Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Fifth-generation Texans, David and John Talbot of New Boston, in February 2020 sold one of the last examples of unplowed native prairie in northeast Texas to the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) for permanent preservation as the Talbot Brothers Prairie Preserve. The 366 acres in Bowie County also includes more than 200 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and wetlands. The Talbot family owned the property for more than 55 years. “The land stewardship and preservation of these unique prairie…

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Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Our natural world provides innumerable benefits to human health and economic prosperity. As wildlife and their habitats disappear, these benefits are compromised. Nationwide, experts have identified more than 12,000 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including over 1,300 here in Texas. The majority of these are at-risk fish and wildlife — like the Texas horned lizard, Pronghorn, and American bumblebee. Unfortunately, America lacks a dedicated funding stream to conserve vulnerable fish and wildlife. We are in danger of losing the ecological…

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Troubled waters: San Antonio weighs the cost of preserving its water supply

Troubled waters: San Antonio weighs the cost of preserving its water supply

Taxpayers have spent $260 million to protect the Edwards Aquifer. With the tax set to expire, officials can’t agree on how much more to spend. The Frio River snaked south through the hills of Uvalde County, its clear waters coursing over a bed of white, fractured limestone in the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. Then, unceremoniously, it disappeared. The river had flowed into — and underneath — Dripstone Ranch, nearly 2,000 acres of undeveloped ranchland named after a system of…

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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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Commentary: San Antonio should vote on aquifer protection, greenway trails

Commentary: San Antonio should vote on aquifer protection, greenway trails

Since 2000, San Antonians have voted every five years to dedicate a portion of our sales taxes to the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program, or EAPP. Residents are rightfully proud of a program recognized internationally as an elegant solution to protecting our primary source of water. Absent adequate regulation to protect the quality of San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer water supply, we have opted to pay those who own land in the Edwards watershed for the ecological services they provide. Perhaps we…

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Texas Comptroller’s Office Partners with the University of Houston – Clear Lake to Perform Western Chicken Turtle Surveys

Texas Comptroller’s Office Partners with the University of Houston – Clear Lake to Perform Western Chicken Turtle Surveys

The Texas Comptroller’s Natural Resources program has contracted with the University of Houston – Clear Lake (UHCL) to conduct range-wide surveys in East Texas for the western chicken turtle. The partnership will inform an upcoming Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decision for the species and develop information that local resource managers can use to sustain economic development while conserving natural resources. The historic range of the western chicken turtle includes wetlands across East Texas, a region that supports numerous industries…

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Record-breaking vote shows consensus and need for more Texas state parks

Record-breaking vote shows consensus and need for more Texas state parks

To my wife’s dismay, I was going to cook the Thanksgiving turkey over a campfire at Tyler State Park with the guidance of my son’s most recent Boy’s Life magazine. We have a big map of Texas on the wall of our family room. We’re on a mission to visit all 90 or so state parks, and about 30 push pins show the ones we’ve visited so far. At Monahans Sandhills State Park, we rode sleds down rolling dunes of…

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As aquifer protection debate continues, Nirenberg offers funding details

As aquifer protection debate continues, Nirenberg offers funding details

Mayor Ron Nirenberg plans to propose using future borrowing to help preserve land over the Edwards Aquifer while shifting the sales tax that currently funds that preservation over to San Antonio’s transit system. In an interview Thursday, Nirenberg laid out more specifics for his plan to continue funding the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program (EAPP). He proposed using an unspecified annual amount of San Antonio Water System funds, which could allow SAWS to pay for preserving more aquifer land over 10…

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San Marcos City Council weighs allocation of $24 million in disaster mitigation funding

San Marcos City Council weighs allocation of $24 million in disaster mitigation funding

City of San Marcos staff have developed a proposal for the use of $24,012,000 in Community Development Block Grant mitigation funding that the city received in 2019 to address flooding risks and prevention. Members of City Council received a presentation on the proposed plan during a City Council meeting Dec. 17. The drafted plan identified as potential categories for funding allocation: improving disaster sheltering, establishing and improving evacuation routes, land preservation, addressing repetitive loss, better warning systems, and increased numbers…

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Big money is building a new kind of National Park in the Great Plains

Big money is building a new kind of National Park in the Great Plains

A privately funded, nonprofit organization is creating a 3.2 million-acre wildlife sanctuary — American Prairie Reserve — in northeastern Montana, an area long known as cattle country. But the reserve is facing fierce opposition from many locals because to build it, the organization is slowly purchasing ranches from willing sellers, phasing out the cows and replacing them with wild bison. Those private properties are then stitched together with vast tracts of neighboring public lands to create one giant, rewilded prairie.…

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