Residents near Hamilton Pool up in arms about proposed RV park

Residents near Hamilton Pool up in arms about proposed RV park

The Travis County Commissioners Court spent all morning Tuesday discussing a proposed RV park on Stagecoach Ranch Road in Southwest Travis County, near Hamilton Pool. The court still hasn’t come to a decision on the matter and will take it up again at next week’s meeting. Just as they did for another RV park on Fitzhugh Road last month, county staffers proposed waiving certain platting requirements that are imposed on traditional subdivisions involving brick-and-stick homes. Staff members have taken the…

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Songwriters unite in support of Blanco’s night skies and BHS students learn how to preserve the night sky

Songwriters unite in support of Blanco’s night skies and BHS students learn how to preserve the night sky

Thirteen area songwriters gathered on Friday, November 22 in the basement of Liz on the Square in Blanco to perform original songs for the “Deep in the Dark of Texas ™” songwriting contest, sponsored by the Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky.   The more than 70 attendees were treated to a real “Blanco Happening” as the mostly local performers wowed the audience with song after original song extolling the virtues of the night sky or lamenting the light pollution…

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An unlikely environmentalist with an eye on the future

An unlikely environmentalist with an eye on the future

I’m an unlikely environmentalist. I spent most of my working life with a state transportation agency. I was an advocate for investments in safe efficient highways. Suffice it to say, I made few friends among those who worked for environmental groups. Ironically, I often agreed with their positions. I valued clean water and air and open natural spaces. What was frustrating is that they almost never offered any support for my view that safe and efficient highways saved lives and…

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How communities are joining the fight to keep Texas’ night skies big and bright

How communities are joining the fight to keep Texas’ night skies big and bright

In his time as a naturalist at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Scott Whitener loved taking kids on night hikes. Whitener had left his previous job teaching in Fredericksburg partly because he wanted to spend more time outside. On treks up the massive granite dome, he encouraged young people to overcome their nerves as they grew accustomed to the dark, their senses sharpening in the absence of artificial light. A group of high school students from San Antonio made a…

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Q&A+water: Katherine Romans

Q&A+water: Katherine Romans

Executive Director of the Hill Country Alliance In this issue’s Q&A, Texas+Water Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Todd Votteler, interviews Katherine Romans, Executive Director of the Hill Country Alliance, a regional nonprofit focused on protecting the water, land, communities and night skies of the Texas Hill Country. She has more than a decade of nonprofit and legislative experience in natural resource issues and holds a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Romans serves on the board…

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Pipeline opponents focus on ESA: Agencies put on notice to comply with law or be sued

Pipeline opponents focus on ESA: Agencies put on notice to comply with law or be sued

Opponents of Kinder Morgan’s routing of its Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) have put two federal agencies on notice – either comply with existing federal law or face legal action. In one of the latest challenges to the 435-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline, which is planned to cross the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer, the focus has turned to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Last month, the T.R.E.A.D. Coalition (Texas Real Estate Advocacy & Defense Coalition), along with the cities…

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Dark Skies meeting attracts Medina crowd

Dark Skies meeting attracts Medina crowd

Nearly 40 people filled the meeting room at the Medina Community Library on Tuesday, Oct. 29, to be enlightened about a program called Dark Skies which helps combat light pollution from cities and towns. “We had a great turnout at the Medina Dark Skies Night,” said Cliff Kaplan, program manager for the Hill Country Alliance which sponsored the event along with the Bandera Electric Cooperative and the Medina Astronomy Club. “It is very clear that folks in Medina care deeply…

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Hill Country Land Trust to celebrate two decades

Hill Country Land Trust to celebrate two decades

The Hill Country Land Trust wants to get the word out about its conservation easement program as development from the east encroaches on area counties. The trust (HCLT) will mark its 20th anniversary with a “Conservation Celebration” on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Gilbriar Gazebo. In those two decades, HCLT has worked in partnership with private landowners to protect agricultural land, waterways and wildlife habitat. Those attending the event will meet Tiffany Osburn, an archeologist with the Texas Historical Commission…

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Update: Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passes with almost 75% of the vote

Update: Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passes with almost 75% of the vote

Update: The Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passed unofficially with 74.78% of the vote, or 9,715 in favor to 3,276 opposed. Included on the ballot were all seven members of the newly elected board of directors: Juli Hennings, Jim Urie, Tricia Davis, James Dower, Tim Van Ackeren and Rick Scadden, board president. “It’s wonderful that 75% of the voters support confirmation of the SWTCGCD,” Scadden said in a text. “This represents the culmination of many years of hard work…

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Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Temple, Texas, October 1, 2019 — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is taking applications through November 15, 2019 for floodplain easements through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Floodplain Easement (EWPP-FPE). The program’s focus is to provide landowners with another option for frequently flooded properties such as agricultural fields, forested land, fallow land, pasture and in certain situations residential areas in cooperation with a qualified sponsor. Through the EWP-FPE program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent…

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