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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Texas on pace for worst wildfire year since 2011

Texas on pace for worst wildfire year since 2011

Last week, nearly 100 firefighters from across Texas loaded up and headed west to join thousands of colleagues in an extended battle against massive wildfires burning across Northern California, one of which has become the largest in that state’s history. While the fires raging in California have garnered national attention and help from fire departments across the country, Texas faces its own particularly severe year for wildfires. Texas is on pace to see the highest number of wildfires in the…

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Ecologist challenges the myths about Cedar, Texas’ most hated tree

Ecologist challenges the myths about Cedar, Texas’ most hated tree

Every year, cedar fever descends on Central Texas, and with it comes a deep-seated, Texas-sized hate for the mountain cedar. “Cedar fever is not just any allergy,” wrote Patricia Sharpe in a 1986 issue of Texas Monthly. “It’s a scourge, a plague that smites the just and the unjust who have the misfortune to live anywhere in a broad strip of Central Texas that stretches from the Red River to the Rio Grande.” But red eyes and a scratchy throat…

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The Hill Country Land Trust video: Managing Cedar

The Hill Country Land Trust video: Managing Cedar

The Hill Country Land Trust has released their second video in a series of videos on land management topics. This video takes a look at how best to utilize and control Ashe Juniper (Cedar trees). Many landowners are concerned about juniper’s ability to overwhelm their property, but instead of clear-cutting and total elimination, viewers are invited to consider a different approach to managing this plant. Learn More: Download a pdf of more detailed guidelines – Managing Ash Juniper.pdf View a…

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