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City Reaches Milestone For Cave Site Restoration

City reaches milestone for cave site restoration

City staff members have completed a draft land management plan to protect the city’s natural resources at the William H. Russell Karst Preserve, the 191-acre Southwest Austin site previously known as the Blowing Sink Research Management Area. The natural features of the land, which was formerly used as a livestock ranch, have been subject to decades of abuse, posing a threat to the Edwards Aquifer as well as several vulnerable wildlife species. Serving as a formal agreement among Austin Water, the Parks…

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‘History Is Being Made’: Plans To Turn Former Boy Scout Property Into Public Park Along Blanco River In Hays County

‘History is being made’: Plans to turn former Boy Scout property into public park along Blanco River in Hays County

WIMBERLEY, Texas — More than 2,000 acres of land with Blanco River waterfront property has been closed off to the public for decades. The Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts owned the "El Rancho Cima" land for 60 years. But now, thanks to an opportunity for Hays County to purchase a piece of that land, 533 acres could be open to the public for hiking, biking and swimming. The land, off of FM 32 just outside Wimberley, includes more than a mile…

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Crude Oil Pipeline Averted Over Recharge Zone Points To Lack Of State Oversight

Crude oil pipeline averted over Recharge Zone points to lack of State oversight

The now-defunct plan by Houston-based Enterprise Products Company to build a crude oil pipeline from Midland County to Wilson County crossing the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone was a really bad idea. Enterprise is a midstream natural gas and crude oil pipeline company listed as 89 on the Fortune 500 list. An oil spill would have put the water supply for San Antonio and the region at risk, threatened endangered species, and violated a regional habitat management plan that took six years…

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Vote In November To Fund Our State Parks For Future Generations Of Texans

Vote in November to fund our state parks for future generations of Texans

Some of our families' best summer adventures over the years have been at Texas' state parks. And the numbers indicate that you and your family have probably enjoyed our parks and historic sites over the years, too: Nearly 10 million people visited state parks in 2017, up about 40 percent since 2012. Texas is growing quickly. More people are visiting the parks than ever before, and we couldn't be happier about it. However, this puts pressure on already-strained park infrastructure,…

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Precinct 3 Office Invites Residents To Public Meeting On El Rancho Cima Conservation Efforts

Precinct 3 office invites residents to public meeting on El Rancho Cima conservation efforts

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (Oct. 1, 2019) – The Hays County Precinct 3 Office will host a public meeting Wednesday, October 9, to discuss recent efforts to conserve portions of El Rancho Cima. The meeting will be held at the Wimberley Community Center, 14068 Ranch Road 12, at 6 p.m. El Rancho Cima, also known as the Boy Scout Ranch, is located 18 miles west of San Marcos on Ranch Road 32 along the Devil’s Backbone. The property includes…

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Reflections On Texas, The Outdoors And 40 Years Of Writing And Photography

Reflections on Texas, the outdoors and 40 years of writing and photography

Shannon Tompkins, who retires as September arrives and hunting seasons begin, has covered outdoor recreation and natural resources issues for four decades. September’s arrival marks a time of transition for Texas’ natural world and those whose hearts and actions are tied to the rhythms of land, water, sky and the life in, on and over it. This makes the month special for all Texans, but especially those of us who fish, hunt or otherwise spend time engaged with the natural…

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The Butterfly Effect: Native Milkweed Can Save Monarchs – If You Know How To Grow It

The butterfly effect: Native milkweed can save monarchs – if you know how to grow it

Barbara Keller-Willy remembers her reaction when fellow Texas gardeners told her that native milkweed, a plant essential for the survival of the monarch butterfly, was nearly impossible to grow: How hard could it be? It was 2009, and Keller-Willy had just quit her job as an engineering executive. She was spending her time volunteering for local nature and prairie restoration projects. Keller-Willy had been a corporate problem-solver for most of her professional career. Learning that milkweed was resistant to even…

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Wimberley Residents Want To Buy Mount Edith To Protect It From Developers

Wimberley residents want to buy Mount Edith to protect it from developers

Hill Country residents are worried developers will scar the area’s scenic hill tops, and one town has decided to do something about it. Mostly pickups, SUVS and bikers drive down the scenic main drag of the little town of Wimberley, about an hour’s drive from San Antonio. Councilwoman Christine Byrne said the city has a cool vibe. “Wimberley is kind of a small, rural community right outside of Austin,” she said. “Very artsy. We love our natural spaces. We are…

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Creatures of the deep karst

Groundwater—the water that is stored beneath the Earth’s surface in soil and rock—makes up more than 95 percent of the Earth’s liquid fresh water. The subsurface aquatic realm is also the world’s largest freshwater habitat. Although organisms that live only in subterranean aquifers make up a relatively small fraction of the total number of freshwater species, they are an important component of biodiversity. They are poorly understood, however, because they are to a large extent inaccessible and are difficult or…

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IN DEPTH: Hays County, Travis Audubon Demand Full, Public Environmental Review In Legal Challenge To Permian Highway Pipeline

IN DEPTH: Hays County, Travis Audubon demand full, public environmental review in legal challenge to Permian Highway Pipeline

Local opponents of the Permian Highway pipeline have taken a second major legal action to try to push the company developing the project into conducting a full and public environmental review. Hays County, Travis Audubon Society and several private plaintiffs filed a notice of intent July 17 to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Kinder Morgan. The challenge follows months of discussion among elected officials and residents over the impact that the…

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