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Hill Country

[Please see a landscape video about the Hill Country]

[Please listen to memories and testimonies about the region*]

The Hill Country or Edwards Plateau region is made up of a 20 million acre area of Cretaceous limestone, broken in its center by a 2 million acre intrusion of Precambrian granite known as the Llano Uplift. The region stretches from Glen Rose in the extreme northeast, southwest to Austin, San Antonio and Del Rio, and northwest to San Angelo, with rainfall peaking in the east at 32 inches, and dropping to 16 inches on its western edge. This plateau is cut by rolling hills, canyons, and spring-fed streams, and covered with a mix of ashe juniper, persimmon and mesquite woodlands, oak savannas, and grasslands.

Some of the larger protected areas include the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and associated city and county preserves (32,600 acres), the Devils River State Natural Area (19,989 acres), the Government Canyon State Natural Area (6643 acres), Kerr State Wildlife Management Area (5370 acres), Lost Maples State Natural Area (2174 acres), Pedernales Falls State Park (5212 acres), and other preserves.

The area has suffered extensive soil loss, bank erosion and invasion of hardy, unpalatable woody species such as juniper, due to hard grazing by sheep and goats. In more recent years, concern has grown over the conversion from such agricultural uses, the related fragmentation of larger rural tracts, and the development of tourist and retirement communities. Given the porous substrate, there is worry that runoff from this more intensive development will pollute area streams and aquifers. The Hill Country's Edwards Aquifer is also threatened by San Antonio's complete reliance on it for its drinking water, which may cause its partial dewatering and contamination by lower saline aquifers.

Additional information about the region is available from:

Bamberger Ranch Preserve

Bexar Audubon Society

Bexar Land Trust

Hill Country Alliance

Hill Country Conservancy

Kerr Wildlife Management Area

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

San Marcos River Foundation

Save Barton Springs Association

Save Our Springs Alliance

* Audio segments kindly shared by the Hill Country Conservancy


Conservation History Association of Texas
Texas Legacy Project

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