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And the winners are …

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Katy McElroy

The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District has announced the winners of the 2017 Groundwater Stewardship Awards. The press release states that these awards are presented every two years to “deserving individuals, organizations, companies or agencies that have invested exemplary effort towards the protection and conservation of water resources in the District.” The five-member board of directors selects the winners for each of the six categories from nominations gathered from the public and district staff. This year’s winners are:

  • Permittee of the Year: Ruby Ranch Water Supply Corporation. According to the release, this group has been a “collaborative partner with the district … and worked together with the district to navigate the TCEQ application process, designed and implemented several phased step/cycle testing of injection and recovery, helped collect detailed water quality data, and participated in refining the District rules.”
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Jack Sharp. Dr. Sharp is being recognized for his 32year tenure at the UT Austin Jackson School of Geosciences, where he “has researched and published landmark concepts in Edwards Aquifer related hydrogeology, founded courses to introduce students to groundwater issues in Central Texas, and supervised over 125 students – many of whom chose to research topics that provided valuable insight into groundwater dynamics pertinent to the Aquifer District.”
  • Aquifer Advocate Award: Will Conley. In addition to his political roles, he is also a local business owner, who the district recognizes has “been a strong advocate of science-based groundwater management, a proponent for additional monitoring sites to better understand dynamics between the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers, and a political leader in extending groundwater protection in Hays County.”
  • Water Quality Protection Award: Protect Our Water. The “grassroots advocacy group has been an active, passionate voice during the City of Dripping Springs’ wastewater permit request,” the release states.
  • Innovation Award: City of Austin Education Cave Restoration Team. This group is commended for finding “creative solutions to enhance underground classrooms and provide safe and accessible environments to teach about underground habitats, aquifer dynamics, and water quality protection.”
  • Education Award: City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Sheffield Education Center. The press release states that this center “effectively educates visitors about local endangered species, water quality protection, and responsible land management.”

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