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Photo courtesy of Michelle Michel

Texas Hill Country Conservation Network Updates - Summer 2022

HCA remains deeply involved in the work of the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network. In March, the Network launched the brand-new State of the Hill Country report with a virtual media briefing that brought in more than 100 attendees – including more than a dozen elected officials - and led to more than 20 news articles, an 8-piece op-ed series, and ongoing coverage.

The Network is now developing a Hill Country Land, Water, and Natural Infrastructure Plan. This project aims to collaboratively define the future of regional conservation and natural infrastructure projects. The conservation goals for the plan include protecting water quality, preserving water quantity, providing wildlife habitat and connectivity, expanding access to outdoor recreation and nature, increasing climate resilience, and preserving rural working lands.

The Infrastructure Plan survey closed last month after receiving input from more than 2,800 Hill Country residents! Mapping and stakeholder engagement will continue to take place throughout the summer and into early fall, with open houses to receive public input.


Spotlight: Network Resources

Making the Case for Source Water Protection: Pedernales River Basin Evaluation
This case study presents multiple land conservation and source water protection programs, their successes and funding sources. Ultimately, the study suggests priority protection areas and a road map for implementing a successful source water protection program in the Pedernales River Basin.
Commentary: Drought, Growth and the Future of the Hill Country
This Op-ed written by Emily R. Warren Armitano of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation and Katherine Romans of the Hill Country Alliance headlined the Austin American-Statesman in mid-August. As our region grapples with the effects of drought, we know our future depends on collaborative solutions.
State of the Hill Country: 8 Key Conservation and Growth Metrics for a Region at a Crossroads
This report defines and calculates eight metrics for tracking trends related to changes in the natural resources of the Texas Hill Country. Dozens of organizations — nonprofits, government agencies, academic institutions and aligned private businesses — endeavor to protect the land, water and sky of this unique region. The metrics defined here will support these entities as they work individually and collectively through The Network to both tell the story of the need for conservation and preserve the natural resources and heritage of the region.
Op-Ed Series: Diving into the State of the Hill Country 
In this series of eight editorials first published throughout March and April, members of the Network dive in deeper on each metric from the State of the Hill Country Report to show how they apply to individual Hill Country communities. All of the following editorials are available for republishing, with credit to authors and the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network.

Welcome to the Team, Josh!

Meet Josh Sendejar, Texas Hill Country Conservation Network Manager and newest member of the team! Josh was born and raised in Corpus Christi, where the coast inspired a lifelong love of nature. After earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Environmental Science, Josh began his career in environmental education at the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program before moving to Austin and starting work for the Texas Water Development Board.
While with TWDB, Josh coordinated the Water Conservation Advisory Council - working with a variety of stakeholders to progress water conservation across the state of Texas. We are so excited to have Josh's knowledge of water conservation and collaborative experience here in the Hill Country as the new Texas Hill Country Conservation Network Manager.

Meet Network partners at the Leadership Summit in September!

Learn more about our work on Thursday, September 29th at the 2022 Hill Country Leadership Summit - Our Shared Stories: Past Present and Future. All in-person tickets have SOLD OUT - if you want to join us, please purchase your virtual ticket today!

The Leadership Summit is the HCA's premiere annual gathering, and provides an opportunity for learning, networking, and being inspired among our region’s top community leaders, conservation practitioners, and natural resource managers. Registration and sponsorship opportunities available now!
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