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Conservationists form Coalition

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Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance is asking the public for its ideas about how to create a coalition that would organize efforts to conserve open space in Comal County.

The group says it wants to create a “critical mass” to realize shared goals at a planning meeting from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17 at McKenna, 801 W. San Antonio St., New Braunfels.

Saving the Devil’s Backbone

Included on the agenda is an update on Sentinel Peak Preserve’s efforts to purchase the historic El Rancho Cima along Highway 32 for $24 million from Boy Scouts of America, which has owned the property for 63 years.

The 2,382 acres are part of the iconic Devil’s Backbone ridge line and includes pristine, deep water frontage along both sides of the Blanco River as well as 12 additional mesas.

The scout’s Sam Houston Area Council (SHAC) is selling the property, which falls in both Hays and Comal counties.

Uptick in Industrial Activity

Aquifer Alliance, working in partnership with League of Women Voters of Comal Area, says it’s concerned that until investment in conservation occurs in a more “strategic way,” Comal County will lose land like this to development much faster than conservationists can protect it.

It argues the county’s many unique features — headwaters springs of the Comal River, endangered species, and tourism and recreation opportunities created by Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe River — could be irreparably lost to unchecked development.

According to a mission statement and talking points prepared by Aquifer Alliance in anticipation of the Wednesday meeting, Comal’s growth is a mixed blessing.

“This growth brings enormous opportunity to our community, but also puts pressure on our water resources, wildlife habitat, rural landscape and quality of life — things that brought many of us here in the first place.”

The group notes there’s been a recent uptick in quarrying and other industrial activity in Comal County.

“Since the county possesses no authority to direct this activity away from our most-treasured open lands, we must take a proactive approach as a community to protect these places.”

The proposed coalition would promote investment in, planning for, and awareness of permanent land-conservation options for the county.

Read original presentations

Wednesday’s meeting is a followup to a Dec. 12 meeting about options for land conservation in Comal County.

Presenters at the Dec. 12 meeting included Comal County Engineer Tom Hornseth, League of Women Voters of the Comal Area’s Jensie Madden, attorney Julie Koppenheffer, San Marcos River Foundation’s Dianne Wassenich, and Hill Country Alliance’s Katherine Romans.

To see notes from the meeting, click here. To review presentations, click here.


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