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Eight point three miles southwest of Comfort, Texas and one hour from San Antonio, Texas; the eighty three acre Oak Canyon Ranch is now available for sale. Ideal for hunters and families seeking solitude within easy reach of San Antonio, Boerne, Comfort, Kerrville and Fredericksburg; Oak Canyon Ranch offers quintessential Texas hill country settings, views, topography, and sunsets. Enjoy the peaceful solitude of the spring fed lake in the canyon along with views for miles from the hilltop overlooking the ranch and surrounding countryside. As a true Texas hill country sportsman’s paradise, Oak Canyon Ranch is home to numerous species of game including whitetail deer, blackbuck antelope, axis deer, white wing doves, and Rio Grande turkey. Bask in the solitude, scenery, and silence from the covered porches of the ranch house while the cares of city life fade away in your own corner of the Texas hill country. Make Oak Canyon Ranch the beginning of your own Texas hill country land legacy. Contact Zachary Biermann of Texas Premier Ranch Realty to schedule a private showing or to start planning for your own personalized Texas hill country land legacy.
Groundwater, Policy, Politics and Land Prices in the Texas Hill Country
In Part I of this series, we took a close look at how the popularity of Texas hill country land and the empowering of Groundwater Conservation Districts (GCD) in 2001 marked the beginning of the run up in land prices statewide.
Now it’s time to take a look at the underlying resources and the politics that to this day, effect the value and usability of Texas hill country land.
Before we dig in, it helps to understand the broken slab and broken pipes geological nature of the Texas hill country, illustrated to some degree in the following map of major Texas aquifers:
Of particular interest to landowners in the Texas hill country are the violet and blue Trinity and Edwards aquifers.
Outflows along and from the from the base of the Balcones Escarpment form many of the most famous and prolific springs in the state. The natural springs of Texas best illustrate the health, and need for protection of, our underground aquifers.
Consider this: In Gunnar Brune’s seminal work “Springs of Texas” (1981), 281 major and historically significant fresh-water springs were identified. Four of these springs were designated “very large” springs with outflows of 100 cfs. Today, only two of the original four maintain the “very large” status: Comal Springs in Comal County and San Marcos Springs in Hays County. Of the 31 springs classified as “large”, only 17 remain today. (editor’s note: from a pricing standpoint, the “Springs of Texas” is suitable to enjoy with or instead of a bottle of 18 year old Macallan Single Malt).
It is likely that the legal principle, of the “rule of capture” established via precedent by the Texas Supreme Court in 1904 is one of three contributing factors contributing to the diminishment of Texas springs in the past decades.
Population growth in the Texas hill country is another obvious contributing factor. As developers and landowners sought to help fulfill the dreams of a “home in the country” for those looking for a quiet place to call their own; ranches were cut up and land parcels were subdivided into small acreage tracts, ranchettes, and large lot subdivisions on which the new owners were allowed to drill a water well and practice the “rule of capture.”
When, in 2001, the Texas State Legislature empowered existing Groundwater Conservation Districts to limit or alter the “rule of capture” via rules promulgated by the GCD, the first steps were taken to preserve the integrity of the aquifers. Note that 2001 also marked the same year that land prices in Texas began a steep climb from the trends of earlier years (insert link to previous article here).
A third, more contentious and ongoing contributing factor is the existence in Texas of “white zones” where, in the absence of an established GCD, the 1904 “rule of capture” is in full effect.
Take a quick look at the map of existing GCDs below. See all of that white space?
The white areas are the “white zones” where individuals and entities enjoy the unlimited protection of the “rule of capture” due to the lack of a regional GCD.
Nothing better illustrates the impact of population growth, limited groundwater, free-enterprise, “rule of capture” fallout and the impact of growth near the Texas hill country than the controversy generated by a Hays County, Texas “white zone” as depicted in the map below.
In fact, within the white zone illustrated in this map, there is an abundance of Trinity groundwater.
It’s helpful to note that the I-35 corridor running through Hays County is one of the fastest growing areas in terms of population in the United States.
It didn’t take the folks at Electro Purification long to understand that a line drawn from the Hays County white zone to just about anywhere along the booming I-35 corridor would easily pay for itself and its investors.
Plug “Electro Purification” into your favorite search engine to see that, even though the property owned by Electro Purification was annexed into the Barton Springs-Edwards GCD in 2015, the fight to protect the Trinity aquifer is still in full swing.
