Efforts encouraging Texas ranchers to restore native grasses show promise

Efforts encouraging Texas ranchers to restore native grasses show promise

There aren’t many pastures with native grasses left in Texas. Instead there are invasive weeds like bermudagrass and Old World bluestem. Some Texas landowners and nonprofits are working together to change that. Restoring native grasslands takes years and is an arduous process. But the payout is significant, because when native flora returns, fauna are often not far behind. For example, bobwhite quail are popular and profitable as hunting game. Once a native grassland is established, it requires less weed control…

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San Antonio Food Bank partners with hunters to collect deer meat for hungry families

San Antonio Food Bank partners with hunters to collect deer meat for hungry families

The San Antonio Food Bank is once again participating in the Hunters for the Hungry program, which is managed by Feeding Texas, to help those in need. Through the program, hunters can drop off legally tagged deer to a participating meat processor, and eventually, the meat makes its way to the San Antonio Food Bank. “We have dozens of processors that are independent organizations, for-profit companies, that we’re paying $1.20 a pound to process the venison that hunters might drop…

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Axis deer population control in Texas

Axis deer population control in Texas

Axis Deer Control Warranted Gillespie County AgriLife Extension and Hill Country Alliance have launched the Axis Deer Control Project and are encouraging landowners and hunters to participate. Axis deer are an exotic species that were introduced from India to the Texas Hill Country in the 1930s. Since their introduction, this species has proliferated in several portions of Gillespie County, adversely impacting native wildlife, particularly white-tailed deer. Exotic species such as Axis deer can out-compete native white-tailed deer because of their…

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Hill Country Land Trust to celebrate two decades

Hill Country Land Trust to celebrate two decades

The Hill Country Land Trust wants to get the word out about its conservation easement program as development from the east encroaches on area counties. The trust (HCLT) will mark its 20th anniversary with a “Conservation Celebration” on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Gilbriar Gazebo. In those two decades, HCLT has worked in partnership with private landowners to protect agricultural land, waterways and wildlife habitat. Those attending the event will meet Tiffany Osburn, an archeologist with the Texas Historical Commission…

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Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Temple, Texas, October 1, 2019 — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is taking applications through November 15, 2019 for floodplain easements through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Floodplain Easement (EWPP-FPE). The program’s focus is to provide landowners with another option for frequently flooded properties such as agricultural fields, forested land, fallow land, pasture and in certain situations residential areas in cooperation with a qualified sponsor. Through the EWP-FPE program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent…

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The long battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

The long battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

In 1975, Terese Hershey, one of the state’s most influential conservationists, purchased a 1,561-acre tract of land in Stonewall, Texas. For years, she protected the property from the encroachment of nearby development. She worked with The Hill Country Land Trust to establish a conservation easement and turned to Andrew Sansom, a former Texas Parks and Wildlife director, to manage the land with his wife, Nona. In the past eight years, the Sansoms have cleared more than 1,020 acres of cedar…

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Saving Part of the Former Boy Scout Ranch

Saving Part of the Former Boy Scout Ranch

An old saying tells us to invest in land because they aren’t making any more. That saying could be updated to say: Invest in undisturbed natural land because each day there is less of it! Unfortunately, the updated version is very true, which is why we need to take advantage of opportunities to protect such undisturbed natural land when they become available. Such an opportunity now exists in the former Boy Scout Ranch, El Rancho Cima. For more than sixty…

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Landowners got one Hill Country oil pipeline moved. But can they do it again?

Landowners got one Hill Country oil pipeline moved. But can they do it again?

A month after news surfaced that a pipeline proposed by a Texas-based petroleum juggernaut would run across the Edwards Aquifer, the primary source of water for San Antonio and other cities, the company said it would shift the pipeline’s path. It was a difference of approximately 65 miles, and Hill Country residents opposing the project cheered the change—a major victory given that the oil and gas industry typically doesn’t kowtow to landowners’ concerns. So why the monumental move by Enterprise…

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ULI releases report for “Activating the San Marcos Riverfront”

ULI releases report for “Activating the San Marcos Riverfront”

The Urban Land Institute released a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) report regarding land use along the San Marcos River in August. The City of San Marcos, the Greater San Marcos Partnership and Texas State University partnered with the Austin District Council of Urban Land Institute in Fall 2018 to examine land use along the San Marcos River. According to the report, “the Technical Assistance Panel offers recommendations for ways to unlock economic potential by making the river more connected to…

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Opinion: Vote ‘No’ on pipelines in Texas in coming elections

Opinion: Vote ‘No’ on pipelines in Texas in coming elections

Another pipeline battle is raging in our backyards. With a major election cycle churning, Texans have the chance to vote out fossil fuel protectors and imagine a new environmental future. The Permian Highway Pipeline, or PHP, has captured fewer headlines than other contentious projects, such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. However, those concerned about water quality in Texas and those demanding a decisive shift away from reliance on oil and gas must keep their sights on the…

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