Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TLTC Webinar on Ag Land Easement Program

Join us for a Webinar on May 20

The Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill, created the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) to provide financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. 

NRCS provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land.  Eligible partners include Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland, ranch or grassland protection programs.

Claude Ross, Natural Resources Specialist with the Texas NRCS, will discuss the Agricultural Land Easement program and the newly released application process for projects to be considered for funding in 2014. Webinar attendees will be able to ask specific questions regarding the application process and project eligibility.

Title:      Farm Bill & Ag Land Easement Program in Texas
Date:     Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Time:     10:00 AM - 11:30 PM CDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the 

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Tomorrow: Grand Opening of Jacob's Well Natural Area, Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Jacob’s Well Natural Area, the first Hays County-owned nature preserve, will celebrate its grand opening Tomorrow Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 221 Woodacre Drive, Wimberley. The public is invited to special events, tours and family fun.

Jacob’s Well is a perpetual artesian spring and is the main source for Cypress Creek, which forms the Blue Hole swimming area downstream and then flows through Wimberley into the Blanco River. The County purchased the property in 2010 with voter-approved park bond funds to preserve the natural area and protect it from future development. Now, the public is invited to experience this natural wonder and learn more about the importance of preserving it for future generations.
“This preserve is a good investment by the taxpayers of Hays County,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley. “It’s a wonderful recreational area for families to enjoy some of our natural assets. It serves as an educational facility for current and future generations to learn about the Wimberley Valley ecosystem and the importance of our natural resources. And, it helps our business climate by encouraging tourism which is our area’s largest economic asset.”
The County has completed several restoration projects on the 81.5-acre preserve. In May 2013 the former Woodcreek North Property Owners Association building and eight condo units were demolished and removed from the floodplain, a new cedar post fence installed at the main entrance and remnants – asphalt streets, utilities and concrete pads – of a mobile home park were removed.
A new interpretive garden at the Nature Center has been planted with the help of Hays County Master Naturalists, who volunteer their time to educate the public through free tours offered each Saturday at 10 a.m. The Nature Center building is being updated to provide a more enjoyable meeting space. Trails have been added to allow the public access to 40-plus acres in the upland areas for additional recreational activities such as hiking, birding and geocaching.
The Natural Area is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, free of charge. Come out, learn more and enjoy the preserve!
For information about grand opening events or the Natural Area, please contact the Hays County Parks Department at 512-847-2140 or look for updates on

New Report on Texas Water Planning

TCPS issues report: Learning from Drought  
New Report on Texas Water Planning
A report issued today by the non-profit Texas Center for Policy Studies (TCPS) finds that the current water planning process in Texas tends to over-estimate future water demand and under-estimate the potential for making better use of existing supplies.  Richard Lowerre, TCPS Executive Director, said “This report shows that, with more reasonable demand projections and better use of conservation and drought management, the demand/supply gap in 2060 is less than one-half that predicted by the current 2012 State Water Plan issued by the Texas Water Development Board. That is, rather than an 8.3 million acre-feet/year gap between demand and supply in 2060, a more realistic gap is about 3.3 million acre-feet/year.”

The report, Learning from Drought: Next Generation Water Planning for Texas, analyzes the methods used by the state and the 16 regional water planning groups to develop demand and supply projections.  “The region-based Texas water planning process was groundbreaking when it first got off the ground 15 years ago.  But, times and technologies have changed, and it’s appropriate to look at how the planning process can evolve to give us a better sense of real priorities,” said Mary Kelly, a consultant with Parula, LLC and one of the report’s co-authors.  “This is particularly important as the state begins to look at how to spend the new $ 2 billion water infrastructure fund authorized by voters in November 2013,” she added.

The report makes a number of recommendations for the future of water planning in Texas.  For example, it recommends moving away from current “single scenario” forecasts to an approach that looks at a range of future scenarios.  “A multiple scenario approach would allow a much more comprehensive look at the kind of choices we make about how water is used and the expense of building new infrastructure versus more efficiently using existing supplies,” said Joe Trungale, an water resources engineer and co-author of the report.

