the Podcast How the River Flows highlights how our region’s communities are…

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Advocates Push For Bill Designed To Let Counties Manage Development To Protect Water Sources

Advocates push for bill designed to let counties manage development to protect water sources

A bill in the Texas legislature that would give county governments more authority to protect water sources in the Hill Country has not made it past the committee hurdle.  House Bill 3883, authored by State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, failed to secure enough votes to pass the Land & Resource Management Committee which voted 5-4 against the bill.  Read more from the new Braunfels Herald-Zeitung here. 

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Texas House Backs Green Solutions To Water Problems

Texas House backs green solutions to water problems

Water Board will invest $4.5 million a year for nature-based infrastructure The Texas House gave final approval today to legislation to fund rain gardens, green roofs, constructed wetlands and other “nature-based” strategies for reducing water pollution, flooding and impacts of drought. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has pledged to dedicate up to $4.5 million per year for the new Water Resource Protection Program. “This is a step forward to keeping our waterways safe for swimming, playing, and drinking” said…

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With Texas Back In Drought, Watering Cutbacks Resume In San Antonio

With Texas back in drought, watering cutbacks resume in San Antonio

Only two months ago, Texas residents were still watching snow melt from a historic winter freeze. But with little moisture over the past several weeks, drought conditions are now spreading across the state. For the first time since 2018, San Antonio officials on Tuesday declared Stage 2 drought restrictions that only allow watering outdoors once per week between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. San Antonio has received only 3.15 inches of rain so far…

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