A challenge awaits all of us

A challenge awaits all of us

Ernie Wittwer is a resident of New Braunfels. He is a volunteer for the Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA), believing that the wonderful natural features of the area should be preserved. He is retired after a career in public service. Those of us who live in Comal County face a challenge that will not disappear. How can we live with significant growth while maintaining the things that brought us to the county in the first place? The Comal County Conservation Alliance was formed to…

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Sink Creek Project Awarded U.S. Forest Service Grant

Sink Creek Project Awarded U.S. Forest Service Grant

The City of San Marcos will receive a $423,500 grant from the United States Forest Service to fund the land purchase of the Sink Creek Community Forest Tract. This is the first Community Forest and Open Space Program grant awarded to a project in Texas. The City purchased the 102-acre tract through a three-year lease with The Trust for Public Land in 2017 for a total purchase price of $1.27 million. City Council approved the lease-purchase agreement with the expectation…

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Letter to the Editor, Time to get past denial and start finding solutions

Letter to the Editor, Time to get past denial and start finding solutions

by Eva Silverfine Ott, Comal County Resident Letter to the Editor of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung June 27, 2019 I want to applaud Chris Lykins for his editorial, “The Climate Change Conspiracy” (Herald-Zeitung, 6-16-19). The effects of greenhouse gases (82% of which is carbon dioxide; U.S. EPA 2017) have long been known. As Mr. Lykins points out, how we address the problem is open for debate, but the fundamental science is not. Doubt has been sowed by an industry and…

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Texas parks are broke. But there’s good news: voters can rescue them.

Texas parks are broke. But there’s good news: voters can rescue them.

Money intended for state parks and historic sites should actually be spent on state parks and historic sites, right? It took lawmakers a little more than a quarter century to reach that conclusion. Since 1993, sales tax collected from the purchase of sporting goods and outdoor gear was supposed to fund Texas’s system of much-loved yet perpetually cash-strapped state parks and historic sites. Buy a kayak in Texas? In theory, you’re a park benefactor. Same for the purchase of baseball…

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The flight of the Texas fireflies

The flight of the Texas fireflies

In a state with more than its share of biting, stinging, and creeping and crawling insects and arachnids with little or no charm to any but their own species, fireflies (or lightning bugs as they are variously known here) have long enjoyed a special place in our hearts, that rarest of varmints—a charismatic insect. To those of us who grew up in suburbia or out in the country in recent decades (or those who grew up in big cities long…

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One man’s half-century project to heal a Hill Country landscape created a legacy reaching far beyond his fenceline

One man’s half-century project to heal a Hill Country landscape created a legacy reaching far beyond his fenceline

In 1969, a San Antonio fried-chicken tycoon was struck by a life-changing idea: He would find, buy, and heal “the sorriest piece of land in the Hill Country.” Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Bamberger Ranch Preserve sprawls across 5,500 acres of grassy hills and wildflower meadows in Blanco County. When visitors arrive May 5 for the annual family day and picnic, they will repeatedly drive across a perennial stream that cascades through a series of waterfalls and deep pools.…

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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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Landowners work to “heal” Sandy Creek after flood

Landowners work to “heal” Sandy Creek after flood

An effort to restore Sandy Creek has taken root in Llano County. About 25 landowners, conservationists and other volunteers attended the Sandy Creek Riparian Restoration Field Day March 2 on private property (County Road 316) adjacent to Sandy Creek to assess land and put so-called revegetation efforts into practice. “People like myself and other professionals, we really didn’t think about rivers. They were just part of the landscape,” said Steve Nelle, a Natural Resource Conservation Service retiree. “We didn’t know…

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Why native plants matter

Why native plants matter

Restoring native plant habitat is vital to preserving biodiversity. By creating a native plant garden, each patch of habitat becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals. Over the past century, urbanization has taken intact, ecologically productive land and fragmented and transformed it with lawns and exotic ornamental plants. The continental U.S. lost a staggering 150 million acres of habitat and farmland to urban sprawl, and that trend isn’t slowing.…

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‘Impressive’ wildflower season forecasted after rainy fall and winter

‘Impressive’ wildflower season forecasted after rainy fall and winter

Don’t mind the cold. Spring has sprung in Texas, with wildflower season getting an early pop this year following months of wet and dreary weather. The above average rainfall Texas got in the fall and winter months, coupled with unseasonably warm temperatures, will translate to a rather impressive wildflower season, said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centerin Austin. The state’s iconic bluebonnets were already seen sprouting in Austin as early as three weeks ago,…

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