Conservationists: Preserve Open Spaces
Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance is formalizing key elements of a coalition organized to conserve open space in Comal County.
Agenda items for the meeting, scheduled from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 at McKenna Center, 801 West San Antonio St. in New Braunfels, include:
- Naming the coalition
- Outlining a mission statement (click here to view proposed version)
- Scope and activities
- Other groups that might join (click here to add suggestions)
Why a Coalition?
Aquifer Alliance, working in partnership with League of Women Voters of Comal Area and Hill Country Alliance, says it’s concerned that until investment in conservation occurs in a more “strategic way,” Comal County will lose land 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, 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.”
Uptick in Industrial Activity
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.
“Comal County has been among the top ten fastest-growing counties in the country for the past four years running,” says Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance. “Until we see investment in conservation happening in a more strategic way, we will continue to lose land to development much faster than we protect it.”
“Budget constraints often prevent most counties and cities, especially small rural cities like Bulverde, Garden Ridge, and Spring Branch, from going out and purchasing the open space or park lands desired by their constituents,” says Annalisa Peace of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, another organizer and moderator for the evening. “We have to look at how other communities in the Hill Country are creating conservation opportunities, and think about if and how we can create those same tools for landowners in Comal County.”