In this issue:
Water Groups Help Watersheds, Giving Tuesday, Blue Index Austin, No Dumping Sewage, Protect Our Blanco, the Texas Water Symposium, Permian Basin Pipeline, Unsticking Conversations, Sentinel Peak Preserve, and the Devil's Backbone.

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Watershed Groups have a Positive Impact on Water! 

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed what we've known all along - watershed nonprofits improve water quality in their local watersheds! This is the first empirical evidence that nonprofit organizations can provide public goods, said Christian Langpap, an Oregon State University economist and study co-author with Laura Grant, an assistant professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College.

"Environmental nonprofit groups are assumed to provide public goods," said Langpap, an associate professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences. "But until now that assumption has never been tested empirically. We determined that the presence of water groups in a watershed resulted in improved water quality and higher proportions of swimmable and fishable water bodies."

The presence and activity of watershed groups can impact water quality in various ways, including oversight and monitoring, direct actions such as organizing volunteers for cleanups or restoration, and indirect actions like advocacy and education. 

The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association has been collecting and testing water from Cypress Creek and the Blanco River for the last 20 years, has removed over 5 acres of impervious cover from the watershed, and has set aside over 100 acres for conservation in the Wimberley Valley. We take pride in the work we've done over the last 22 years to create a healthier Wimberley Valley Watershed. Thank you for your continued support!

Can you believe 2018 is coming to a close? The holiday season is approaching, and this year, #GivingTuesday will be bigger than EVER!

What does that mean for you as a supporter of Wimberley Valley Watershed Association? It means keeping us in mind as we approach this amazing day of giving. Remember, your contribution is essential to our continued work in the Wimberley Valley and across central Texas. 

This year, we're making our BIGGEST impact by raising funds to help fund ONE WATER initiatives in the Hill Country! We have some big news that we are excited to share with you... very soon!

Help us raise awareness about our work by sharing your support on social media and using the hashtag #GT2018 to share and get your friends and family involved! We'll send more information as we approach the big day!

Blue Index Austin

Blue Index is participatory research project designed to gather feedback on 33 waterscapes throughout the Austin area. The focus of the project is capturing people's emotional response to water and photography. This data will help the city determine which waterways need a little bit more attention. This is also a great way that the community can share how it feels about the conditions of specific areas with policy makers. Public observations paired with scientific data can give us a more holistic view of our relationship with our waterways.

YOU CAN HELP!

Blue Index needs your help getting as much data as it can about these spots before then. So far, almost 1600 responses have been collected. The data collection period for this project ends in December!

Follow this link to find an interactive map with links to every station’s location.  The fall weather is a great time to enjoy Austin’s waterways. Take some some time to visit some of these beautiful spots, take a picture and record a response (each one takes less than 5 minutes).

WVWA met with Kevin Jefferey, (the creator of the Blue Index Project), in September and he has gifted us our own station to install at Jacobs Well.  We hope to have it up and running for you to visit by mid-November.

Click here to watch a short video segment on Blue Index Project done by Austin City View.

Unsticking the Conversation

7th Generation Labs believes every person and every community has a unique contribution to make to the world. Everyone living in the Wimberley Valley knows we live in a special place. A place we treasure. After the Memorial Day flood in 2015, FEMA said we're the most resilient community they had ever witnessed. How did generations before us create this resilience? How will we leverage this resilience to support future generations?

Join us as we explore these questions on Nov. 18 from 2 to 5 pm at the Wimberley Community Center.

Please be sure to get your tickets prior to this event, HERE. 

Permian Basin Pipeline heading to Hays Co.

This September, Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline (KMTP), a multi-million dollar Houston-based energy infrastructure company, announced its proposal for a $2 billion, 430-mile pipeline that would funnel natural gas from the Texas Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast. This pipeline is expected to cut through Hays County.  The pipeline would start in Waha in far west Texas and stretch across the Hill Country before ending in Colorado County, roughly 80 miles west of Houston. Officials estimate construction starting by Fall 2019 and for the pipeline to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2020.

According to a KTMP release, the project will transport up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas through a 42-inch pipeline with connections to the U.S. Gulf Coast and Mexico markets. According to the release, shippers that have committed to the Permian Highway Project include EagleClaw, Apache Corporation and XTO Energy, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation among others, according to the KTMP release.

Roughly 31.5 miles of the proposed pipeline will go through Hays County, said Allen Fore, vice president of Kinder Morgan. The pipeline will stretch through areas between Wimberley and Dripping Springs, as well as areas between San Marcos and Kyle. The project will add to the 13.5 miles of existing KMTP pipeline in the county.

Even though Kinder Morgan offers fair easement and construction terms to landowners, there will have to be lots of trees cleared and there is the possibility of property damage. This is the extent of our knowledge right now but we will keep you informed as we gather more information. Thank you to the Hays Free Press for their reporting on this matter.

No Dumping Sewage Update: Help us Reach our Petition Goal of 10,000 signatures!

