Emily Zendt

Texas Parks and Widlife

A 100 year-old battleship anchored in Houston started taking on water last weekend – and has since sunk two feet into the ship channel.

The crew of the U.S.S. Texas noticed a leak early Saturday and have been pumping out water ever since. The ship’s crew has also been working around the clock to stop oil aboard the ship from leaking into the channel.

Ship manager Andy Smith says the crew is filtering and skimming the water and is also using a floating barricade to prevent contamination of the channel. “We don’t have any oil in the water right now; that’s just a precautionary measure,” Smith says. “So we’re in the process right now of cleaning that oil up and kind of maintaining the status quo with the water coming in.” 

Five storage units containing disaster response equipment at the Bastrop State Park were broken into last week. About $16,000 worth of state equipment including chain saws, power tools and two generators were stolen.

Mike Cox with Texas Parks and Wildlife says  when funding is available, "the  equipment will need to be replaced to maintain the same level of preparedness we had prior to the break-in."

Emily Zendt for KUT News

Texas courthouses are named on a list of the “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” in the U.S., released by The National Trust for Historic Preservation this morning.

Texas has 244 historic courthouses in the state – that’s the largest collection of county courthouses in the country. About 63 of them have been fully restored, including central Texas’ Williamson and Lee County courthouses, but more than 70 are still in need of serious repairs.

Texas courthouses on the whole were first placed on the list in 1998; the following year, the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program was created by Governor George W. Bush. Since its inception, the program has awarded nearly $247 million to 83 counties for the preservation of their courthouses.

Photo by Mario Jacinto for KUT News

Fire-ravaged Bastrop State Park is in second place in an online competition naming “America’s Favorite Park.” At stake? First place is a $100,000 grant, second place nets $50,000 and third place gets $25,000.

The park was devastated last year by the Labor Day wildfires which burned 96 percent of the historic 6,500 acre park. Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Rob McCorkle says the grant money would allow the park to extend a contract with an American YouthWorks team that’s been rebuilding trails and bridges.

McCorkle says despite the damage done by the fires, the park is making a comeback. “Everything is pretty much up and running – it’s just the landscaping that took such a serious hit from the fires.” The park largely reopened in April.

Image courtesy City of Austin

The City of Austin wants to know: What do you want our waterfront to look like in 20 years?

Starting tonight, planners are facilitating a three-day discussion on the future of Lady Bird Lake’s “south shore central” area – Congress Avenue, First Street and eastward, including sites like the Hyatt Regency and Austin American-Statesman building. The talks kicked off this morning with boat tours of the area at stake.

Alan Holt, a principal planner with the city, says that this area is lacking in good infrastructure and “like it or not, slated for some big changes because there are a lot of parking lots and development at the end of their shelf life.”