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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Agriculture science looking downward for the future of feeding the world

Agriculture science looking downward for the future of feeding the world

Healthy fertile soil. It makes the grass and plants grow, which feeds people as well as livestock, which in turn are eaten by people. Dr. Nicole Wagner, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture at Texas State University, doesn’t mince words when it comes to soil. “We really need to be focused on soil regeneration,” she says. Wagner, who teaches soil science courses, explains that soil regeneration could be the solution to increasing harvests, reducing chemicals and pesticides in agriculture,…

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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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Speak now please! Together we can save our Hill Country future, not pave it!

Speak now please! Together we can save our Hill Country future, not pave it!

The next Hays County Commissioners’ Court meeting is TUESDAY, April 28th at 9:00 AM – please contact the following elected officials in advance to state your views! judge.becerra@co.hays.tx.us (512) 393-2205; mark.jones@co.hays.tx.us (512) 262-2091; jhughson@sanmarcostx.gov (512) 393-8091; debbiei@co.hays.tx.us (512) 393-2243; lon.shell@co.hays.tx.us (512) 847-3159; walt.smith@co.hays.tx.us (512) 858-7268 You can also send a message to the entire 23 member CAMPO board by clicking here.  It’s truly amazing how much our Hill Country community of Hays, Blanco and Gillespie counties have come together to oppose Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway pipeline. Uniting against this existential, external threat has…

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State and regional flood planning: the future of flood resilience in Texas

State and regional flood planning: the future of flood resilience in Texas

Starting in 2020, Texas stakeholders will have the opportunity to determine the best flood mitigation strategies for their region through a process called “flood planning.” Regional Flood Planning Groups (RFPG) will lead this effort, as prescribed by Senate Bill 8 which was passed by Texas Legislature in 2019. Flood planning regions will correspond with 15 major Texas rivers and coastal basins delineated by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). Based on the current draft rules, each RFPG will be composed…

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Big opportunities lie ahead for green infrastructure in Texas

Big opportunities lie ahead for green infrastructure in Texas

Green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are essential to creating flood resilient communities in Texas. Traditional gray infrastructure techniques such as dams, levees, and channels, capture water and push it downstream. On the other hand, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are effective flood mitigation tools that capture water at the source, and allow the water to infiltrate into the ground. This reduces runoff and strain on traditional flood infrastructure during flooding events. Examples of green and nature-based flood mitigation solutions include: open…

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Born to rewild: why now is the perfect time to make your lawn an eco-paradise

Born to rewild: why now is the perfect time to make your lawn an eco-paradise

Chances are, your lawn isn’t natural, environmentally healthy, or necessary – but it is part of a prevalent national standard. Americans spend an estimated $36bn on lawn care annually, and the amount of lawns we maintain could roughly cover the state of Florida. Lawns, not edible agriculture, are the biggest irrigated crop in America – and they are partly to blame for the decline in bees, insects and songbirds. Why should you care? Recent studies reveal that insect numbers are…

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Monarch butterfly gets protection in ‘historic’ deal

Monarch butterfly gets protection in ‘historic’ deal

The Fish and Wildlife Service today unveiled a sweeping, multistate plan to protect the monarch butterfly without adding it to the Endangered Species Act list. A long time in the making, the plan called, in part, a “candidate conservation” agreement unites state and federal officials with energy and transportation industry leaders on a common cause. “Completing this agreement is a huge boost for the conservation of monarch butterflies and other pollinators on a landscape scale,” FWS chief Aurelia Skipwith said in…

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Group to keep eye on the sky

Group to keep eye on the sky

A week after the county adopted a resolution to protect the night skies, a local group is forming with the intent of educating residents about how they can help protect one of the Hill Country’s greatest assets — a starlit night sky. Cliff Kaplan, program manager with the Hill Country Alliance, said 14 counties have adopted resolutions similar to that of Kendall County. However, because of state legislation, it’s often difficult for cities and counties to regulate lighting. Instead it’s…

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County resolution supports efforts to preserve darkness

County resolution supports efforts to preserve darkness

The stars at night are big and bright — and disappearing from view deep in the heart of Texas. That was the consensus of a standing-room-only audience this week as the Kendall County Commissioners Court heard comments from concerned citizens in support of a resolution supporting efforts to preserve the night skies. Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Durden introduced the resolution, and the court voted in favor of its adoption. “Sometimes we don’t miss things until they’re gone, and then they’re…

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