Hill Country Rivers & Streams need YOU! Currently in the Hill Country there are several draft permits with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requesting to discharge into Hill Country creeks and rivers. Indian Creek, Honey Creek, and the Blanco River could be impacted if these permits are approved. NDS is advocating for beneficial reuse of treated wastewater as opposed to direct discharge into our precious Hill Country creeks and rivers. 

Please share the petition with your friends, and like us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Protect Our Blanco!

Protect Our Blanco is advocating for the City of Blanco to find alternatives to discharging 1.6 million gallons of treated wastewater into the Blanco River daily. The river's flow changes from season to season, sometimes only flowing at a very low rate. If this much effluent is put into the river, then during these periods of drought the Blanco could become a wastewater dominated river. This would be detrimental not only to the river's chemistry but also to the fish populations, well owners along the River, Blanco Springs, the San Marcos Springs, and those of us who enjoy cooling off in the Blanco on a hot day. 

Please consider signing the Protect Our Blanco petition and sharing their message with your friends and neighbors. We're all affected by what happens to this precious river, even if we don't live immediately downstream.

Texas Water Symposium

This Thursday November 8th, the Hill Country Alliance is hosting the Texas Water Symposium which is free and open to the public. The program, titled Treated Sewage and Hill Country Streams: Balancing Population Growth and Healthy Rivers will be held at the Schreiner University Cailloux Center in Kerrville, Texas. This will be a very intriguing conversation about the cause and effects of discharging treated sewage into Hill Country rivers by local and regional experts in the field.

Across the Hill Country, we are seeing a proliferation of permit applications to discharge treated wastewater directly into Hill Country creeks and rivers. Population increases are putting pressure on utilities to expand services, and many do not have the technical or financial resources to explore non-discharge options. Panelists will discuss the implications of wastewater discharge for our creek and river health, for the quality of rural well water, and will explore the alternatives for our region.

For more information on how to attend or listen in visit: http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/TexasWaterSymposium

Click here to visit the Hays Co Master Naturalist website. 

Devil’s Backbone Topographic Map

Sentinel Peak by Tom Jones

The Devil's Backbone by Tom Jones, HCMN

Our friend Tom Jones at the Hays County Master Naturalists wrote a great article about one of the most iconic drives in the Hill Country, the Devil's Backbone. This five mile stretch of road along Ranch Road 32 is on top of a narrow ridge, sits at an elevation of 1,225 feet, and offers incredible views of rolling ranch land. Tom had the opportunity to travel to the Backbone while studying the geology of Central Texas and later returned to the Devil's Backbone to accompany his son to El Rancho Cima Boy Scout camp on the Blanco River. 

The Devil's Backbone was created by erosion of the Edwards Plateau as the adjacent Guadalupe and Blanco Rivers became entrenched forming their respective watersheds. Rainfall runoff on the Devil's Backbone feeds into the Blanco or Guadalupe Rivers, depending upon which side of the watershed divide it falls on. The deep Blanco River valley is easily seen from the top of the Devil's Backbone, as it is flows southeast in close proximity and parallel to the Devil's Backbone. Looking at the geologic map, you can see the direction of the Blanco River suddenly makes a sharp left turn, changing its course to the northeast away from the ridge toward the City of Wimberley. The abrupt change in the flow direction is caused by the river intersecting a major fault line locally referred to as the Wimberley Fault. The river path then closely follows the fault to downtown Wimberley. Cypress Creek at the Blue Hole is also aligned along this same fault.

Faults have a big regional influence on ground water by creating pathways for rainfall to enter formations at the surface and recharge the deeper Trinity aquifers. A little closer to San Marcos this fault system has the same impact on the Edwards aquifer. In fact, roadside signs along the Devil's Backbone provide notification when you are entering the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. When you see one, you can be sure that the Balcones Fault System is nearby. The other local impact is that the faults allow deep underground aquifers a pathway for water to flow to the surface, creating springs. Great examples include Spring Lake, Barton Springs and the springs along the Comal River. 

Thank you, Tom, for this wonderful lesson on the creation and influences of the Devil's Backbone. To read this article in it's entirety, please visit the Master Naturalist website.

Save the Backbone!

Sentinel Peak Preserve is a Non-Profit organization created to PURCHASE, PROTECT & PRESERVE the land in the Texas Hill Country known as The Devil's Backbone on Hwy 32.  These magnificent 2,382 acres which includes the Blanco River have been host to the Boy Scout Camp called El Rancho Cima for over 63 years.  

Join Sentinel Peak Preserve and help raise $24.5 Million to purchase and preserve this beautiful land.

The Sam Houston Area Council (SHAC) is selling this camp which falls in both Hays County and Comal Counties and we are asking for public and private donations to purchase and preserve this land.

The Sentinel Peak Preserve's mission is to preserve the camp for future use for generations and protect our natural resources. Their vision is to continue to host campers, girls and boys and families teaching outdoor skills, aquatics, land stewardship, water conservation and life skills taught in Scouting programs.

Please be sure to visit the SPP website, here.

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Wimberley Valley Watershed Association
PO Box 2534
Wimberley, Texas 78676
512-722-3390
admin@wimberleywatershed.org

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