Cherish! Encourage! Affirm! Comal’s Rural Heritage…
May 1, 2021
Hike, cycle or drive across the expanse of Comal County and one notes considerable turning of soil surfaces or drastic clearing for home or commercial development. When the turned or piled topsoil is placed in a mound it is easy to imagine how that soil was previously supportive of crops and pasture. Speak with many newcomers as well as old timers and they’ll soon speak of the cherished rural heritage that has characterized much of Comal farms and ranches. Note, too, their excitement in describing the gifts of springs, rivers and a lake. This defines the attraction to become a Comal resident for their family future and home.
My own interest in agricultural production began very early with an in town “victory garden” alongside our family residence in a New Orleans neighborhood. The garden provided produce for our family and some of our neighbors at a time when so much we take for granted in our retail stores was rationed. In a very good week, we sometimes headed to the historic French Market. Though famous for the “fragrant” fish market, in another extension for vendors was an early version of what we know as our farmers’ markets. My parents knew a few of the vendors and brought our surplus items to add to their offerings for shoppers. One of the recipients handed out items to those known to be unable to purchase much during those very challenging times. Just down the vending area were mule or horse drawn carts loading to move through the neighborhoods with a hand bell in hand and a forceful voice promoting “fresh, ripe” items.
Later in my life and professional work networking with churches statewide, I received an invitation to join a meeting of some “agricultural interests.” (Lots of Texas churches are gathering places for a host of folks in that category.) Among the invitees were Texas Ag Department representatives, Texas Extension specialists and a representative of singer Willie Nelson.
The focus was on the rapidly rolling “farm crisis” racing south through the center of our country. Two objectives for action emerged. A Farm Crisis Hotline funded by FARMAID which the churches would coordinate and regional farmers’ markets that at first were located in shopping mall or church parking lots. Both activities reminded me of early conversations with those who toiled with the land and climate gifts and challenges.
When I was asked “why are we doing this?” I explained that underneath the obvious immediate needs are the commitments to “encourage, affirm and enhance” essential agriculture near where folks live and shop. Among many was a cherishing of the possible and for the future a way of life and commitment to cultivate the gifts of the land in our various Texas regions.
Stroll through our Comal farmers’ markets on any given day and in addition to healthy purchases from the vendors when they have a break, ask about their homestead and productivity as well as the challenges. You’ll find as I have some fascinating committed folks eager to engage.
Let’s broaden and deepen this conversation lest the cherished rural heritage vanish with the dozers once acres are repurposed. Join the efforts to encourage and affirm our rural acres still in production here in Comal County! Indeed, it will take the most cunning planning to provide good space for incoming folks while protecting needed farming and ranching. You’re invited to hear from and talk with some area ranchers trying to protect and produce on family acres. Find the May 11th 6PM virtual event at www.comalconservation.org. “See you on screen!”
Getting Started in Stewardship
By Steve Nelle
Whatever I think I have learned about land stewardship has not come from within; it has come from others, especially those who actually carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for the land. Much of my education has come from long-term multigenerational ranch families who have worked and struggled on the land for many years. But in recent years, I have come to appreciate another group of landowners who also has a lot to teach about land stewardship.
There is a large and growing number of newer-type landowners who do not yet have the long history on the land, nor the wisdom that comes from a lifetime of farming, ranching, and wildlife management. Nevertheless, many of them have important lessons to share.
Having succeeded in the corporate or professional world, they have now chosen to devote the best years of their life to a new endeavor—taking care of a piece of land. While they do not have the seasoned skills and understanding of the old-time landowner, they bring the creative skills and dedication which served them well in the business and professional world. They have a lot to teach us if we will listen.
There is a wealth of information available on conservation and land management. The volume of information is almost staggering, and for the new landowner, it can be overwhelming to sort through all of the material and figure out where to start. Since each piece of land is different and each landowner unique, there are thousands of possible combinations of management to try; some will yield good results and some poor. For the newcomer to land stewardship, this article will attempt to answer an important question: How do I get off to a good start?
Errol and Susan Candy have lived on their small Hill Country place for over two decades and have some helpful advice on how new landowners can get started. As retired medical professionals, they understand the wisdom of “First, do no harm.”
YOUR VISION AND PLAN
Before you get started doing anything, you must first establish a vision of what you intend to accomplish. Just getting started with activity will usually not yield a desirable outcome and is often counterproductive. Your labors must be directed toward a goal, objective or vision. The sculptor has firmly in mind what outcome is desired before taking the hammer and chisel in hand. The builder has spent much time thinking what the project will look like long before the first board is sawn. Likewise, stewardship is driven by a vision of the future—what your dream for the land is. Obviously, the vision must be realistic and achievable and in keeping with the natural potential and limitations of the land; otherwise, it will end in frustration.
It may sound mechanical and artificial, but the best land management is guided by a plan. It does not have to be an elaborate plan and it should not be rigid, but there must be some guiding process that helps you set the course, stay focused and establish priorities. You may choose to get the assistance of a consultant or a conservation agency, but the plan must be your plan and one that is practical, flexible and which helps guide you to accomplishing your vision within your abilities and resources.
