Insight into water challenges

Thursday forum to bring experts’ talk of Pedernales

By Ken Esten Cooke— The Pedernales River rarely seems mighty anymore. Drought has taken its toll, but so have other, man-made factors, such as population growth, land fragmentation and changing land use.

These and other factors will be discussed at the next Texas Water Symposium event, titled “The Pedernales: Challenges and Opportunities Facing an Iconic Hill Country River Basin,” set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg.

State water guru (and sometimes Stonewall resident) Andrew Sansom, former executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, will moderate the discussions. Sansom now leads the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University and has become the authority on water-related issues in the Lone Star State.

Other panelists will include Tim Birdsong, ecosystem chief for Texas Parks and Wildlife; Mark Steinbach, executive director for the Texas Land Conservancy; City of Fredericksburg’s own Clinton Bailey, director of public works; Pam Mary Bergman, Hill Country Land Trust board member; and Howard Hicks, vice president of public affairs for Holt Cat.

The session will touch on the Pedernales basin’s history and the land that is a part of its 800,000-acre catchment area. The basin provides nearly a quarter of the flow into Lake Travis, and is a critical source of drinking water for downstream users.

Understanding the economic, social and ecological value of this diverse river will help us understand our population’s effect on it and better preserve the river for future generations.

The free Texas Water Symposium sessions are recorded and will be replayed on Texas Public Radio.

We thank the symposium’s collaborative partners for keeping water issues on the front burner: Schreiner University, Texas Tech University-Fredericksburg, Hill Country Land Trust, Texas Public Radio and the Hill Country Alliance.

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