Hays County Parks & Open Space Advisory Commission call for projects

Hays County Parks & Open Space Advisory Commission call for projects

The Hays County Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission (POSAC) is now accepting project ideas for parks, open space and natural areas from cities, nonprofit organizations, homeowner associations, and other groups or individuals who see specific needs for their communities and for the county as a whole.  In February 2020 the Hays County Commissioners Court recognized the need for additional public park lands and conservation spaces in Hays County and established the POSAC to provide a democratic, public process to…

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission awards $3.71 million in recreational trail grants to Texas communities

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission awards $3.71 million in recreational trail grants to Texas communities

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved $3.71 million dollars in grants to fund 22 motorized and non-motorized recreational trail-related projects across the state. The National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) funds recreational trail construction, renovation and acquisition. The grants are funded from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases for off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. Thirty percent of the total NRTF grants must be earmarked for motorized recreational trails, while another 30 percent must be spent on…

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SOS reaches agreement with Stratus Properties over new project, protecting land in the Barton Springs Zone

SOS reaches agreement with Stratus Properties over new project, protecting land in the Barton Springs Zone

Stratus Properties (“Stratus”) owns some of the largest areas of land within the Barton Springs Zone. They own land all throughout Southwest Austin, including the site of the notorious 4,000-acre Barton Creek PUD, which was the catalyst of the SOS movement 30 years ago, when more than 800 Austin residents rallied to protect Barton Springs from overdevelopment. Oftentimes, the inherent conflict between developer profits and our mission to protect the water quality of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer puts…

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Congress could put Americans back to work through conservation

Congress could put Americans back to work through conservation

Why post-COVID economic recovery efforts should include investments in our public lands, fish and wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation infrastructure Across the federal government, there are a suite of habitat restoration programs designed to benefit fish and wildlife and enhance the resiliency of our natural systems, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the National Fish Habitat Partnership, and the Forest Service Legacy Roads and Trails Program. These on-the-ground restoration programs infuse important resources into local communities, generate construction jobs,…

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The Trailist: 4-mile extension connects Mission Reach and Medina River trails

The Trailist: 4-mile extension connects Mission Reach and Medina River trails

Mile by painstaking mile, the City, Bexar County, and the San Antonio River Authority have made incremental progress on expanding concrete paths along local waterways, such as the San Antonio River and Leon and Salado creeks. However, the completion of 4.1 miles on the southern end of the Mission Reach trail is a good time to step back and look at the bigger picture. The City’s newest completed trail section joins the Mission Reach to the roughly 10-mile Medina River…

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Montana judge upholds ruling that canceled Keystone XL pipeline permit

Montana judge upholds ruling that canceled Keystone XL pipeline permit

A federal judge in Montana on Monday upheld his ruling last month that canceled an environmental permit for the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline and threatened other oil and natural gas pipeline projects with delays… Morris said that the Army Corps did not adequately consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on risks to endangered species and habitat when it renewed the permit in 2017. To allow the agency to continue authorizing new oil and gas pipeline construction “could…

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Fort Worth is moving forward to buy land despite the coronavirus budget crunch

Fort Worth is moving forward to buy land despite the coronavirus budget crunch

The city expects to close this month on a $610,000 deal to buy the 53-acre Broadcast Hill property adjacent to the Tandy Hill Natural Area in east Fort Worth. It is the first step in a broad plan to buy open space ahead of urban sprawl, with the goal of preserving the Texas landscape while helping to mitigate flooding. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the city’s robust growth consumed 2,800 acres of Texas prairie a year for housing divisions, strip malls…

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Our need for the outdoors: The role of nature during COVID-19

Our need for the outdoors: The role of nature during COVID-19

Research on the connection between human health and exposure to nature started to get a foothold in the early 1980s. The renowned biologist E. O. Wilson hypothesized that humans had an innate connection to nature. At the same time, Roger Ulrich, a professor of architecture at Texas A&M University, was looking at how surgery patients with a view of a natural scene out of their windows recovered compared to those with a brick wall outside. He found that patients with…

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Quarantined for the very first time

Quarantined for the very first time

Nearing the line of demarcation for achieving “octogenarian,” it has been a shock to the system to face the necessity of “quarantined.” Even as a youngster in a household of several children and on a city block populated by many more suffering from measles I remember being “one of the ones” able to go and come. With so many others, my spouse, Karen, and I have honored the urgent requests of our adult sons that we take all deliberate precautions and significantly modify our…

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Austin’s Tom Spencer: ‘It’s time to plant trees’

Austin’s Tom Spencer: ‘It’s time to plant trees’

“Austinites are the people I love,” Spencer said not long before the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. “But they feel terrible because of the times. It’s hard to see the future, but trees are a part of that future. It’s a good time to think about rebirth and to make plans. Everybody loves trees. It’s a time to plant trees.” A poet, photographer and journalist, Spencer is perhaps best known as the longtime host of “Central Texas Gardener”…

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