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00000174-b11b-ddc3-a1fc-bfdbb1d30001HearSA is an online audio archive of public programming intended to foster discussion and enhance awareness of informative local presentations and events. The archive includes lectures, panel discussions, book readings, and more. HearSA is presented by Texas Public Radio in association with its local partners. It is important to recognize that the opinions presented in these programs are those of the author or presenter, not Texas Public Radio or any of its stations, and are not necessarily endorsed by TPR.If your organization hosts lectures, book readings, panel discussions, or presentations and is interested in participating, email HearSA curator, Nathan Cone at ncone [at] tpr dot org

Replacing Mother Nature Can Be Expensive

Nathan Cone
Texas Public Radio
L to R: Katherine Romans, Rep. Andy Murr, Hughes Simpson, Dr. Tom Arsuffi

“We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude,” Dr. Tom Arsuffi stressed near the beginning of the most recent Texas Water Symposium. The panel discussion, moderated by Katherine Romans, Executive Director of the Hill Country Alliance, also brought together District 53 Rep. Andy Murr and Texas A&M researcher Hughes Simpson to discuss the preservation of natural assets.

“We’re losing those free things that nature provides us,” Arsuffi continued, referring to everything from photosynthesis to healthy soils that capture and retain moisture. “The irony of this whole thing is that to replace that free stuff that nature provides us, we’d have to come up with very costly technological solutions.”

Representative Murr noted, “The dollar drives more property owners to do things or not do things in taking care of what they have. The concept that I follow… is, ‘leave it the same or a little bit better than you found it.’” Rep. Murr said with Texas’ population growth, what he’s seeing are new property owners from the city that don’t know how to properly care for the bit of “heaven” they’ve acquired. Urban residents and lawmakers need education about rural needs and how to run land outside of the city.

Credit Nathan Cone / TPR
Llano River at sunset.

Arsuffi also laid out the economic impact of eco-tourism in the Hill Country when he shared figures from an economic study performed  by a student at Texas Tech in Junction: “Just fishing for the state fish of Texas generates $75 million dollars a year for the Hill Country, and nearly 800 jobs. Just fishing for Guadalupe Bass. That’s a good argument for keeping waters healthy and clean waters flowing in our Texas Hill Country rivers, but that doesn’t even take into account the economic value of kayakers, canoers, swimmers, birders… so the economic value of our Hill Country Texas rivers is an incredible economic generator.”

Listen to and download the complete Texas Water Symposium audio in the below player. The program opens with a reading by Bill Neiman from the wrtings of Wendell Berry.

Moderator: Katherine Romans, Executive Director, Hill Country Alliance


  • Rep. Andrew Murr, District 53
  • Hughes Simpson, Program Leader, Texas A&M Forest Service
  • Tom Arsuffi Ph.D., Director of the Llano River Field Station at Texas Tech University

Water, essential for life, is our most precious and valuable natural resource, but water supply is limited and under increasing pressure from a growing population. How will we protect this resource and plan for a sustainable future? There is a great need for a water-literate public; decisions being made today have far reaching and long lasting effects for our children and future generations.
Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.