2020 Election recap: Florida county overwhelmingly supports granting legal rights to rivers

2020 Election recap: Florida county overwhelmingly supports granting legal rights to rivers

Residents of Orange County, Florida, voted overwhelmingly in favor of changing the county charter to give legal protection to rivers. The result was one of a handful across the country in which voters endorsed new protections for waterways or property taxes that will fund water projects. Voters in Utah and Wyoming also approved constitutional amendments that fix technical matters related to municipal water supply and water infrastructure spending. Read more from Brett Walton with Circle of Blue here.

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The power of the outdoors: Embracing cultura y familia with Latino Outdoors leaders Josie Gutierrez and Bianca Guevara

The power of the outdoors: Embracing cultura y familia with Latino Outdoors leaders Josie Gutierrez and Bianca Guevara

A conversation with Josie Gutierrez and Bianca Guevara will make you believe anything is possible—especially when the following are in play: 1) a passion for the outdoors, 2) a love of community, and 3) the hard work of dedicated volunteers. Both Gutierrez and Guevara are leaders in Latino Outdoors (LO) Texas, an organization that inspires, connects, and engages Latino communities in the outdoors and envisions a world where all Latino communities enjoy nature as a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place.…

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Can Texas stop its taps running dry?

Can Texas stop its taps running dry?

In many ways, the story of Texas over the last century is the state’s devout allegiance to the principle that mankind has dominion over nature. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down that idea in 2020. By 11 October, nearly 800,000 people had been infected in Texas and over 16,000 died. The sharp and irrepressible rise in virus cases and mortality adds to the intensifying view among Texans that far from living in a place distant from the vagaries of nature, Texas…

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Biodiversity study reveals promising ways to mitigate monarch population loss

Biodiversity study reveals promising ways to mitigate monarch population loss

San Marcos participated in a community-based biodiversity study that revealed where native pollinator habitats can be placed to best aid in the conservation of monarch butterflies, a species in crisis. The San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department is among the three participants of the September 2020 “Parks for Pollinators” Bioblitz randomly selected winners of the national competition. Read more from Lionel Ramos with The University Star here.

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Dripping Springs cannot discharge treated wastewater into Onion Creek tributary, Texas court rules

Dripping Springs cannot discharge treated wastewater into Onion Creek tributary, Texas court rules

The 459th Texas District Court has reversed a wastewater discharge permit issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) commissioners to the City of Dripping Springs. The discharge permit, which was issued on Feb. 27, 2019, allowed the City to begin expansion of its wastewater treatment plant and address the area’s growing wastewater needs. The KVUE Defenders reported on the situation in February 2019 when the permit was announced and again in June 2019 when attorneys with Save Our…

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SOS wins; Judge reverses permit that allowed Dripping Springs to discharge into Onion Creek

SOS wins; Judge reverses permit that allowed Dripping Springs to discharge into Onion Creek

Today, Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble struck down a state permit authorizing the City of Dripping Springs to discharge over 800,000 gallons per day of treated sewage into Onion Creek, a prestine water body that is a recharge source for Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer. The ruling was made in response to an appeal filed by the Save Our Springs Alliance. After the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved Dripping Springs’ requested permit, the SOS…

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New spring monitoring program assesses the health of the state’s aquifers

New spring monitoring program assesses the health of the state’s aquifers

Several aquifers across the state are experiencing historic levels of decline; we need to keep track of this so we can ensure that there’s enough water for future Texans. This year, we began a new initiative to monitor a network of springs across the state on an annual basis. In this program, staff will collect water quality samples and flow rate measurements from every spring to determine the amount of water flowing from the aquifer and to verify the source…

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Laurels Ranch

Laurels Ranch

David K. Langford loves the Texas Hill Country land that his family has cherished for five generations. His passion for the land has informed his career as a professional photographer, and he has been a tireless advocate for working lands conservation and private property rights his entire adult life. He was among a small group of private landowners who got their heads together in the 1980s to form the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) to raise the profile of private land…

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Imperiled Central Texas mussels bring conservation focus to the San Saba River

Imperiled Central Texas mussels bring conservation focus to the San Saba River

Miles down an easy-to-miss dirt road just outside San Saba, Texas, a group of university, non-profit, state and federal researchers has converged on a remote stretch of the San Saba River. A biologist walking along the bank points out empty freshwater mussel shells with quirky names – pimpleback, pistolgrip, papershell – casualties of stranding during a time when the water ran too low. Pointing just a few yards downstream, he indicates a spot where one of their populations washed away…

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TESPA Newsletter – Fall 2020

TESPA Newsletter – Fall 2020

In the many decades I have lived in Hays County, the reaction to the multiple threats we face involving our water, aquifers and natural resources is unprecedented. In the past few years, the Kinder Morgan Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP), the Electro Purification (EP), and Needmore groundwater pumping plans have generated immense concern and insecurity among the people who rely on this primary source of drinking water. TESPA is working and collaborating with area landowners, businesses, civic organizations, elected officials and…

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