Just how exactly does a conservation organization go about protecting the free-flowing—and deep-running—water in Texas rivers? It turns out there are a couple of ways.
You can start by partnering with conservation-minded landowners like Peter and Mary Faye Way and the Johnson siblings, William “Bill” Johnson and his sisters Burdine Johnson and Lucy Johnson Hadac. In January, those families donated conservation easements totaling 2,533 acres in Hays County that will protect 3½ miles of Blanco River frontage and important Edwards Aquifer recharge lands.
The easement donated by the Johnson-Hadac siblings covers 2,193 acres of the Halifax Ranch, established by their parents, Jack and Burdine Johnson in 1933. For them, it’s a way to preserve their family history and protect the central gathering place in their lives. Peter and Mary Faye Way hope their 240-acre easement will spur similar conservation efforts among other landowners within the Blanco River watershed.
When you’re looking for ways to protect freshwater, it also pays to think big. Big as in Houston, the biggest city in the Lone Star State. In October, Mayor Annise Parker of Houston invited The Nature Conservancy and a host of other businesses and non-profits to help the city implement its “Green Office Challenge,” a friendly competition for commercial property owners, managers and tenants to improve the environmental performance of their businesses. The challenge will help cut back on waste and reduce energy and water use and will ultimately make Houston’s vast cityscape a cleaner place to live and work.
But the most effective way to protect water is to plan ahead, as the voters of San Antonio did in November by renewing the Edwards Aquifer Initiative (Prop. 1) for the third time in a decade. Prop. 1 will raise $90 million to protect critical recharge lands above the aquifer. In addition, the passage of Prop. 2 will raise $45 million for urban linear parks.March 05, 2011