New financial program available for Texas communities

New financial program available for Texas communities

A new financial assistance program will soon become available to assist in the funding of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects. On Nov. 5, Texas voters approved Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF). In conjunction with the constitutional amendment, the legislature made a one-time transfer of $793 million from the Economic Stabilization or “Rainy Day” Fund to the FIF via Senate Bill 500 and passed Senate Bill (SB) 7, which outlines…

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Getting out: At a time of social distancing, people look to nature

Getting out: At a time of social distancing, people look to nature

With the spread of the new coronavirus causing school closures and mandatory work-from-home measures across San Antonio, people are looking to nature as a place to get exercise and find a source of peace, even while staying at least 6 feet away from each other, as recommended by health experts. “As far as we know, the outdoors is relatively safe for all of us,” said Jeanette Honermann, a San Antonio local director of community outreach for outdoor retailer REI. “It’s…

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Troubled waters: San Antonio weighs the cost of preserving its water supply

Troubled waters: San Antonio weighs the cost of preserving its water supply

Taxpayers have spent $260 million to protect the Edwards Aquifer. With the tax set to expire, officials can’t agree on how much more to spend. The Frio River snaked south through the hills of Uvalde County, its clear waters coursing over a bed of white, fractured limestone in the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. Then, unceremoniously, it disappeared. The river had flowed into — and underneath — Dripstone Ranch, nearly 2,000 acres of undeveloped ranchland named after a system of…

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TCEQ awards Meadows Center $350,000 for Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University has been awarded a $351,101 grant from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to implement Years 4-6 of the Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). The Cypress Creek WPP is the result of a six-year collaboration between numerous stakeholders working together to keep Cypress Creek clean, clear and flowing. After the plan was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and TCEQ in 2016, The Meadows…

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Editorial: Yes, San Antonio can improve transit and protect aquifer

Editorial: Yes, San Antonio can improve transit and protect aquifer

Too often in recent months, the discussion over Edwards Aquifer protection and improving transit was framed as an either/or proposition. Either San Antonio could improve transit, or it could continue to fund aquifer protection. Such a limited view always struck us as a false choice. There is no reason why this community can’t improve transit and continue to protect the Edwards Aquifer, the region’s main source of drinking water. Both can be priorities. Naturally, then, we are pleased to see…

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Proaction needed for water stewardship

Proaction needed for water stewardship

Local water resources grabbed state-level attention at the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District last week. State Rep. Kyle Biedermann and his environmental policy analyst, Larry Bailey, joined Boerne Mayor Tim Handren in addressing the CCGCD directors and asking for their help in advocating for responsible water stewardship. “My staff and I have been working closely with elected officials, experts and the public in my district regarding future water plans regarding the significant increase in growth,” Biedermann said. Bailey shared information…

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Preserving the night sky in Austin

Most evenings in Central Texas, the sky transforms into the legendary violet crown before falling into darkness. Although humans wait for the beauty of the sunset, it is the darkness that animals need, according to Cliff Kaplan of the Hill Country Alliance. “All of the creatures of Central Texas rely on dark nights. That’s what they evolved for,” he told the Environmental Commission at its Feb. 5 meeting. Golden-cheeked warblers navigate by starlight and fireflies communicate in darkness. Darker skies…

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Report: Austin and San Antonio best in Texas for fighting water pollution with nature-based infrastructure

Report: Austin and San Antonio best in Texas for fighting water pollution with nature-based infrastructure

Amid ongoing problems with water pollution and flooding, cities across Texas are turning to nature-based infrastructure. San Antonio and Austin lead the way, followed closely by Harris County, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, which ranks local governments across Texas on how well their stormwater policy incorporates nature-based infrastructure, like rain gardens and green roofs. “Nature-based infrastructure, from rain gardens to constructed wetlands, helps keep Texans safe,” said Anna Farrell-Sherman, Clean Water Associate with…

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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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