Spring Branch, Texas — The Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA) and the Hill Country Alliance co-hosted the workshop, “Saving Family Lands: Tools for Landowners in Comal County,” on February 15, 2019 at the Anhalt Dance Hall in Spring Branch, Texas.
The one-day workshop, which highlighted financial and conservation tools available to rural landowners in fast-growing Hill Country counties, attracted ninety attendees. The workshop was designed to provide farmers, ranchers, and other landowners with effective tools and resources to help them address issues inherent in passing family land on to future generations.
Speakers presented on a variety of topics including the case for conservation in Comal County; wildlife and open space valuation; financial tools and programs for landowners; conservation easement basics and tax benefits; and the role of land trusts. The workshop ended with a panel discussion with local landowners and conservation easement donors. The presentations generated many questions from the audience.
“With rates of land development and subdivision booming in Central Texas, workshops like this one provide a critical service to landowners interested in protecting their land and handing on a conservation ethic to future generations,” said Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance.
Attendee Steve Hixon said, “It was an excellent landowner workshop. We got very useful information on conservation easements to help protect our family ranch for future generations.”
“The event featured well-informed speakers who covered a wide range of topics related to land conservation—from the basics of a conservation easement to tax advantages,” said attendee Martha Bersch. “The information will be valuable in my family’s discernment regarding the future of our land.”
“It was encouraging to see so many people interested in preserving their land,” Elizabeth Bowerman, President of the CCCA, said. “Some families in our county live on land that has been in their family for six or seven generations! These lands are an important part of the culture and the rural fabric of our area, and the CCCA is happy to be able to help these ranchers and landowners find ways to preserve their land for future generations.”
The workshop was conducted with assistance from Alamo Resource Conservation & Development Area Inc., Anhalt Hall, Blair Wildlife Consulting, Braun & Gresham Family of Companies, Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust, Hill Country Land Trust, James D. Bradbury PLLC, Plateau Land Group, Plateau Land & Wildlife Management, Ranch Connection LLC, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Texas Wildlife Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Wimberley Valley Watershed Association and facilitated by Carolyn Vogel, Texas Conservation Connection.
The Comal County Conservation Alliance is a nonprofit organization working to protect land, water, and wildlife in Comal County. The Hill Country Alliance is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country.
MEDIA CONTACT: Carolyn Vogel 512.633.4995 email@example.com
Download the full press release here:
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation today released a new report about the strong and growing economic role state parks have on the Texas economy. The research showed the parks generated more than $891 million in sales activity, had a $240 million impact on the incomes of Texas residents, and supported an estimated 6,081 jobs throughout the state in 2018.
A new group, the Texas Coalition for State Parks, was launched by a group of former Texas Parks & Wildlife Commissioners and park advocates with the sole purpose of advocating for a constitutional dedication of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to state parks funding. The Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA) quickly joined the coalition. View the full list of members as well as the press release by clicking here.
Rumors are swirling that the government plans to seize the private wildlife sanctuary’s land today. Center staff themselves don’t know for sure. On Sunday, construction equipment and law enforcement appeared at the National Butterfly Center and an officer told center staff that “effective Monday morning, [the center’s land south of the levee] is all government land”
Last year, Congress approved funding to build new border-wall sections atop a levee that runs through the center, which protects habitat for hundreds of butterfly species as well as birds and other wildlife. These wall plans are separate from President Trump's larger proposed wall project that is still being negotiated.
Read the full Hannah Waters article by clicking here.
In 1993, the Legislature passed a law that said state parks and historic sites could receive all of the money generated by a tax on the sale of sporting goods. Since then, state lawmakers have given the parks department only about 40 percent of those collections.
“It became clear to the collective ‘us’ that we had to go to a constitutional amendment to guarantee the funds go to the parks account,” said Bristol, a former chairman of the Texas State Parks Advisory Committee. The committee has been pushing for a constitutional amendment since at least 2014.
If allocated, the sporting good sales tax — along with entry and use fees charged to state park visitors — is funneled into to the State Parks Account, the second-largest funding source for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Read the rest of the article by Carlos Anchondo by clicking here.
The Edwards Aquifer is a world class freshwater supply in a world where that should really mean something. Its crystal clarity and purity provides clean drinking water for millions of people, and it gives rise to great beautiful springs that have nourished minds, bodies and spirits for thousands of years. These great springs have, in turn, given rise to great cities: mainly San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, and Austin. We are blessed beyond words to live in this place with this natural wonder. And we are responsible for ensuring others who come after us will enjoy and benefit from it as well.
The “recharge zone” of the Edwards Aquifer is that part of the landscape (shown in bright blue on the map) where surface water goes directly into the ground replenishing the aquifer and feeding the springs. If it’s covered over with impermeable surfaces — pavement, rooftops, etc. — water cannot recharge, or re-fill, the aquifer. If water goes in dirty, from having run off of urban landscapes, for example, it pollutes the aquifer. That is because this one — the Edwards — is made of porous rock (holey limestone) which does not filter impurities like a sand aquifer might. As the population grows along the I-35 corridor mostly between San Antonio and Austin, the demand for Edwards water increases. Protecting land in the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer, then, is essential to the protection of this world class water supply — both its quantity and its quality. And it is also essential to maintaining the flow of these historic, life-giving springs, home to species known nowhere else in the world.
This map shows in various shades of green those parcels of land that have been protected, either as parks, preserves, watershed protection lands, national wildlife refuges, state natural areas, private conservation easements, or the like. It shows the six main counties under which the Edwards Aquifer flows, generally speaking, in a southwesterly to northeasterly direction. It shows that as much land protection as has already occurred, there is much more that needs to be done, especially in Comal county.
The Comal County Conservation Alliance is working to preserve land throughout the county, about half of which lies over the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. While open spaces throughout the county are needed to preserve the beauty and way of life county residents have long enjoyed — and are fast losing — these lands over the recharge zone are of particular importance for protecting our water.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the largest known artesian well in the world was drilled in southwest Bexar County to feed a controversial catfish farm. Now San Antonio Water System has permanently sealed off the infamously abundant 30-inch well with mud and concrete. Read the full article here.