Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for funding of conservation easements through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for funding of conservation easements through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

The Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI), a program of Hill Country Conservancy, the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network and 18 partner organizations, is now accepting pre-applications from landowners located within specified critical river basins. The HCHCI has a $2.1 million pledge, awarded by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, for the purchase of conservation easements from willing landowners. “Private landowners throughout the Texas Hill Country are caring daily for our precious natural resources, growing our food, and keeping our land beautiful, often without recognition or compensation for…

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Urban sprawl making its way toward slower growing parts of the Hill Country

Urban sprawl making its way toward slower growing parts of the Hill Country

Cities up and down the I-35 corridor have experienced explosive growth over the last decade, but the counties adjacent to them have largely escaped the surge of people. That all appears to be over, with the urban expansion beginning to head their way. “We have three of the fastest growing counties – not only in Texas but in the entire country – in Hays, Comal and Kendall counties,” said Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance. Romans’ mission…

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In win for Harvey victims, federal judge finds government liable for reservoir flooding

In win for Harvey victims, federal judge finds government liable for reservoir flooding

During Hurricane Harvey, thousands of properties behind two federally owned reservoirs flooded. On Tuesday, the United States Court of Federal Claims ruled that the government was liable for the flooding and that property owners are eligible for damages. Houston’s natural vulnerability to flooding — worsened by development that officials left unchecked for decades — was exposed like never before in 2017, when Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas and turned into a tropical storm that lingered for days over America’s fourth-largest…

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Report urges buying floodplain properties to head off $3 billion bill by 2050

Report urges buying floodplain properties to head off $3 billion bill by 2050

It would be less expensive for the government to buy and preserve undeveloped land that lies in Houston’s floodplains than it would be to let development occur and face a potentially devastating bill if those properties flood, according to a new study. Allowing development on these sites could expose Harris County to as much as $3 billion in damages by 2050, according the report, published in the journal Nature Sustainability. The magnitude of potential damages far outstrips the $400 million…

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Hill Country’s Honey Creek no longer set to receive treated sewage

Hill Country’s Honey Creek no longer set to receive treated sewage

A developer planning a subdivision upstream of an ecologically sensitive Hill Country creek has changed his plans to avoid filling the creek with treated wastewater. The controversial proposed wastewater treatment plant north of San Antonio is tied to a 2,347-unit subdivision planned for what is now Honey Creek Ranch off State Highway 46 in Comal County. Ronald and Terry Urbanczyk, who also run Urban Concrete Contractors in San Antonio, own the property. The Urbanczyks also control Silesia Properties, the company…

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Travis County commissioners delay approving RV park proposal near Hamilton Pool Preserve as residents raise concern

Travis County commissioners delay approving RV park proposal near Hamilton Pool Preserve as residents raise concern

Important Update: Despite last week’s decision (discussed in article below) to delay voting on this agenda item, the Travis County Commissioners Court will be meeting on Tuesday, 12/17/19 at 9 AM to discuss the Bentree RV proposal AGAIN. Learn more here.  For the second week in a row, dozens of Dripping Springs residents filled the Travis County Commissioners Court chambers, prepared to speak in opposition to a proposed RV park at 401 Stagecoach Ranch Road, less than a half mile…

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Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and sales tax funding questions answered

Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and sales tax funding questions answered

A dialogue has emerged on the relative merits of programs apparently now competing for a future share of the City sales tax. This has included confusing statements about the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program (EAPP). As chair of the Conservation Advisory Board, the recommending body to City Council for the program, I’d like to clarify by addressing key questions. What does EAPP do and why is it important? In policy science jargon, the EAPP is an elegant response to a wicked…

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One Water: Projects In Motion

One Water: Projects In Motion

Ian Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at New Braunfels Utilities, knows his city is growing, fast. And that with that growth means looking at new ideas to manage resources. “I really struggled with [One Water] because … it was just kind of this out there concept,” Taylor explained at the Texas Water Symposium held on November 21, 2019 in San Marcos. “I had trouble trying to figure out how to nail it down and figure out how you apply this thing.…

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NIGHTS OVER TUCSON: How the Tucson, Arizona, LED conversion improved the quality of the night

NIGHTS OVER TUCSON: How the Tucson, Arizona, LED conversion improved the quality of the night

Can a lighting retrofit in a growing metropolitan city save energy, maintain safety standards, and protect the starry night sky? __ Tucson, Arizona, is a major metropolitan city in the southwest United States. The city has a long-standing commitment to best lighting practices that protect the night. In fact, people who move to the area often remark on how bright the stars appear to shine. But as the city has grown, so has its light pollution. With major astronomical observatories…

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Austin’s aging water pipes leaked 6 billion gallons in a year

Austin’s aging water pipes leaked 6 billion gallons in a year

Investigative Summary: KXAN investigated Austin’s water loss, enough to fill Lady Bird Lake twice, in 2015. Now, the city is losing more water through leaks and pipes, more than six billion gallons in 2018 alone. KXAN investigator Kevin Clark questioned Austin Water’s Director about the losses, while City Council’s new Water Oversight Committee also works to address the losses. Kristine Poland says she woke up one morning in late-September to find her street flooded. A 12-inch water line blew along…

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