Other recommendations include:
  • More reasonable assumptions about the need for water for future steam electric generation;
  • Enhanced consideration of drought contingency planning as a supply strategy;
  • More thorough consideration of brackish groundwater desalination as a supply strategy;
  • Gathering and using more accurate data on current water use;
  • Making healthy rivers and bays and vibrant rural economies co-equal with other goals of the water planning process.
“The drought has provided new insights into the vulnerability of communities whose needs have been ignored and into the willingness of Texans to adopt innovative and far-reaching water conservation practices.  Combined with the developments in state water financing, a more prominent role for the Texas Water Development Board and heightened public interest in water, now is the time to examine whether we have a planning process that is up to the task,” added Mr. Lowerre.

The Texas Center for Policy Studies is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, founded in 1983.  The report is available on the TCPS website at
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Our mailing address is:
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Austin, TX 78701

2nd Annual Growing Circles Benefit Concert and Dinner to benefit The Global Youth Peace Summit in Wimberley.

The WVWA has been working in partnership with The Amala Foundation to create youth and adult retreats here at the Retreat over the last year and a half.  If you are curious about the Amala Foundation and the Global Youth Peace Summit, which has been held here in Wimberley at John Knox Ranch for the last 7 years, I encourage you to read the message about their upcoming event and watch the video at the link provided.

The Amala Foundation has confirmed the date for the 2nd Annual Growing Circles Benefit Concert and Dinner to benefit The Global Youth Peace Summit in Wimberley.  It will take place June 10th, 7pm-9:30pm, at Vuka in Austin.
We're excited to announce that Gina Chavez, Phoebe Hunt, Mohinya (a classical music duo) and youth from the One Village Music Project will be performing.  Dinner will be catered by El Locavore Catering.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit this year's Global Youth Peace Summit (August 9th-15th). 
Our goal for the evening is to raise enough funds to sponsor 20 youth to attend this year's Summit.  

We would love for you to join us for this experience and help us support these incredible youth in their attempts to transform the wounds of war and violence into sustainable peace, inspiration and hope.

Here is a video we recently created with some of our youth and volunteers:

You can purchase tickets and/or a table (for 10) here.

Click here for the Event Flyer

Can't make it but want to contribute?  Please visit

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Conservation News and Info from TLTC

Conservation related news from Texas and beyond...
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TLTC Recieves $50,000 from the Knobloch Family Foundation

To Fund Transaction Cost Matching Grant Program

The Texas Land Trust Council (TLTC) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Knobloch Family Foundation to create a pilot program that will provide matching grants to member land trusts for transaction costs for conservation easement projects that meet certain criteria. The goal is to encourage strategic conservation, while providing transaction cost assistance in order to reach conservation easement donors for whom these costs have presented a terminal barrier.

This is a pilot program and through it, TLTC hope to demonstrate great financial leverage and on-the-ground conservation success. With these funds, TLTC will be able to award matching grants of up to $10,000 for at least 5 easement projects that reflect strategic conservation priorities.

We look forward to working with our land trust partners in the coming year on this exciting new program!

2014 Texas Land Conservation Conference Videos are Now Online!

Were you unable to attend the conference this year? Or perhaps you were there, but want to check out some of the concurrent sessions that you missed?  Our new 2014 conference session and keynote videos are now up on the TLTC YouTube channel! You can view selected workshops and keynote sessions including our keynote address by Bob Phillips of the Texas Country Reporter, our endangered species panel, our session on water policy in Texas, and our inspirational Lone Star Land Stewards panel.
Check it out!

Don't miss another opportunity to be there...
2015 Texas Land Conservation Conference
20th Anniversary, March 4-6, 2015, Austin
Land and water conservation inspired education, workshops, and networking. For more information on our 2015 event, visit: 

News Feed

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Thank you for supporting land and water conservation in Texas!!
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Senate Finance Committee Approves Tax Extenders Bill that Includes Conservation Easement Incentive

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