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New Book: Wanted! Mountain Cedars, Dead And Alive

New Book: Wanted! Mountain Cedars, Dead and Alive

Spicewood Publications is pleased to announce the release of Elizabeth McGreevy's book: Wanted! Mountain Cedars, Dead and Alive tells the story of Mountain Cedar trees that grow in the Texas Hill Country. Over the last 100 years, these trees have been characterized as non-native, water-hogging, grass-killing, toxic, useless species to justify their removal. The result has been a glut of Mountain Cedar tall tales and anti-cedar sentiments. Inside this ambitious, well-researched book, natural resources consultant and ecologist Elizabeth McGreevy presents another perspective of these trees,…

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Rain, Wind And Fire: What La Niña Means For Texas’ Winter Fire Season

Rain, wind and fire: What La Niña means for Texas’ winter fire season

Texas’ winter/spring wildfire season is about to begin. Fire experts predict it could be a particularly active season due in large part to the presence of La Niña this year. The weather pattern often brings drier, warmer weather, and strong winds: the perfect recipe for fire. “Mid-February through mid-April is the peak of winter/spring fire season,” said Brad Smith. Smith is the predictive services department head at Texas A&M Forest Service, a division of Texas A&M AgriLife. Read more from…

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Land Revival

Land Revival

When prospective landowners look for their slice of Hill Country, they may look for running water, mature trees, bluebonnets, a scenic vista, or a pristine canvas. Not Paula Stone. When Stone first set eyes on her property at the edge of Fredericksburg, her realtor would not even step into the house. “There was nothing inside,” she recalled, “but dead animals and rat droppings.” Read more from HCA’s own Daniel Oppenheimer from Rock and Vine Magazine here.

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Hill Country Conservancy Is Now Accepting Pre-applications For Financing Of Stewardship Projects Through The Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for financing of stewardship projects through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

The Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI), a program of Hill Country Conservancy, the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network and 18 partner organizations, is now accepting pre-applications from landowners located within specified critical river basins, for stewardship projects aimed at enhancing soil cover, water quality, and native biodiversity. The Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative is accepting pre-applications now through October 30, 2020. To be considered for financial assistance, landowners must take this first step in the application process by the…

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To Manage Wildfire, California Looks To What Tribes Have Known All Along

To manage wildfire, California looks to what tribes have known all along

Fire has always been part of California's landscape. But long before the vast blazes of recent years, Native American tribes held annual controlled burns that cleared out underbrush and encouraged new plant growth. Now, with wildfires raging across Northern California, joining other record-breaking fires from recent years, government officials say tackling the fire problem will mean bringing back "good fire," much like California's tribes once did. Read more Lauren Sommer with NPR here.

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NRCS Announces 2020 Sign-up Available For Partnership Led Conservation Program

NRCS announces 2020 sign-up available for partnership led conservation program

Producers should visit their local USDA service center before the first application pool closes on April 3, 2020, to apply for this opportunity. If funding permits, a second application pool will close May 15, 2020. If already a USDA client, a producer can submit applications online via Conservation Client Gateway. The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Three RCPP projects…

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‘When, Not If It Happens’: Factors Favor Possible Austin Megawildfire Event

‘When, not if it happens’: Factors favor possible Austin megawildfire event

All it will take for Central Texas to become the next area engulfed by catastrophic wildfires like those seen in Australia is a dry spring and summer, an errant flame and sustained winds. Travis County fire officials say the likelihood of such a megafire event is just a matter of time. A recent report released by CoreLogic, an online property data service, ranked Austin fifth among metropolitan areas in the nation most at risk for wildfires. The only others in…

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Is Central Texas Prepared For Another Major Wildfire?

Is Central Texas prepared for another major wildfire?

The deadly wildfires in Australia are bringing a lot of attention to fire dangers – even here at home. Right now, Central Texas is in a drought and the big question is: Are we prepared for a big wildfire? This area has seen big fires before, like the one in Bastrop County in 2011, which burned up almost all of Bastrop State Park and killed two people. More recently, there have been smaller ones, like the Manchaca fire in South…

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Efforts Encouraging Texas Ranchers To Restore Native Grasses Show Promise

Efforts encouraging Texas ranchers to restore native grasses show promise

There aren’t many pastures with native grasses left in Texas. Instead there are invasive weeds like bermudagrass and Old World bluestem. Some Texas landowners and nonprofits are working together to change that. Restoring native grasslands takes years and is an arduous process. But the payout is significant, because when native flora returns, fauna are often not far behind. For example, bobwhite quail are popular and profitable as hunting game. Once a native grassland is established, it requires less weed control…

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J. David Bamberger On Fifty Years Of Coaxing His Blanco County Ranch Back To Life

J. David Bamberger on fifty years of coaxing his Blanco county ranch back to life

On an overcast day in early February, J. David Bamberger charged down a trail at his ranch near Blanco, pointing out maples he’d planted more than a decade ago. The ninety-year-old land conservationist wanted to determine why the leaves of some of the trees turned orange last fall, while those on others became deep red or golden yellow. To collect the data he sought, he needed to clear the brush from around each maple. The former door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman…

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