Hays County, nonprofit TreeFolks continue efforts to restore areas of Blanco River damaged in 2015 floods

The 2015 Memorial Day flood caused multiple deaths and massive property damage to homes along the Blanco River in Hays County.

The 2015 Memorial Day flood caused multiple deaths and massive property damage to homes along the Blanco River in Hays County.

An agreement to continue a sponsoring partnership with TreeFolks, Inc. was approved by Hays County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, Aug. 14, enabling the nonprofit to expedite the restoration of devastated areas along the Blanco River in the county caused by the 2015 Memorial Day flood.

TreeFolks, an organization that works with communities throughout Central Texas on tree planting and reforestation efforts, was granted $198,000 toward continuing a Hays County assessment and implementation program called Trees for the Blanco.

In September 2015, Hays County entered into the initial agreement with TreeFolks which began the restoration program. Since its established partnership, TreeFolks has received over $700,000 from Hays County in support of local recovery efforts, Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe said.

Hays County Chief of Staff Clint Garza said more than 230,000 cubic yards of debris have been removed from the banks of the Blanco River following the flood. Over 200 private landowners were aided by the TreeFolks program; another 50 to 75 landowners are left to be helped.

“The small trees we plant will bend as they grow and disperse the water,” TreeFolks reforestation manager Andreina Alexatos said. “They won’t get washed away if another flood were to happen because of their flexibility to slow down the water. The planted trees will help contain the water in the river and keep the bank from expending. We have sped up the natural process of vegetation growth, knocking off about 10 years. This will be the last year of the program.”

Addressing citizen concerns about public funds being used on private property, Commissioner Lon Shell said it was important for the county to step up in a time of need that affects public health and safety.

“Restoration of the river is important so that we can preserve it and enjoy it, and our children and grandchildren can enjoy it,” Shell said. “I believe Hays County stepped up in a time when it was needed. This is something that had to be done. I don’t know many property owners that could have put together a program like this to remove that debris. So, if we didn’t do it, I don’t think it would have been done. And if it wouldn’t have been done, Hays County would have been a worse place because of it.”

The 2015 Memorial Day flood caused multiple deaths and massive property damage to homes along the Blanco River in Hays County. The river rose more than 10 feet above previous record levels within hours of the 13 inches of rainfall.

With help from Hays County and other sponsors, including State Bar of Texas, Impact Austin, H-E-B, David Weekley Homes, Apache, Arbor Day Foundation and the Learning Pear, TreeFolks has planted over 140,000 trees along 20 miles of the Blanco River.


Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)
Texas comptroller predicts slow, steady economic turnaround post-pandemic

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the state entered the era of the coronavirus in a healthy financial situation, which bodes well for the future as reopening continues, but that Texans are not out of the woods yet.

Nursing facilities across Texas will be able to apply for federal funds to purchase devices to connect residents to friends and family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces $3.6 million project to connect nursing home residents to families

Gov. Greg Abbott announced May 27 that $3.6 million will be provided to nursing facilities to purchase tablets, webcams and headphones to connect residents with family members.

Amie Gonser will open 620 Art Gallery & Studio in June as a fine art gallery and space for art education classes. (Courtesy Amie Gonser)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: News on 20 Central Texas businesses and nonprofits

Read about Central Texas business news from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage this week.

Voters are encouraged to bring their own equipment in order to prevent catching or spreading coronavirus.(Graphic by Matthew T. Mills /Community Impact Newspaper)
State of Texas releases voter health checklist for polling stations in June and July

Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs released a checklist May 26 for voters to follow to help prevent the spread of coronavirus at polls.

The Townlake YMCA is one of the local facilities reopening June 1. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
YMCA of Austin to reopen area facilities June 1

Townlake YMCA, Southwest Family YMCA, Northwest Family YMCA, Springs Family YMCA, Bastrop YMCA and Hay Communities YMCA facilities will be reopening June 1.

Starting June 1, the Buda Public Library will be opening for limited grab-and-go service. (Evelin Garcia/ Community Impact Newspaper)
Buda Public Library to open with limited grab-and-go service June 1

The Buda Public Library will be opening for the public with limited grab-and-go service starting June 1 in addition to its curbside and phone services.

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Centennial is located in Frisco. (Courtesy Baylor Scott & White)
Baylor Scott & White Health to lay off 1,200 after reporting 'drastic drop' in visits

The layoffs represent 3% of the health system’s workforce.

Starting May 29, water parks will be able to open up to 25% capacity. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott issues proclamation allowing water parks to open

Starting Friday, May 29, water parks will be allowed to open but must limit guests to 25% of their normal operating capacity.

The flute section of the Rouse High School marching band from Leander performs in this 2017 file photo. (Courtesy Leander ISD)
Texas schools may begin hosting sports workouts, band practices June 8

The University Interscholastic League released guidelines for allowing sports workouts and marching bands to practice.

Residents will be able to comment on projects funded through the CDBG-CV grant at a June 2 City Council meeting. (Anna Herod/ Community Impact Newspaper)
City of San Marcos seeks public input on projects for COVID-19 response funds

A virtual public hearing will take place at a June 2 San Marcos City Council meeting to comment on proposed programs and projects to be added to the 2019-20 Community Development Block Grant Action Plan using CDBG-Coronavirus Response funds.

LIST: What is open, closed in Texas and how businesses can operate

Texas openings are staggered with different opening dates and operating limits.

New Braunfels is the third-fastest-growing city in the U.S. from 2010-19, according to the latest census numbers. (Community Impact staff)
These 5 Central Texas cities are among the fastest-growing in the U.S.

Four of the five cities represent notable growth in Williamson County.