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May 17, 2022
Dear Hill Country Neighbors,

Rocky creek beds and rising temperatures show the signs of a dry Hill Country spring-and the drought map of Texas reveals much of our region is in exceptional drought conditions. At HCA we’ll be keeping an eye on the forecasts and hoping conditions improve before the true heat of summer kicks in.

In this edition of the Neighbor to Neighbor newsletter, we've rounded up the latest news from across the Hill Country. There is much to celebrate! We're ecstatic about recent wins like the City of Blanco's Night Sky Designation and Hays County's purchase of Sentinel Peak Preserve. At the same time, the articles here also shine a light on the challenges in our region - from aggregate mining on the Llano to the effect of wastewater discharges on water quality.

Both challenges and victories are best managed by a good team, and on that note - HCA is growing! The new Sentinel Landscape for Camp Bullis means that we have the opportunity to add capacity to our land program. We are looking for a Landowner Outreach & Stewardship Manager to work with our Land Program Director, Daniel Oppenheimer. Please take a look and share this opportunity with folks you think could be a good fit!

Enjoy the read,
Leah Cuddeback
Storytelling and Public Engagement Manager
Recent Hill Country News
HCA IN THE NEWS: Seizing the moment for rural water infrastructure
In February, 2021, Winter Storm Uri shined a light on the fragility of our state’s infrastructure as an energy crisis quickly evolved into a water crisis. However, even before Texas was plunged into the ice, our state’s water infrastructure systems received a C- for Drinking Water and a D for our Wastewater systems from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Learn More.
NIGHT SKIES: Over the moon: City of Blanco becomes 5th Dark Sky community in Texas, 35th on planet Earth
The city of Blanco in Blanco County has joined four other Texas cities — all in the Hill Country as well — as the latest to be granted the sought-after International Dark Sky Community designation. Learn More.
AGGREGATE MINING: Texas cities are booming. I feel it in the country.
About a year ago, I was kayaking down the Llano River, about 80 miles west of Austin, Texas. It’s spring-fed and runs through the countryside, representative of the state’s beauty. I was paddling a usually serene route when I noticed the water becoming shallow and the bottom of my kayak scraping the riverbed. Straight ahead I could see why: Several large excavating machines atop crude dams in the middle of the river had altered the water flow. Learn More.
LAND CONSERVATION: Hays County celebrates Earth Day with upcoming land purchase of Sentinel Peak Preserve
Hays County expects to close on its purchase of the Sentinel Peak Preserve by April 29, 2022, mere days after celebrating Earth Day (April 22). This is the first project funded under the 2020 Hays County Parks and Open Space Bond. Learn More.
WATER PLANNING: ‘Tipping point’: Waters under fire in Texas Hill Country as development, population boom
The Texas Hill Country has long been lauded as the Land of 1,100 Springs, but there’s trouble brewing in those pristine waters. The area is growing at breakneck speed. More people are drawing water from a finite supply. More are putting wastewater — which helps habitat-wrecking algae thrive — into treasured sanctuaries for endangered species. Learn more
Texas live oaks sprawl in a field of yellow grass. Text reads "Hill Country Alliance Join our team! Now hiring Landowner Outreach & Stewardship Manager"
The Landowner Outreach & Stewardship Manager will work within HCA’s land program to conduct outreach and educational events for landowners, coordinate efforts across the many partners HCA is privileged to work with on shared land program goals, and maintain strong communications with the extensive network of landowners with whom HCA works. The ideal candidate will be motivated, a self-starter, excellent communicator and knowledgeable about the Hill Country’s unique ecology. Click here to learn more and apply.

More News

USDA Takes Action to Strengthen Pollinator Research Support.
Read More.

If drought conditions don't improve, more water restrictions could come to Central Texas.

Read More.

Where have Austin's Indigenous people gone? 
Read More.
Report finds on-site water reuse can boost affordable housing, spread climate resilience

Read More.

Study uses lasers to prevent flooding along Texas’ South Llano River.
Read More.

Texan By Nature announces 2022 conservation wranglers.
Read More.
TCEQ denies petition to create rule against issuing wastewater discharge permits on pristine streams
Read More.

Growth in unincorporated areas of Kendall County

Read More.

100-mile nature trail connecting Austin to San Antonio springs into next phase.
Read More.
‘There’s been historic flooding and neglect’: San Antonio councilwomen aim to improve drainage
Read More.

Ignoring induced demand is engineering masterpiece
Read More.

Groups fight to limit sewage lines over Edward's recharge zone.
Read More.
Upcoming Events
Three images are shown in picture frames. The first shows a cowboy and a herd of longhorns, the second shows a scuba diver in crystal clear water in the San Marcos River, and the third shows a massive gravel mine rising from the forest with houses shown clustered nearby. Banner reads "2022 Photo Contest: Snapshot of the Hill Country - Our region is changing. Share your view! Hill Country Alliance"
The Hill Country Photo Contest ENDS THIS MONTH! Now through May 31, submit your best shots of the Texas Hill Country - and the many changes affecting it - and you could win a cash prize, AND a calendar spot! Click here to learn more and join.
Due to ongoing concerns regarding Covid-19, events are subject to change or cancellation. Please verify with original event hosts before attending in-person events. 
March 17 - May 31  |  Photo Contest: Snapshot of the Hill Country
Happening now!
May 26  |  Wild at Work: A Stewardship Series-Online
Online @ 12:00 - 1:00 pm
May 22  |  Small Acreage - Big Opportunity!
Bandera @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
June 2 |  Urban Riparian and Stream Restoration Training
Junction @ 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
An image of a sunny day on a crystal clear river is overlaid with a decal of a calendar. Text reads "explore more Hill Country events."
"All my life I have drawn sustenance from the rivers and from the hills of my native state... I want no less for all the children of America than what I was privileged to have as a boy." 
- Lyndon B. Johnson
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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 151675  |  Austin, TX 78715 |

Contact us at: 
(512) 894-2214  |
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The HCA Neighbor to Neighbor Newsletter is sent out twice monthly and covers recent news, upcoming events, and great resources for Hill Country friends and neighbors. If you have information for possible inclusion in the Neighbor to Neighbor Newsletter, please contact Leah Cuddeback at All submissions may be edited for grammar and style.