Hays County Parks, Open Space & Natural Areas Plan
Hays County’s contractor, Design Workshop (http://www.designworkshop.
com/austin.html), will unveil a draft of the Parks, Open Space & Natural Areas Plan on Thursday, June 30, at 6:30 pm at the Hays County Extension office, 1253 Civic Center Loop, San Marcos. This will be a chance to see the results of all the input gathered from many of you over the last few months through meetings and online surveys.
Kudos to all of you who heard the call to complete the survey near the end of the information gathering phase of the project! Your voice was heard and should be strongly reflected in the plan. Though the input phase is over for determining what citizens would like to see in our county, we suspect Rebecca Leonard would be delighted to hear your comments on the plan document itself at the unveiling noted above. We hope to see you there and get your reaction. The final version for adoption by the commissioners may not be complete until September. Click here for more info on the parks master plan process.
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)
Thanks to the San Marcos River Foundation for alerting us that the HCP to protect golden-cheek warbler and black-capped vireo was approved by USFWS. This means the rolling land bank plan that was proposed a year or two ago has overcome the biggest hurdle! The first batch of preserve land will be purchased with a portion of the county parks bond approved by voters in 2007.
The plan allows people to buy mitigation credits from the county to replace land they build on that includes fragments of bird habitat, and the money will go to buy more conservation lands or conservation easements as part of larger contiguous tracts. The plan is to preserve many thousands of large blocks of acres over the next couple of decades, so some of the birds can survive. This is a small step in the right direction, though it does not necessarily preserve the most critical lands for water recharge or water quality. But the county says they will also be looking at that criteria as they purchase lands, because they know many county citizens care about water issues, and that criteria is written into the plan as another objective.