New plan provides shared vision for preserving the Texas Hill Country

Plan was built off input from those who live, work in the Hill Country

Natural Infrastructure Infographic (Texas Hill Country Conservation Network)

DRIPPING SPRINGS – A report released this month by the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network is shining a spotlight on the need for investing in conservation as Central Texas grows.

The Hill Country Land, Water, Sky and Natural Infrastructure Plan will provide a data-driven vision for conservation efforts for the region’s most important and defining natural resources.

“The Hill Country Land, Water, Sky and Natural Infrastructure Plan provides a shared vision for the Hill Country as well as a set of tools to plan and scale up investment in conservation within the region,” said Katherine Romans, current co-chair of the Network and Executive Director of the Hill Country Alliance.

The Texas Hill Country encompasses 18 counties, from Austin to San Antonio and as far west as Uvalde.

While San Antonio sits at the doorstep of the Hill Country, its population is also expanding.

Several impacts of population growth across the 18 counties are being felt in the form of increasing pressure on groundwater resources, land fragmentation and loss of natural areas, and light pollution that clouds the view of the stars at night.

Conservation partners joined to create a plan that would proactively protect the natural resources central to the identity of the Hill Country.

Some key takeaways from the plan are:

  • In more than 2,800 survey responses from residents across the region, the protection of water resources was the single largest concern by far.
  • 85% of survey respondents are supportive of increasing public funding for conservation.
  • Six different conservation goals — ranging from protecting water supply to ensuring recreational access — were mapped and prioritized as a part of the study.
  • Natural infrastructure is the cornerstone of thriving and resilient economies and an essential foundation of community health and safety.

While the plan will be used to inform strategies and persuade communities to contribute investment, it does not “intend to commit an individual, organization, agency or municipality to a particular priority or approach,” the network’s website said.

For more information on the infrastructure plan, click here.

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About the Author:

Mason Hickok is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, walking his dogs and listening to podcasts.