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Assorted post cards featuring stunning photography from HCA's Annual Hill Country Photo Contest.
2012 Texas Water Plan identifies Hill Country water shortages
The 2012 Texas Water Plan produced by the Texas Water Development Board reports that water supplies for the Hill Country are insufficient to meet projected municipal (urban and rural) water demands during the next severe drought. The report identifies 60 Hill Country municipal water suppliers (i.e. city utilities and water districts) that will have water shortages. For many of the suppliers, the water demands are substantially greater than the supplies. View Presentation by Raymond Slade, HCA Advisory Board and Technical Team member.
Legislators Hone Question of Eminent Domain
Instead of spending her days harvesting crops, Texas farmer Julia Trigg Crawford told lawmakers that she is now "a farmer locked in legal battle" to protect her family land. Last year, Canadian company TransCanada said that it had the right to run its Keystone XL pipeline through her property. Read full Texas Tribune article.
Aug. 14 meeting in Junction on protecting Upper Llano River Watershed
Anyone interested in becoming involved in improving and protecting the Upper Llano River Watershed is invited to attend a meeting Aug. 14 in Junction. �We�re encouraging citizens of the region to attend this meeting as their input is essential to the process of developing, implementing and achieving the ultimate success of the watershed protection plan.� Learn More
Private-public partnership aims to save water
�I drink Republican water (just as well) as Democratic water,� said San Antonio Water System CEO Robert Puente at a Thursday press conference in a Wal-Mart garden center. �We couldn't have had this conversation (about saving water) in the '90s without it being called �hippie talk.'� Read more from SA Express-News.
The New Lawn: Shaggy, Chic and Easy on the Mower
Pushing back against perfect lawns, some homeowners are adopting a shaggy-chic look for their properties, planting a long-haired meadow in the backyard, and even in front. Meadows are naturally pretty and abuzz with blooms and butterflies, but their real appeal is this: Once the meadow is established, mowing is recommended just once a year. Read more from The Wall Street Journal.
Into the Dark - Reclaiming our Night Skies
There was a time when the average person, even someone living in a city, could step outside his or her home and see the Milky Way. That time is long behind us. Electric light fills the night and blots out all but the brightest of stars in almost every urban area. It is estimated that more than two thirds of Americans live where they can no longer see and be inspired by the sight of the Milky Way. Read the full article from the June issue of The Planetary Report.
Senate Committee learns about Land Conservation
Blair Fitzsimons of the Texas Agriculture Land Trust recommends solutions to the issues of increasing loss of rural lands, land fragmentation, dwindling water resources and the costs of community services that accompany residential growth on the rise here in Texas. Investing in conservation is key. Read her testimony here.
How far can investing in conservation take us?
Most water experts agree that investing in water conservation is the cheapest and most reliable way to meet future water demands. So how is it that our best water supply strategy gets a single paragraph in the Texas Water Development Board's recently adopted 250-page, 50-year water plan?� Read more from Bill Bunch, published in the Austin American Statesman.
Farmers, residents debate priorities for lakes
More than miles separate the rice farms of the Texas coast and the Highland Lakes, where the outward march of Austin is marked by each new house, strip mall and marina. They are divided by how to share the water of the Colorado River, pitting agriculture against recreation in a state that values both. Read more from SA Express-News.
Transportation funding concerns aired
Depreciating gas tax revenues and billions of dollars of debt likely will mean a dearth of funding for new road construction in the coming years. The message, which has been broadcast for years, was echoed again Monday at a state House Appropriations and Transportation joint subcommittee hearing on transportation funding in Austin. Read more from SA Express-News.
What's to Become of Small Towns?
Demographic trends indicate that a larger percentage of Americans live in urban areas than ever before. As America urbanizes and planning and development tools based on increased density (such as new urbanism, transit-oriented development, mixed use, infill, regionalism and regional blueprints) gain in their application, what does this mean for planning efforts focused on small towns where such tools may not resonate with Americans� ideals or realities? Read more from Planetizen.
Texas Counties Must Get the �Big Picture�
Kerrville and much of our Texas Hill Country, has a limited amount of water to spare�either groundwater or surface water. In recent decades many of the Central Edwards Plateau counties have boomed in population, growth and tourism activity. Read HCA Advisory Board member Mike Mecke's article in Ranch & Rural Living Magazine.
