August Watershed News
Topics: Hays Co. Parks and Open Spaces Recommendations - Blanco River Healing - Hays Trinity GCD declares drought for Jacob's Well GMZ - When It Rains, Texas Forgets Drought and Water Shortages - Permian Highway Pipeline Video

Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission Recommended Projects
Please, voice your support!
Article By: Ray Don Tilley

If you value land and water in Hays County, now is the time to let your Commissioner and Judge know. Call, email, and offer public comments in person to support their approval at their Tue., Aug. 11, 9:00 a.m. meeting of a $75 to $80 million Parks & Open Space Bond package for voters on the Nov. 3 ballot.

In this pandemic, as in the floods of 2015, Hays County residents have pulled together for the greater good of our community. We plan ahead and provide for times of need and for future generations. In that spirit, we must take action today to protect and increase parks, natural areas, and water quality for all our tomorrows.

Hays County voters last passed a parks bond in 2007. In two well-attended Zoom webinars this week, Hays County’s Parks & Open Space Advisory Commission presented its recommended projects after a thorough proposal process. Both the List of Recommendations and the Webinar Presentation are available online.

Wimberley Valley Watershed Association proposed Coleman’s Canyon Preserve, 117 acres that would more than double the size of Jacob’s Well Natural Area. Its significant karst features recharge Jacob’s Well Spring and include Wimberley Bat Cave. The project expands trails, scenic vistas, greenways and preserves, with over 100 acres of Golden Cheeked Warbler habitat. Coleman’s Canyon could lessen flooding potential through strategically located green infrastructure projects.

WVWA is pleased that Coleman’s Canyon Preserve project ranked top of the committee’s list of recommendations, and supports the quality and range of the tiered proposals. Without affecting the County tax rate, these projects will add parks, trails, open spaces, natural areas, and habitat, and improve water quality and flood mitigation. Hays County’s economy depends on hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, many of them drawn by County parks, trails, and natural areas. Now, more than ever, the benefits of outdoor recreation for health and well-being are worthy investments.

Please take a look the presentation and list of worthy projects. Then, let your County Commissioner and Judge Becerra know you’re counting on them, ahead of their August 11 meeting. If you can, please also attend the meeting and speak in Public Comments.

Contacts for Hays County:

It’s a good time to preserve our natural heritage and build well-considered recreational facilities, with clear eyes on flood mitigation and anticipating a growing population. With population growth, groundwater and habitat protection are critical to protect the high quality of life here in Hays County. The time is now.

The parks and open space proposals cannot vote; they need your voice to make them happen.  
The Blanco River is Healing!
Article modified from Protect Our Blanco Board and Council update

It has been over seven months since the City reported its last Blanco Wastewater Treatment Plant direct discharge into the Blanco River, and the water conditions show it! Downstream of the discharge point, the algae blooms have cleared.

The WVWA and POB have also seen some very positive signs for our anticipated negotiations with the City of Blanco:

  1. This week, our legal team discovered that the City of Blanco wastewater discharge permit has been remanded – that means it is removed from the court’s docket and the draft permit will be sent back to TCEQ for changes! The City’s filing indicated they plan to make changes to the permit request that may include issuing new notice and starting the TCEQ permit process over again. This potentially opens up another round of public comments and opportunities to refine the permit details to be more protective of water quality.
  2. In recent months, the city replaced their previous legal counsel and their prior waste water engineering firm. We are hopeful this change signals a lack of confidence in prior recommendations and a shift towards a better direction.
  3. The City FINALLY allowed two POB Board Members to tour the water treatment facility and we have asked that a second tour be scheduled for our consultants to have a firsthand view.
  4. The two new City Council Members – Deda Divine and Mike Smith seem like good advocates for our River.
  5. The Engineering Firm that POB retained has identified millions of dollars in unfunded infrastructure that the City would need in order to utilize their current Wastewater Treatment Center outside the current City Limits.  This adds a very strong incentive for the City to give real consideration to the alternatives we are proposing.
  6. The City has not dumped in the river in over 7 months!

We continue to push for an agreement with the City to eliminate discharge, implement strong irrigation plans/contracts, and establish a better operational plan for the plant.

POB continues to do monthly water quality testing and these reports can be utilized for our negotiations, and if necessary, a Contested Case Hearing or any other lawsuits.

As you can imagine, the cost of consultants and testing are substantial and we are asking that all of our members make a tax deductible donation.  If you prefer to send a check, it should be made payable to Protect our Blanco and sent to P O Box 520, Blanco, Texas 78606. If you have friends and neighbors who care and who can help us financially, please ask them to join this fight.

Hays Trinity GCD declares drought for Jacob's Well GMZ

Flow at Jacob's Well has dropped below the drought threshold triggering a drought declaration by the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District at the August 6 Board Meeting. With the Jacob's Well Groundwater Management Zone (GMZ) drought...

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When It Rains, Texas Forgets Drought and Water Shortages

WIMBERLEY, Texas - Among the famed springs that distinguish the Texas Hill Country as a region of crystal-clear water and iconic swimming holes, Jacob's Well stands out. The spring's water source is rain that falls on the thin soils of Hays...

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