The Boerne Star
By Milan Michalec, Cibolo Nature Center | Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:45 am
Beginni ng with the first humans who wandered through the land between the Edwards Plateau and the Coastal Plain of Texas, better known as the Hill Country, once abundant groundwater sustained the growth of this region.
Here, countless artesian springs were the foundation of life for the native people over the course of thousands of years and fostered the expansive growth of permanent settlement beginning with the Spanish Missions of the 15th Century.
It was this plentiful resource that attracted the early European settlers in the mid 1800s and fostered the settlement of Comfort, Boerne, Fredericksburg and New Braunfels.
As the rains came and went, they left behind recharged aquifers from which springs flowed to keep the rivers and streams running clear and cool.
It is this water moving through the Trinity Aquifer System that has nourished and sustained an ecosystem flowing from the headwaters of the Guadalupe River, west of Kerrville, over a course of more than 200 miles bringing freshwater critical to the marine life of the bays and estuaries of the Gulf Coast at the river’s mouth at San Antonio Bay.
This entire cycle begins with the first drop of rain that falls to the ground. In turn, this reminds us that it is good stewardship of our land that is the key to maintaining our water supply - a water supply inextricably linked as it moves both above and below the ground.
All previous settlers of this region learned how the land, and its resources, particularly water, could support only so many people, a certain quantity of livestock or a particular industry before its quality and a quantity would be impacted.
For all who choose the Hill Country today as their home, the new settlers, a call is being made for development that is designed to accommodate existing needs without compromising the ability of future populations to meet their needs.
Future growth must be respectful of the unique local conditions and not sacrifice those institutions and natural resources that contribute so greatly to an enviably high quality of life.
This includes preserving the natural scenic beauty, native wildlife, as well as the local historical and cultural heritage of this unique region.
Then as now, it is the clear running water from the seeps and springs of an aquifer system in balance that makes life in the Hill Country not just attractive, but perpetual.
The recognition of these simple principles will serve us well as we strive to achieve growth that is sustainable for those who live in the Hill Country today and for those who will follow tomorrow.
Milan J. Michalec represents Precinct 2 on the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District and is the current President of the Hill Country Alliance.