Essentially, as illustrated by the Electro Purification controversy, the existence of “white zones” and the “rule of capture” stand as a threat to the health of aquifers throughout the state of Texas.
As landowners better understand the dynamics surrounding the scarcity of groundwater, its inevitable regulation, and the popularity of the Texas hill country, land prices will continue to climb in the Texas hill country.
Resources and reading
South: Warmer than normal temperatures dominated the region with departures in west Texas 6-9 degrees above normal. It was a mainly dry week over the area, with just portions of eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas and into Louisiana recording above-normal precipitation with departures of up to 0.50 inches above normal. With the continued dryness in south Texas, some new areas of abnormally dry conditions were added this week with an expansion of moderate drought in far south Texas.
Looking Ahead: Over the next 5-7 days, the eastern United States has the greatest potential for precipitation, with the greatest amounts over the Southeast and into southern Florida. The northern United States also should see precipitation from the northern Rocky Mountains into the Great Lakes and New England. Temperatures look to remain colder than normal over the Midwest with departures of high temperatures of up to 20 degrees below normal. Warmer than normal conditions are expected over the West with high temperatures 3-6 degrees above normal.
The 6-10 day outlooks show that temperatures are likely to remain colder than normal over most areas east of the Rocky Mountains, with the greatest likelihood of below-normal temperatures over the Great Lakes and Tennessee Valley regions. Areas along the west coast and also in Alaska are anticipated to have the best chances of above-normal temperatures. The highest probability of below-normal precipitation is along the west coast and into the Southwest and southern Plains while Alaska, the northern Plains and much of the coastal areas of the East have the greatest chances of above-normal precipitation. Learn more about it here.
Research shows time and time again, whether it is because of profit or pain management, that the earlier you castrate, the better. A Kansas State University study showed that bulls castrated and implanted at an average of 3 months of age weighed 2 pounds more at 7.5 months of age than did the intact bull calves in the same study. At 7.5 months, the bulls were castrated, and then both groups were weighed 28 days later to assess gain. The steers castrated as calves gained 48 pounds, while the bulls that were cut at an average of 578 pounds only gained 33 pounds. That is a lost potential gain of 15 pounds, as these late-castrated bulls had to deal with the stress of healing from surgery. Learn more on how to get the most out of your ranch and raising cattle here.
The government has the power to seize land from citizens to build things like schools, roads and border walls although it is required to fairly compensate them. That power is more limited at the local and state level, where officials have enacted policies to protect landowners. Meanwhile, the federal government could feasibly take private land and begin building on it the same day — and pay the property owner later. Learn more about Eminent Domain and this issue here.
For Sale at eBay Motors now. https://www.ebay.com/itm/173702814624
Two owner 2008 Land Cruiser 200 Series. Meticulously maintained with maintenance records available from Toyota of Boerne.
12/26/18: Maintenance Records added at link below. Note, the passenger seatbelt detection module has been recalibrated a few times by Toyota and will occasionally give a warning light when lighter riders get in and out of passenger side while engine is running.
Texas Weather Report from the Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association.
Fewer planted acres, summer drought and late-season rains caused a significant drop in peanut production around the state, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Dr. Emi Kimura, AgriLife Extension statewide peanut specialist, Vernon, said planted peanut acres dropped to 155,000 acres from 275,000 acres in 2017, a 43 percent reduction.
SOUTHWEST: Temperatures were cooler with little to no rain. Some counties needed more rain, while others were hoping to dry out following recent rains. Some counties experienced the first frost of the season. Some pecan harvest was negatively impacted by wet soil, including the sprouting of some pecans. Livestock and wildlife were in fair condition.
SOUTH: Conditions were cool to cold with mild days and short to adequate soil moisture levels. Drizzling rain was reported in Frio County. Kleberg and Kennedy counties reported half an inch of rain. Forage producers cut their last little bit of hay. Peanut harvest was in full swing. Beef cattle producers increased feeding hay and supplemental protein. Wheat and oat planting was completed, and a majority of fields emerged. Pasture and rangeland conditions continued to decrease due to a recent hard freeze. Native rangelands and pastures continued to provide adequate forage for livestock in some areas. Zapata County reported improved pasture conditions. Body conditions scores on cattle remained good overall. Coastal Bermuda grass was already dormant. Zavala County reported cooler conditions provided excellent growing conditions for spinach and cabbage. Some supplemental water applications were made to spinach, onions, cabbage and carrots. Baby-leaf spinach harvest was expected to begin soon. In Hidalgo County, harvest of citrus, vegetables and sugarcane continued.