Land Commissioner exploring desalination on State Land in Hays and Comal Counties
�The goal would be to provide water to a portion of Hays County where the General Land Office owns at least 4,500 acres. Bringing water to that land would make the property more valuable, increasing any asking price the land office sets for it,� Patterson said. Read full Statesman article here. �But isn�t desalination expensive and energy-intensive?� Learn more from StateImpact Texas.
Not a drop to waste
It�s easy to overwater your landscape during the hot Central Texas summer. This can waste water and money and actually harm your lawn and landscaping by making them more susceptible to disease. Even during the heat of summer, a typical landscape needs only about an inch of water a week to stay healthy. Because of the thinner soils found in Central Texas, many experts suggest watering about one-half inch twice a week. Figuring out exactly how much a half-inch is may sound difficult, but it can be accomplished with a few simple tools that most people have around the house. Learn more from LCRA.
While Profits Are Up in the Eagle Ford Shale, So is Road Damage
Drilling trucks are doing their damage on Texas roads, especially on highways, bridges, or other roads not designed for heavy loads. The Texas Department of Transportation said Monday that damage from those trucks is at two billion dollars. Read more from NPR.
TPWD offers landowner assistance through it�s �LIP� program
A healthy future for the Hill Country region depends on wise practices on private lands. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has a wonderful program in place that provides expertise as well as financial assistance to landowners who want to initiate private land stewardship efforts. The Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) is currently accepting new projects, now is the time to check it out.
Well, that's interesting: Man takes trip down water memory lane
�There are still artesian wells in Texas, Mace said, but most of them are now gone. Some towns just let the wells run free until they stopping running altogether. "They just played out," Mace said. "It's actually a really good lesson in conservation." Read more from Statesman.com.
Is Water the World's Next Global Security Threat?
On day five of the Aspen Ideas Festival, leading thinkers on water issues gathered on a panel to discuss the question, "Is Water the Next Global Security Threat?" �The key will be harnessing the political will to fix the problems and iniquities in our distribution system�. Read More
Possible sale of historic road is opposed
A sliver of Old Fredericksburg Road in Leon Springs will play a key role in an upscale mixed-use development near Interstate 10 and Boerne Stage Road, but the history of that strip of asphalt � and several venerable structures in the area � has caused consternation among some preservationists and others who are dismayed that it will likely become private property. Read more from SA Express-News.
Ranchers, farmers seeking solutions to U.S water worries
Across the globe, water consumption has tripled in the last 50 years, and at least 36 U.S. states are anticipating some areas of water shortages by 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Farming alone consumes 70 percent of all fresh water used around the world. With that in mind, public and private interests working on water conservation have started pushing partnerships with farmers and ranchers to protect water quantity and quality. The work is starting in Texas but is intended to spread nationwide. Read more from Reuters.com.
Residents Need a Plan for �When� (not �If�) a Wildland Fire Occurs
Proper planning and actions can improve your chances of safely avoiding a fire disaster, reduce risk to life and property and make it easier and safer for fire authorities to combat a blaze. The 12-page Ready, Set, Go! guide includes what to look for when protecting your home and yard from wildfires, how to plan and execute your family�s evacuation and what to do if you are trapped by a fire and need to shelter at home. Learn more. Travis County has a ban in effect for the next 30 days. Check in with your county and emergency service before considering a fire.
Life by the Drop: Drought, Water and the Future of Texas
Texas Monthly, KUT and StateImpact Texas have collaborated on a special report on the 2011 drought. The audio recording, links and articles are well worth your time. Visit StateImpact Texas for more on the series. To read more about drought and water issues here in the Hill Country, HCA is continuously updating online resources on the Drought, Groundwater Supply, Rainwater Harvesting and other Hill Country water issues.
Hill Country Landowner experience and guidance featured in a valuable new blog
�I want to share what I've learned throughout the years with others who are interested in partnering with Mother Nature to help heal, restore, and conserve the land and its creatures for future generations.� Jill Nokes is a landscape designer, land restoration specialist and author who is telling her Llano County story online for all to benefit from. Read, learn and share with Jill.
Aquifer Alliance Applauds, Deplores Proposed Edwards Aquifer Authority Rules
The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance is encouraging participation in an EAA hearing that will be held this Wednesday, June 27th at 6pm in Hondo and Thursday in San Antonio. If approved, the proposed rule �will certainly increase the amount of fuels and other hazardous material stored on the Recharge Zone (ERZ), putting our water supply in peril�. Read more from GEAA.
