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Letter: ‘Wise stewards of this eternal source of life’

EDITOR:

On behalf of the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association Board of Directors and all of the long time friends of Jacob’s Well, I want to thank the Hays County Commissioners Court and The Nature Conservancy for approving the purchase of the 50 acres of land adjacent to Jacob’s Well. Saving this sensitive area from high density development is a vitally important step toward the preservation of the Hill Country.

This historic acquisition will establish the first county owned nature preserve; the preserve will be dedicated to the protection and restoration of native habitat, environmental education and aquifer research. The natural area is too fragile to become a traditional public park and will remain a low impact wildlife habitat with managed public access.

The spirit and vision of the Jacob’s Well Natural Area project has always been about conservation and stewardship of the aquifer and the watershed recharge area that gathers rain in the porous limestone landscape. A conservation easement will protect the conservation values and help guide the management and restoration of the 96 acre parcel surrounding the iconic Hill Country spring. The conservation easement on the new 50 acre acquisition will be held by The Nature Conservancy.

The two decades of work to assemble the numerous parcels of land into one single preserve is a milestone and now united by the people’s investment of parks and open space bond funds to acquire this unique natural treasure. The WVWA remains committed to the permanent stewardship of the land and will continue to coordinate and manage the restoration, watershed research programs and offer education and outreach for the public.

This purchase will end a three year lawsuit that has cost the WVWA considerable time and money; the acquisition will also settle a lawsuit between the developers and the City of Woodcreek that challenged the City’s water quality protection ordinance.

The consolidation of property will allow the community to move forward and build on the good work of the WVWA staff, board and hundreds of volunteers who have laid the foundation for trails, education programs and free public tours offered every Saturday morning. Through the preservation of this land as open space, the community will experience the wonder and mystery of the water and land heritage that is the Texas Hill Country.

My deepest gratitude to my family, friends and colleagues who have supported me and the WVWA over the years to help sustain our organization with your annual donations and devotion to this cause. Your support encourages us to persist in our collective vision to preserve Jacob’s Well and to be wise stewards of this eternal source of life.

DAVID BAKER
Executive Director
Wimberley Valley Watershed Association