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Hill Country Communities Can Pursue Dark Sky Designation Following New State Law

Hill Country communities can pursue Dark Sky designation following new state law

Across the more remote pockets of Hill Country, several communities are looking to attract tourism dollars and increase the quality of life for residents by utilizing a precious, shrinking natural resource—darkness—or rather, the absence of artificial light. With the authorization of a recent state bill, Senate Bill 1090, cities across Texas can again apply for a designation of a Dark Sky Community from the International Dark-Sky Association. In order to attain that title, a town must enact certain restrictive lighting…

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Wild Rice Sues To Stop Oil Pipeline

Wild rice sues to stop oil pipeline

In 2018, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Authority, an organization that upholds treaty rights for Chippewa bands, enacted legal personhood for manoomin -- wild rice. Manoomin, which translates to “good berry” in Ojibwe, is a sacred food for Chippewa, Ojibwe and Anishinaabe people and has been a part of traditional teachings, stories and way of life since time immemorial.   Read more from Jessica Douglas with High Country News here.

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Comal County Seeks Grants For Conservation Purchases

Comal County seeks grants for conservation purchases

Preserving Comal County’s wide-open spaces hasn’t been at the top of the county’s to-do list, but commissioners took steps in that direction last week. Last Thursday, they selected Moriarty & Associates LLC to pursue funding for county land acquisitions for wildlife conservation and water source protection. It approved $4,500 for the firm to prepare county applications for grants through the Texas Water Development Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). “Behind the scenes, I’ve been working for years to find…

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Black Gap Wildlife Management Area Designated As An International Dark Sky Sanctuary

Black Gap Wildlife Management Area designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary

BREWSTER COUNTY – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is proud to announce that Black Gap Wildlife Management Area (WMA) has been designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). Black Gap WMA is the second TPWD property to receive the Sanctuary designation, joining Devils River State Natural Area – Del Norte Unit which was designated as a Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2019.   Read more from Texas Parks & Wildlife News here.

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Travis County Goes Lights Out For Migratory Birds

Travis County goes Lights Out for migratory birds

Lights Out Texas is a campaign of education, awareness, and action that focuses on turning out lights at night during the spring and fall migrations to help protect the billions of migratory birds that fly over Texas annually. The goal of Lights Out Texas is to reduce migratory bird mortality by increasing statewide participation at the business, local official, municipal, and community levels, as well as collecting and reporting data.   Read more about Light Out Texas in Travis County…

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County To Turn Off Lights In Summer And Fall To Protect Songbirds

County to turn off lights in summer and fall to protect songbirds

The Travis County Commissioners Court passed a resolution Tuesday that will mandate county buildings to turn off all nonessential lights from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. during key migration periods for migrating songbirds. The Lights Off initiative will be in effect annually from March 1-June 15 and from Aug. 15-Nov. 30.   Read more from Seth Smalley with the Austin Monitor here.

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Why A Chinese Billionaire Bought 140,000 Acres Of Land In Texas

Why a Chinese billionaire bought 140,000 acres of land in Texas

On June 7, Texas governor Greg Abbott sat down at a desk in the state capitol and, flanked by a half-dozen lawmakers, put pen to paper for a ceremonial signing of the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act. “As far as I know this is the first law of its kind by any state in the United States of America,” he boasted. The bill’s purpose: Prevent business entities associated with “hostile nations” from accessing the Texas electricity grid and other pieces…

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“We Can’t Have Land Back Without Water Back”

“We can’t have land back without water back”

Growing up in Sandia Pueblo, on the banks of the Río Grande in New Mexico, Julia Bernal heard tales about the world of her ancestors. Elders told her that the area was home to diverse flora and fauna, the likes of which she had never seen. The river used to overflow regularly, creating small creeks and ponds, prompting the tribe to rebuild roads eve ry few years. Her father recounted a moment from his youth when he almost biked into…

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Where Dark Skies Draw Star-gazers, Wildfire Smoke Spoils The View

Where dark skies draw star-gazers, wildfire smoke spoils the view

GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK — The high, lonesome dunes that run up against the Rocky Mountains at 7,500 feet above sea level in southern Colorado are a long, long drive from the closest streetlight, and after dusk, the almost untainted darkness and thin, dry air reveals just how bright the night sky can actually be. Stars burn fierce enough to cast shadows on the sand. The core of the Milky Way is a blazing arch, soaring over the Continental…

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Be A Sponsor, Be A Star At This October’s Hill Country Night Sky Month!

Be a sponsor, be a star at this October’s Hill Country Night Sky Month!

Deep within each of us is a memory of breathtaking awe and wonder. Within each of us is a recollection of that first time we found ourselves speechless, under a canopy of deep night and starlight. It might have been at a star party, under a planetarium dome, or while camping. No matter how you found your way to the night sky, it is an experience that touches our hearts, ignites our curiosity, and connects us all. This October, the…

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