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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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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Hays County plans to transform El Rancho Cima into public park along Blanco River

Hays County plans to transform El Rancho Cima into public park along Blanco River

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — It’s something many Wimberley residents have been aching for: a public park with waterfront access. Hays County has the ability to secure 533 acres of El Rancho Cima El Rancho Cima is a nearly 2,400 acre property County might use land for public park Now, that dream could finally come to fruition. Hays County has the ability to secure 533 acres of El Rancho Cima, with land on both sides of the Blanco River. This purchase would give the public…

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New Texas nonprofit offers novel approach for preserving coastal lands, combating global warming

New Texas nonprofit offers novel approach for preserving coastal lands, combating global warming

Herff Cornelius and his family have ranched in the Texas Gulf Coast for five generations, four in Matagorda County, but he is struggling to keep the tradition going. Growing up, he was one of nine siblings. Even though he was the only boy, his sisters did as much on the ranch as he did in the kitchen. He and his wife Nancy had two children, but both went off to college and can’t be as involved. Now Cornelius has a…

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Land for water

Land for water

The city is asking voters to send more money to a little-known program that protects Barton Springs. On a warm August morning, I stand in the dry bed of Onion Creek in Hays County and watch as Kevin Thuesen lowers himself into a hole in the earth. I pay attention when he stresses having three points of contact at all times because I’ll soon be following him into this small cave. Thuesen, a land manager for Austin Water Utility who…

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Monarch Observers Expect Largest Migration in a Decade

Monarch Observers Expect Largest Migration in a Decade

Monarch butterflies are heading to San Antonio in a year that could claim the largest migration in a decade. Based on robust activity in the monarchs’ primary Midwestern breeding grounds, Monarch Watch founder and expert Chip Taylor predicted “the migration should be the strongest since 2008.” Taylor shared the promising outlook in a recent population update on the monarch butterfly conservation organization’s blog. Read more from the Rivard Report.

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New Study: Riparian buffers Provide over $10,000/year/acre in reducing erosion, flooding, increased water purification, habitat, property values, more

New Study: Riparian buffers Provide over $10,000/year/acre in reducing erosion, flooding, increased water purification, habitat, property values, more

A new study released Wednesday found just one acre of riparian forested buffer results in more than $10,000 in annual economic benefits, including reducing erosion and flooding, increasing water purification, wildlife habitat and property values. The study– The Economic Value of Riparian Buffers in the Delaware River Basin– was prepared by ECONorthwest for the Delaware RiverKeeper Network. Specifically, the report looks at the value riparian buffers provide in the areas of water quality, carbon storage, air quality, flood prevention, property…

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Hill Country browse

Hill Country browse

The Texas Hill Country has the highest density of shrub-eating animals in the United States. Texas is home to about 4 million white-tailed deer, and about half of them live in the Hill Country and Edwards Plateau. In addition, Texas is home to more than 2 million goats, sheep and exotics, and the majority of these live in the Hill Country. These animals depend on browse, the leaves and tender twigs of woody plants, as an important part of their…

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Economic valuation of groundwater in Texas

Economic valuation of groundwater in Texas

Groundwater is a strategic economic asset, and recent Texas Supreme Court decisions have strengthened private ownership rights in groundwater. Despite the economic and political stakes, debate on how to actually value groundwater has been sparse. In response, this article sets forth seven methods of economically valuing groundwater in Texas and uses case studies and hypotheticals informed by real data to assess the valuation techniques’ strengths and weaknesses under a range of conditions… Read more from the Texas Water Journal  

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Prince Charles says people’s connection with countryside is dying

“Prince Charles has warned that the majority of people have ‘lost any real connection with the land’ as he outlined his concerns about the future of the countryside. He stressed the benefits to the wider economy of the countryside’s ‘ecosystem services’ – with meadows and other grasslands storing millions of tonnes of carbon, providing homes for pollinating insects, supporting the agricultural economy and areas of beauty attracting visitors to boost local tourism.” These issues translate here in the Texas Hill…

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