Securing Texas� Water Future
Tuesday, July 3rd the Austin Forum presents Securing Texas� Water Future. Dr. Danny Reible will explore the topics of the water summit, making the case for future needs, and discuss some of the challenges and opportunities for technology development to address those needs. The Forum takes place the first Tuesday of each month at the AT&T Center on the UT Campus.
"The drought continuing from last year has many residential estate owners looking for new sustainable landscaping solutions and ranchers and landowners looking for anything that can survive the climate and hungry livestock.� The Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Program is featured in this article from the Westlake Picayune.
San Antonio is initiating a Community Plan
The Lone Star Community area is currently undergoing a transformation, most notably along its major corridors: South Flores, South Alamo, Cevallos, and the San Antonio River. The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) is exploring ways to evolve from �from an industrial past to a future for arts, entertainment, and creative living spaces.� Learn more about the Lone Star Community Plan and sign up to be involved.
Fundraiser at Villa Antonia to Highlight Important Water Issues
Villa Antonia, the most beautiful setting on the North Shore, will be the backdrop for an important Central Texas Water Coalition (CTWC) fundraiser June 28, 5:30-9:00pm. The evening will feature live music by Lohman�s Crossing Band, hor d�oeuvres by Sterling Affairs and silent and live auction items. Guest speaker Senator Kirk Watson will present a legislative update and discuss the future of water in Central Texas and what this means for the Highland Lakes. Details
Be Seen at the Rainwater Revival
HCA is now taking vendor applications for Rainwater Revival 2012 set for October 27 in Boerne. It�s our third annual celebration of collection, conservation and common sense. More than 1,000 attendees are expected � all coming to learn all about rainwater catchment, water and energy conservation, smart hill country landscaping, sustainable living, and to have fun. Spread the word about your product or service and sell your wares at RR12. It�s all in one place in one full day in bustling Boerne -- don�t miss it. Learn more at http://rainwaterrevival.com. A Hill Country Alliance event.
AMA: Health Implications of Light at Night �Serious�
The American Medical Association is acknowledging the growing evidence of health problems associated with exposure to artificial light, and is taking action that could lead to more government funding of research in this area. Learn More
30-year growth blueprint approved
A plan to shape the city's growth and development throughout the next 30 years has been set into motion after Austin City Council unanimously approved the comprehensive blueprint for growth. More from KXAN.com.
Top leadership resigns from RMA board
The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority's long-standing board chairman, Bill Thornton, and the board member expected to succeed him resigned from their positions Monday, less than a week after the Bexar County Commissioners Court voted to take over the organization's operations. Read more from SA Express-News.
Read more Hill Country news
July 23 in Kerrville - Hill Country Chapter of Texas Master Naturalist July meeting "The Oasis Pipeline Wildfire and Recovery" - Details
August 3 in San Antonio - Region L Planning Meeting - 10am at the SAWS Service Center - Details
August 11 in Kerrville - The Riverside Nature Center presents, The Awesome Natural World, a creative writing workshop for kids 9-12 from writing instructor Mary Lee Gowland - Details
August 18 in Cedar Creek - Water Wise Conference presents �Fables & Facts about Rainwater Quality" - Whether you�re thinking about catching rain with a new system or already have your cistern and gutters in place but have wonder about the quality of your water, this conference is for you - Details
August 25 in Mico & Lakehills - Medina Lake Dam Centennial Celebration - Opening ceremony, presentations, water conservation exhibits, live music and more - Details
August 25 in Kerrville - The Riverside Nature Center presents, Writing in the Natural World, a creative writing workshop for adults from writing instructor Mary Lee Gowland - Details
August 28-30 in Austin - Texas Groundwater Summit - Details
August 30 in Junction - Texas Watershed Steward Training - Details
September 29-30 in Fredericksburg - Renewable Roundup & Green Living Fair - Details
October 4-7 in Kerrville - Save the Date: Annual Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) Symposium, �The Texas Hill Country � A Changing Landscape� - Details
Imagine a place where vibrant communities draw strength from their natural assets to sustain their quality of life. A place where citizens care about protecting the special qualities of a region � their region. A place where people and partners band together to envision a better economic future, tackle shared challenges and care for the natural, scenic, and recreational resources that define the place they call home.
~This is a Conservation Landscape
Helpful Mapping Resources - Beautiful and informative maps of the region to print and share.
HCA Dynamic Mapping Tool - This dynamic online mapping tool includes water resource information, regional geography, natural resource information, jurisdictional boundaries and more using GIS layers in an easy to use Google Earth platform.
The 2012 Hill Country Calendar is still available. Click here to purchase.