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Rebecca Creek Salamanders Could Warrant Federal Protection

Rebecca Creek salamanders could warrant Federal protection

Lizard-like amphibians with elongated bodies and tails, short limbs and external gills are the focus of scientists keeping tabs on groundwater health in Rebecca Creek. In April, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) staff headed out to the area with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) scientists to collect salamanders to help determine what species are present and whether they warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Read more from Stephanie Johnson with My…

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Solar-powered Suds

Solar-powered suds

Craft breweries, having already surged in popularity in recent decades, are enjoying a second renaissance during the COVID-19 pandemic as social life has moved outside. "I think back in the day before Bud, Miller, and Coors, you know, took over the Amer­i­can beer industry, there used to be a brewpub in every town," says Ian Davis, co-owner of Texas Beer Company in Taylor. "And it's just getting back to the way it used to be." A large patio or grounds,…

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Boost Protection For Texas’ Pristine Waters

Boost protection for Texas’ pristine waters

There are only a few truly pristine rivers left in Texas. SB 1747 and HB 4146 (passed on 5/11/21) would help protect them.  Help by voicing support for this bill.  Only about 40 streams out of over 2,000 streams in all of Texas are considered pristine because they have no detectable phosphorous–found in wastewater. Included, for example, is the beloved Upper Frio River, which flows through the most popular State Park in Texas, the Upper San Marcos River, a very…

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Opportunity To Comment On The Draft 2022 State Water Plan

Opportunity to comment on the Draft 2022 State Water Plan

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is now receiving public comments on the Draft 2022 State Water Plan. Updated and adopted every five years, the state water plan serves as a roadmap for addressing the water needs of our state and ensures that Texas will have adequate water supplies during times of drought in the next 50 years. Read more from Texas Water Development Board here. 

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Lege+water: April 2021 Update

lege+water: April 2021 Update

Every month during the 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, Dr. Todd Votteler and Dr. Robert Mace provide an update on water-related legislation. The key water committees are Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs in the Senate, chaired by Senator Charles Perry (R) of Lubbock, and Natural Resources in the House of Representatives, chaired by Representative Tracy King (D) of Uvalde. The Senate Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs Committee is still meeting weekly on Monday mornings at 8 a.m., while…

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New Poll Shows 78% Of Voters Support Federal Investment In Water Infrastructure

New poll shows 78% of voters support Federal investment in water infrastructure

A new poll by the Value of Water Campaign released today shows that American voters’ support for increasing federal water infrastructure investment (78 percent) remains high, is bipartisan, and is on par with eliminating COVID-19 and strengthening the American economy as a top priority. The poll results found that while 83 percent of American voters support ensuring a reliable supply of water, there is a growing concern about the state of national water infrastructure, with only 47 percent of Americans…

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Meet A Scientist: Robert Mace

Meet a scientist: Robert Mace

Robert Mace, Ph.D., is the Executive Director and Chief Water Policy Officer at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environmentand a professor in the Department of Geography at Texas State University. Mace has worked as a water researcher for over 30 years, and his affinity for solving problems about the natural world began at a young age. “I was interested in rocks, and I was good at math,” Mace said. Read more from Ava English with Texas Water Resources…

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Texas To Make Environmental Proceedings More Accessible To Non-English Speakers, Following Civil Rights Complaint

Texas to make environmental proceedings more accessible to non-English speakers, following civil rights complaint

A new proposal from the state’s environmental agency would make it easier for community members who don't speak English to participate in the public permitting process for refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities. The proposed rule follows a civil rights complaint filed against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2019. Read more from Katie Watkins with Houston Public Media here.

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Where There’s A Waterway-there’s A Will

Where there’s a waterway-there’s a will

Gaylord Nelson, the former Wisconsin Governor and founder of Earth Day, had a particularly salient quote that interestingly enough didn’t reference the environment. He said, “The ultimate test of a person's conscience may be the willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” That quote singularly epitomizes the heart and soul of the Texas Stream Team, a diverse group of citizen scientists giving of their time and talents to ensure the state’s…

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Rebecca Springs, Salamander Surveys, And WHY They Matter

Rebecca Springs, salamander surveys, and WHY they matter

Salamanders are sensitive critters. With external gills and limited habitats, they are good indicators of groundwater health. They rely on clean, clear, flowing springs to maintain healthy populations. Low water levels in aquifers lead to less spring flow and less dissolved oxygen in the water. Pollution and contaminants from surface water runoff can drastically alter water quality. Hill Country residents rely heavily on groundwater, and the status of salamander populations can tell us how well we’re balancing resource protection and development.…

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