Precinct 1 Director
What brought you into the environmental and groundwater resources management world?
I come from a background of science, technology and communications. My father was a geologist, my mother’s ancestors were horticulturists and she herself an expert in native plants. I learned to look at the natural world through their eyes, to understand the earth, the forces that shape it, and the interconnectedness of all flora and fauna. Conservation and environmental awareness are integral to how I view the world.
I graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Journalism in 1984 and worked for the Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department from 1988 – 1999, overseeing internal and external communications programs. In those days, Environmental Health programs drove many media inquiries to which I responded as a spokesperson for the department – including water quality monitoring of Barton Springs pool and McKinney Falls on Onion Creek — and enforcement of septic tank regulations and permitting. During this time, I increased my understanding of basic hydrogeology and sources of pollution through the lens of protecting Public Health.
My father served on the Texas Region K planning committee for more than a decade after his retirement and from him, I learned much of the history of water conservation districts, the enabling legislation, and the key issues all districts face in managing and protecting our aquifers.
Last, my wife and I moved our family to the Rolling Oaks subdivision in Driftwood in 1995, and we have been well owners since then. We experience first-hand the impact of drought and flood upon the aquifer (we are in the Trinity, underlying the Edwards). Efforts to mine the water without regulatory oversight or supported by sustainable yield data led to an awakening that we were in a no-man’s land loophole, unprotected by any groundwater conservation district. We are so appreciative of the work of Mary Stone and the other BSEACD board members and staff, as well as other elected officials at the state and local level that made it possible for the district to extend its boundaries to include us and protect well owners’ rights in the area. I welcome the opportunity to serve the district, repay those efforts in some small way, and represent all well owners in Precinct 1.
What would you like to see the District accomplish in the next 5 to 10 years?
My goal is to bring my marketing and communications background to help support the goals of the district. Education and public awareness are central to many of those goals, whether that be reducing pollution in general or conserving/reusing/recycling water in the home. Additionally, I see a need to build the district’s capacity to fight the legal battles that I believe will only increase as development-driven demands increase. I’m interested in building broader advocacy for aquifer protection and fundraising to help fight damaging aquifer over-pumping in the courts.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for the District?
Protecting the aquifer from over-pumping and pollution as the population explodes in Hays and Travis Counties, and as already mentioned, funding the legal defense of the aquifers under our protection.
How do you and your family conserve water?
- We follow the California drought rules for toilet flushing year-round – “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down.”
- We keep a pitcher on the countertop in the kitchen and pour in all remaining sips from water and tea glasses into it to use on house plants.
- We use low flow showerheads and toilets and only run the dishwasher when full.
- We xeriscaped our yard with drought-resistant plants and native grasses.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
- I’m a songwriter, although not commercially successful, and I love to sit and pick with both friends and strangers.
- I am a foodie. I love to hunt, fish and process all my own game, then find delicious ways to serve it to my family and friends.
- I’m a 7th Generation Texan.