In 1973, during the administration of Governor Dolph Briscoe, the Governor’s Office authorized a comprehensive study of land resource management in Texas. At that time, as described in the forward to the study, our state was beginning to face “certain land use problems similar to those which have been experienced by older, more densely populated and heavily industrialized sections of the country.” The population of Texas then was 12 million, less than half of what it is today. The resulting nine volume study, available for download below, is rich with history and insight into Texan styles of development and land use management. Remarkably, many of the problems outlined in these volumes, relating to water, rural-urban conflict, and the viability of working lands, are still with us in the Hill Country today. Unfortunately, many of the solutions suggested in this study, including increased land use authority for counties and more comprehensive regional planning, are as controversial now as they were then, if not more so. This study shows that the time to address chronic land use issues in Texas is past due. The problems we face will not be solved without bold new approaches to management, stewardship, and development.
Download the Texas Land Use Study below: