The "Our Hill Country Counts" project will tell the story of the Hill Country past, present, and future. As our region looks to double in population over the next 25 years, it is critical to understand how growth and development is changing the face of the Hill Country.
- How much land have we conserved to protect water quality?
- How quickly are we losing agricultural lands to development?
- What is the impact of local efforts to protect the night sky from light pollution?
Through a series of quantifiable metrics, we will begin answering these questions and telling the story of the Hill Country. In collaboration with our partners and with ample community support, we will launch Our Hill Country Counts in the fall of 2017.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO MAKE THIS PROJECT A REALITY! With your donation, you'll be supporting the data collection, interpretation, mapping, graphics design and story telling that will make Our Hill Country Counts a compelling tool for elected officials, the media and the general public.
The Hill Country Alliance is dedicated to protecting the precious natural resources, unique heritage, and spectacular scenic beauty of the Texas Hill Country. HCA brings together citizens, business owners and lawmakers throughout the Hill Country to start conversations about the future of our region. We create newsletters, issue papers, mapping projects and studies that inspire a vision for how we protect the starry night skies, clean, flowing waters, wide open spaces and vibrant communities of our region. We work on four major issue areas:
We promote land conservation and stewardship by bringing together landowners, practitioners, and stakeholders to share information and knowledge. We build consensus for place-based land management practices that enhance long term water supply. We address the threat of invasive vegetation, promote restorative agriculture and ranching, and facilitate large-scale landscape conservation.
Proper water planning is crucial to the future of the Texas Hill Country and beyond. We work on state-wide policy disconnects between surface and groundwater management, address local issues of groundwater use and decision making, respond to threats to water quality, advance water infrastructure alternatives including rainwater harvesting, net zero water development, and water conservation. We promote sound science in groundwater decision making.
Little by little, light-by-light, the magical mystery of the big Texas night sky is diminishing. The Hill Country Night Sky program brings together citizens and experts to share the importance of proper night time lighting to keep the stars in Texas shining big and bright for generations to come. We build grass-roots consensus and support for outdoor lighting ordinances, dark sky resolutions, and a regional dark sky designation. We are establishing a business recognition program and Dark Sky Co-op pledge. We support educational programming and advance our understanding of light pollution in the region.
We promote healthy, vibrant communities both in the urban corridor and in rural areas throughout the region. We emphasize growth and transportation alternatives that accommodate population projections while minimizing our footprint. We support local elected officials and economic development staff, and convene important conversations around land use planning.
The work we do could not be accomplished without our incredible partners. We work across traditional boundaries to bring people together and inspire collaboration. We are always looking for new and creative ways to bring the arts, music, culture and history of the Hill Country into our conversations.
Guiding Principles and Values:
The Hill Country Alliance is dedicated to ensuring for future generations an opportunity to enjoy the unique features of the Hill Country region, including the countless spring-fed streams, its multi-ethnic and agricultural heritage, and spectacular scenic beauty.
Encourage Responsible Water Practices - The economy of the Hill Country and land values are dependent upon the water needs of today being balanced among current users, e.g. ranchers, development, and the environment, in a way that does no harm to the rivers, streams, springs and aquifers.
Inform the Friends of the Hill Country - A key to solving our region's challenges is to work collaboratively with all interested stakeholders in order to make honest and fair information readily available and to create opportunities for participation in decisions for the region.
Nurture Unified Support for Innovative Policy Changes - While the actions needed to sustain the Hill Country's natural features vary across the region-from the rapidly urbanizing southern and eastern portions, to the vast open spaces on the western and northern edges-there is a shared interest in respecting private property rights and encouraging locally grown solutions to complex issues through education.
Support Economic Development that is Compatible with the Hill Country's Unique Features - A key to keeping our Hill Country a special place for generations to come is to promote sources of income and financial stability for landowners and businesses so that ensuing generations are motivated to keep ranches intact and small towns functional.
The beauty and natural resources that make this region so precious are at risk. HCA needs your support continue our mission to protect the natural resources and unique beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Your donation will help fund education and outreach programs, scientific research, and collaboration with experts, organizations, citizens and policy makers.
"Many thanks for the information and all the action, and activities. You all provide an invaluable service to the region."
"(HCA's Newsletter) is one of the most diverse and valuable sources of conservation and environmental news and information available in South Central Texas. I urge everyone to check its front-page summary in every issue. You will likely find something of interest no matter where you live."
"I went to the HCA page and donated $35 to you guys. Not only because I love your calendar, and very much have enjoyed the Rainwater Revival the past few years, but also because you deeply support efforts to preserve the night sky. Your Night Sky page is amazingly full of great items and links."
"Thank you for the great resources about Billboards on your website! I saw the announcement about the new Fact Sheet from Scenic America, and followed the links to all the other wonderful things. You guys are great!"
Make Our Hill Country Count!by Katherine Romans
As an Austin resident, I know that the clean water I drink, the fresh air I breathe, and the wide open spaces I enjoy depend on a vibrant and healthy Hill Country. Please join me in supporting the Hill Country Alliance in bringing people together for the long-term health and protection of the Hill Country. We couldn't do it without you!