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Zoning And “Bigness”

Zoning and “Bigness”

Back in April, Daniel Herriges at Strong Towns wrote an excellent article called “Pretextual Planning is Absolutely Everywhere.” What does that mean? Essentially, the article is about zoning rules that are written into the code not because the requirement itself is considered important, but because it’s seen as increasing the bargaining power of the municipality vis-à-vis the developer.   Read more from Addison Del Mastro with Strong Towns here.

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EPA Recognizes Austin Water For Efforts To Restore Ecosystems

EPA recognizes Austin Water for efforts to restore ecosystems

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Austin Water in this year’s Outstanding Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development Competition. Austin Water’s Wildlands Conservation Division received First Place in the People’s Choice Category for a project that manages stormwater runoff in sensitive habitat areas in its Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. This work connects forest fragments, restores diverse native flora and fauna, and recharges karst features on critical conservation lands.   Read more in the press release from the City of…

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Boerne Mayor Bracing For Impact Of Approaching San Antonio Sprawl

Boerne mayor bracing for impact of approaching San Antonio sprawl

That continued explosive development northwest of San Antonio comes at a cost. And Boerne, a quaint town grappling with its own growing pains, could pay a steep price. “Candidly, most of the growth that’s going on is outside of the city limits of Boerne. There are no rules for what that looks like,” Boerne Mayor Tim Handren said. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like. That’s the bad thing."   Read more from the San Antonio Business Journal…

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Feral Pigs Release 1.1 Million Cars-worth Of Planet-warming Carbon Dioxide Every Year

Feral pigs release 1.1 million cars-worth of planet-warming carbon dioxide every year

As Twitter user Willie McNabb tried to warn in 2019, the threat of feral hogs is real—whether their numbers range from 30 to 50 in the backyard or millions across America. The pigs have damaged virtually every ecosystem they have invaded, often with the help of European colonizers who once ferried them around the world as livestock. These rewilded swine cost the United States an estimated $1.5 billion annually, with their indiscriminate, nearly insatiable appetites matched only by their apparent…

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Solarization On The Water Quality Protection Lands And How You Can Do This At Home

Solarization on the Water Quality Protection Lands and how you can do this at home

On the Water Quality Protection Lands, we’ve been experimenting with soil solarization to control invasive grasses in summer (June-August). This process uses solar radiation to heat the roots and seed of herbaceous plants to such high temperatures that they are no longer able to grow and spread. If you have ever pulled weeds in your yard, only to find that they continue to grow and spread from seed or roots left behind, you may want to try this method at home.…

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Colorado River Forecasts Not A ‘crystal Ball’

Colorado River forecasts not a ‘crystal ball’

Every month the Bureau of Reclamation attempts to peer two years into the future of the Colorado River and its reservoirs. Reclamation’s 24-month study is a staple forecasting product for the federal agency that manages a chain of dams in the watershed, including those that control lakes Mead and Powell, the country’s largest reservoirs — and currently two of its most consequential. The reservoirs are a key source of drinking water for about 40 million people, plus they store water…

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Members In The Wild: Loving The Llano

Members in the Wild: Loving the Llano

As a professional fly fishing guide, I’ve spent the last decade getting to know the rivers of Texas on an intimate level. It has become my life passion to explore these waterways but also share their wonders with others through angling and paddling. Seeing the look on someone’s face as they catch their first Guadalupe bass on a beautiful stretch of river is just as exciting for me as it is for them. Nothing tops wild fish in wild places,…

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Water Supply Contract Could Derail Dreams Of A Park At Honey Creek

Water supply contract could derail dreams of a park at Honey Creek

When Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioners gave their approval to turn a ranch upstream of Honey Creek into a public park rather than a controversial subdivision, opponents of the development rejoiced. But this week, many were learning more about a looming issue that could kill the park proposal in its early stages. David Holmes, a representative of landowners Ronnie and Terry Urbanczyk, met with neighbors and local officials Monday to detail how an existing contract to supply water for the…

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Scientists Seek Ways To Help Nature Safeguard Aquifer Amid Development

Scientists seek ways to help nature safeguard aquifer amid development

On a four-wheeler at the edge of the Hill Country, geologist Mark Hamilton rolls and bumps across a 151-acre property at the Edwards Aquifer Conservancy Field Research Park. He pulls up to the end of a steep hill and points out a sunken, marshy spot along the bottom. With several recently planted trees and bushes of native plants nearby, the spot is among many that Hamilton and his team have resculpted by hand.   Read more from Elena Bruess with…

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The State Of Texas Water Infrastructure

The state of Texas water infrastructure

Earlier this month, during a special session of the Texas Legislature, the Texas Capitol flooded. After the water stopped cascading down the pink granite walls inside the Capitol extension, the Legislature resumed its deliberations. The August flood was preceded by February’s Winter Storm Uri. Between 200 and 700 Texans died in the cold and dark after days without power and, in some places, without water.   Read more from Todd Votteler in this article from the Texas Tribune.

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