Texas Conservation Success Stories

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Brown’s Ranch in North Dakota: Guided by the “divine”

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Like almost everyone else in his rural community, Gabe had been farming and ranching using conventional methods since purchasing his Brown’s Ranch from the parents of his wife Shelly in 1991. Possibly because he had not grown up on a farm, Gabe found that he was constantly asking the question, “why do we do things this way?”

 

The Roots of the General Mills Regenerative Agriculture Program

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The nonprofit Soil Health Academy (SHA) is just one of many initiatives spawned by regenerative agriculture guru Gabe Brown in collaboration with additional expert partners. SHA holds regenerative agriculture workshops around the country that are open to anyone who’s interested, and they are routinely sold out.

 

Florida Partnership Enables Landscape-Level Prescribed Burn

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On March 2, 2018, a large prescribed burn occurred at the Yellow River Water Management Area in Santa Rosa County, Florida, which is managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District. Weather and atmospheric conditions were ideal and resources were available for the Florida Forest Service to approve the burn permit. Aerial ignition via helicopter started the fire systematically across the landscape. Ground firing and monitoring crews, consisting of 15 personnel were stationed at the tract perimeter as ground support during the burn.

 

Prescribed Fire Program Reduces Wildfire Severity

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Over four long days in late March 2011, the most severe wildfire outbreak in a decade occurred at Eglin Air Force Base, located near Destin, Florida (Fig. 1). A persistent drought, 20 mph winds and low humidity, combined with 12-15 arson fires on the property, resulted in 6,000 acres burned in a matter of days. Due to Eglin’s aggressive prescribed fire program, the March 2011 wildfire severity and acres burned were significantly reduced. Without this regular fuel reduction, anywhere from 10-12,000 acres could have burned just on the Eglin side, with untold acres burned and property damaged north of Interstate 10.

 

Creating a Fire Resilient Landscape in the Pisgah National Forest

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On July 14, 2015, a lightning strike ignited a wildfire on Bald Knob in the Grandfather Ranger District (GRD) of the Pisgah National Forest. Only 30 miles outside of Asheville, North Carolina and on rugged terrain difficult to access, the wildfire may have posed greater threat had it not been adjacent to areas containing recent fuel treatments (prescribed fire) and wildfires. These treatments, as part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), reduced fire fuel loads in the forest and enabled the Bald Knob fire to safely burn while protecting firefighters, local residents, structures, power line corridors, communication towers, and Forest Service property and surrounding land. Fuel treatments positively influenced the fire’s spread and allowed firefighting efforts to truly focus on protection of private properties. The inaccessible terrain as well as the confine and contain strategy allowed ample time to keep the effected community well informed of current fire behavior, smoke impacts and management plans for the fire.

 

Austin-Travis County Becomes a Model Fire Adapted Community Following Destructive Wildfires

Two destructive wildfires in 2011 brought the importance of wildfire preparation and protection to the forefront of the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas. These fires led to a multi-year, multi-faceted project to address wildland fire safety in Austin-Travis County.

The Austin Fire Department (AFD) provided the human-power, expertise, and educational resources necessary to address wildland fire issues. In 2013, the AFD, with federal, state, and local partners, developed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, a plan specifically designed to reduce wildland fire risk according to the needs of Austin-Travis County.

 

Operation Ponderosa

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In 2014, Texas A&M Forest Service partnered with The Nature Conservancy to begin reforestation efforts on the Davis Mountains Preserve.  Between 2015 and 2016, TFS received a 3-year $200,000 grant from USDA Forest Service for initial forest stand assessments and management prescriptions. Stands were marked and baseline data gathered in preparation for the thinning of 350 acres. Over 2,000 seedlings were planted in a site prep experiment, and as wildland planting. The wildland planting includes any seedlings that were planted outside of the pre-determined research sites

 

Laborcitas Creek Ranch

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Laborcitas Creek RanchWildlife habitat is flourishing in South Texas thanks to Laborcitas Creek Ranch.

 

Jack & Jan Cato

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Jack & Jan CatoFor more than three decades, Jack and Jan Cato have tirelessly pursued revitalization efforts on two ranches in two different ecological regions of Texas. Their Buckhollow Ranch is located in Uvalde and Real counties on the Edwards Plateau and the Stockard-Sirianni Ranch is in Frio County in the South Texas Plains eco region.

 

Dixon Water Foundation

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Dixon Water FoundationSpread across north central and southwest Texas, the five working ranches owned and managed by Dixon Water Foundation are sights to behold. Their mission, to promote healthy watersheds through sustainable land management to ensure that future generations have the water resources they need, has led to successful restoration of plant diversity, improved watershed conditions and wildlife habitat across all of their ranches.

 

Cook's Branch Conservancy

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Cook's Branch ConservancyThe George Mitchell family’s Cook’s Branch Conservancy, which consists of 5,650 acres in southeastern Texas, has been managed for nearly 50 years under a family tradition of conservation and sustainability.

 

Rufus Duncan Longleaf Pine Landowner Success Story

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Longleaf LegacyThis video describes how Rufus Duncan is helping restore the historic Longleaf Pine range at Scrappin' Valley in east Texas.

 

Simon Winston - A Longleaf Pine Success Story

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Longleaf LegacySimon Winston is restoring Longleaf Pine to his ranch near Nacogdoches Texas. Simon has received technical and financial assistance from many sources including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Longleaf Taskforce. Simon uses frequent prescribed burns to create favorable wildlife habitat and enhance the longleaf ecosystem

 

East Texas Landowners Bring Back Longleaf Pines

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Longleaf LegacyThis Success Story highlights East Texas landowner Lloyd Gillespie's efforts to bring back Longleaf Pines to Scrappin' Valley.

 

Longleaf legacy returns to Texas landscape

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Longleaf LegacyMike Howard is a landowner in Sabine County and is restoring Longleaf Pines on his property.

 

Treadwell Brady Ranch

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Treadwell Brady RanchThe Treadwell Brady Ranch implements all five of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold’s essential tools: axe, cow, plow, fire and gun. Efforts include habitat management, erosion control, supplemental food, water and shelter for wildlife, predator control, and wildlife population surveys.

 

The BigWoods on the Trinity

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The BigWoods on the TrinityDr. Robert McFarlane spent his youth hunting and fishing the lands and waters of the Middle Trinity River near Tennessee Colony. Those memories of the land stayed with him when he left for medical school at Harvard. When he returned, he saw a different landscape. It was fragmented, converted to pasture and farmland, and significantly different from the pristine land he remembered.

 

Temple Ranch

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Temple RanchArthur “Buddy” Temple purchased Temple Ranch, near Lufkin, in 1992. Since that time, Buddy and Ellen Temple, along with ranch operators, Robert and Jenny Sanders, have introduced many beneficial conservation practices.

 

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve

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Selah, Bamberger Ranch PreserveJ. David Bamberger’s Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve stands as a motivating symbol of the power of private landowner conservation.

 

Anderson Ranch

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Anderson RanchJim Bill Anderson and his family are exceptional stewards of the land, water, and wildlife of Anderson Ranch, which is located in Canadian, Texas in Hemphill County, and is comprised of over 5,000 acres.

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