HCA Program Areas
Since the beginning, the Hill Country Alliance’s primary activity has been to reach out to inform citizens about current issues relating to growth and development in the Texas Hill Country. As our region has experienced growing pains, we’ve been able to help individuals and community groups by sharing resources and information. We host community meetings about current issues and participate in many regional planning activities. More than just leading the conversation, HCA is inspiring action. Our four program areas are how we maintain strategic focus and align our work within the region.
In addition to our work as a standalone organization, HCA has stepped up to serve as the backbone organization for the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network (THCCN/the Network), a coalition of organizations and agencies that have come together to advance shared goals for conservation of the Texas Hill Country.
Thirteen Texas rivers begin in the Hill Country and provide water for millions of downstream neighbors.
As our region grows, our demands on limited aquifer resources threaten to dry up wells and springs that support the creeks and rivers of the Hill Country. Policy disconnects make it difficult to protect the region’s water supplies.
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) works to address state-wide policy concerns about the management of surface water and groundwater. We support local groundwater management by elected district boards, and we respond to water quality threats. We promote land and water conservation and water infrastructure alternatives like rainwater harvesting and net zero water development. We advance sound science in groundwater decision-making and planning.
Texas is losing heritage ranch lands faster than any other state in the country.
As ranch lands are divided and urban development pushes further into the rural Hill Country, we are losing wildlife habitat, healthy watershed function, open spaces and scenic vistas – the very things for which the region is known and loved.
HCA combats land fragmentation and degradation by promoting both land conservation and good land stewardship. We build consensus for place-based land management practices that enhance long-term water supply. We address the threat of invasive vegetation, promote restorative agriculture and ranching, and facilitate large-scale landscape conservation. We create resources, conversations and forums for landowners, neighbors, elected officials, and all concerned citizens.
Eight out of ten children will grow up unable to see the Milky Way due to light pollution.
The Hill Country is on the edge of night in Texas. As development pushes westward from the urban corridor, we are losing our view of the night sky that once inspired a songwriter to croon, “The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.”
HCA convenes diverse groups of stakeholders and community leaders to slow the spread of light pollution and the degradation of Hill Country night skies. We work with state parks and local communities to achieve dark sky designations and help electric cooperatives convert to night sky friendly lighting. We encourage night sky friendly businesses as well as local initiatives to pass resolutions and ordinances for the preservation of our starry night sky in cities and counties across the region.
Ninety percent of Hill Country lands are in unincorporated areas where there is little authority to plan for growth.
Unprecedented growth is diluting the heritage of our rural towns with sprawling development patterns that take away from courthouse squares and main streets. The culture center of our communities is being lost to new outward-spreading development.
HCA promotes new and better ways to grow healthy, vibrant communities both in the urban corridor and in rural areas throughout the region. We emphasize comprehensive growth planning and transportation alternatives that accommodate population projections while minimizing our footprint. We work to bring communities together around shared values. We support technologies and policies that allow the built environment to enhance, not detract from, our region’s resilience and the unique natural services it provides.
HCA in the News
Episode Notes In this episode, Leslie Bobby of Southern Regional Extension Forestry talks to Frank Davis and Commissioner Lon Shell, important water management players in Texas's Hill Country region, an area marked by considerable growth and development in recent years. They discuss how communities around San Antonio are using taxes and those around Austin are using…
Theme of contest is “Solace and Strength: Portraits of Resilience in the Texas Hill Country” The last year has been unimaginably difficult for so many of us. We have missed milestones and family members, traded neighborly potlucks for Zooms, and seen our worlds upended time and again. Through it all, the rugged beauty of the Hill…
LEARN MORE: You can learn more about ongoing efforts related to the Axis Deer Control Project here. The spotted fawn was leaning against the screen door of Daniel Oppenheimer’s back porch near Luckenbach. Oppenheimer found it when he ventured outside on the first morning of last week’s record freeze. The fawn had died in the night.…
Axis deer are an exotic game species first introduced in the Texas Hill Country in the 1930s. Since then, the population has grown exponentially, leading to groups launching an Axis Deer Control project. There are currently more than 6,000 free-range Axis deer in Texas, according to data from the Texas Invasive Species Institute. Read more from…