LEARNING AND LOVING YOUR LAND
One of the first priorities after acquiring a piece of land is to begin learning the biological and physical elements of your property. You do not have to know everything or be an expert, but learning the basic “parts of the machine” is an important step for the correct operation of the machine. Making a lifelong study of the soil, water, plants and animals will help you be a better manager and will help you see how to work with nature rather than at cross purposes.
It often starts with learning the more common plants on your place including the grasses, woody plants and the flowering forbs. There are many good field guides to help and many helpful people who are happy to teach you the common plants. After learning the names, learn where they grow, why they increase or decrease, and how they fit into the big picture.
Plant knowledge is often followed by learning about the soils on your place—their characteristics and capabilities and what constitutes a healthy soil. Learning about habitat, wildlife and the water cycle is also important knowledge to cultivate.
It should go without saying that a true love of the land is a prerequisite of genuine stewardship. Owning and managing land is not just a mechanical process of doing the recommended things. It is a relationship with the land whereby the owner and their actions are actually a part of the land, and the land becomes a part of the owner. Putting that affection into action with sound management is the essence of stewardship.
BUDDING LAND STEWARDS
Many newer landowners are getting off to a good start even though they may have little or no prior experience in owning or managing a piece of rural land. Realizing that they have a lot to learn, they ask for help and soak up information like a sponge.
These five newer-type landowners from the Hill Country are typical of many across the state—they are fast learners, creative, hard-working and ready to share what they have learned when asked. They are different in many ways, but they are all serious students of the land.
Charlie and Diane Armbrust have owned a small place on Crabapple Creek in Gillespie County for the last 10 years. “Think big, move fast and test small.” These are some of Charlie’s business development principles that have also served well in their land management.
He explained: “Thinking big is the overarching vision for the land—what we hope to achieve long term. The fine points emerge later, but we start with our vision. Moving fast means not getting too bogged down in the details but getting started on something quickly. As time passes, priorities will become clear, and we start to focus on the weak links.”
You don’t have to get all your ducks perfectly lined up to get started.
“Test small means don't bet your dream on one big idea, one consultant’s opinion or one big planting,” Charlie said. “It is never clear what will work the best, so be cautious to test in a small way to insure you are actually moving to the desired goal. Even on a small property like ours, the range of conditions can vary greatly, so one big bet is liable to fail, cost a lot of money and be very frustrating. A small test is easier to implement quickly with less risk.
In the business world and in land management it is important to measure your progress. You will never know for sure if you are achieving your vision if you do not monitor.”
According to Diane and Charlie, “A simple way to measure progress is with dated photos. Reviewing old pictures of the property over several years helps us see the progress and not get too discouraged by the drought or other setbacks.”
Other forms of monitoring can include plant lists, bird lists, soil tests or browse utilization which are compared over time.
“This is especially true when coming to a crossroads in management and whether to implement a change or new practice,” Errol said. In certain cases, it may be better to do nothing rather than intervene and potentially cause more harm than good. “This forces you to look ahead to the possible side effects of everything you do,” he said.
Susan added, “One thing I’ve found helpful as a new landowner, is to step back and take time to observe your place through a variety of seasons. Doing this will give a much better picture of how sun, shade, drought, big rain, little rain, humidity, wind, livestock, wildlife and your neighbors’ practices will impact your place during different times of the year. Taking the time to watch how your land responds first, before jumping into a project, can save money, time, labor and can help direct efforts for better outcomes.”
The Candys have learned one very important perspective for new city-based landowners.
“Re-train your eye regarding what is beautiful and natural,” they said. “Accept the fact that nature is messy, cluttered, unmown and untidy, at least to a large degree. We have come to appreciate and love the way nature really works and not try to impose our cultural perceptions of beauty to our land.”
Clair Schultis, who has owned a small tract in Kimble County along Fox Hollow for nine years, “The two most helpful things for me to get started were understanding the history of the land (how it got to its current state) and understanding what is possible with management. Having not grown up in the area, it was essential to find local resources—NRCS, county agent and folks who know the area and have spent a lifetime on the land. Volunteering my property to be a guinea pig for research and workshops has been a good way to learn by doing.
“Being a small landowner, just spending time walking all over the place getting to know every square foot was important. With help we have learned the plant life of the ranch (the good, bad and ugly), and we have learned that not all cedar is bad. Once you understand your current state and what's possible, you can begin to develop a plan to move forward.”
Kim and Pam Bergman own 685 acres along Three Mile Creek near Albert, Texas. Having worked hard in the oil patch overseas for many years, they finally realized their dream of owning a ranch and have poured themselves into the land for the past 23 years.
Their advice to new landowners is straightforward.
“Study your land, and develop an overall long-term plan,” they said. “Utilize multiple sources of reading material, information from conservation organizations and professional stewardship advisers. Don’t get in a rush to implement your plan and always be ready to make adjustments to your plan along the way. Be patient.”
Hal and Amy Zesch own the old family place in Mason County which was put together from many smaller tracts over time. After spending most of his adult life in the corporate world, the Zesches now are actively involved in managing and restoring the ranch previously owned by his grandfather. Hal and Amy are finding their new stewardship journey to be “fascinating, fun and rewarding.” They remind others that “nature is very resilient if we just give it a chance.” Hal said that the ultimate fulfillment is knowing that your stewardship has left the world a better place.
Hal challenged other landowners: “You are a leader; others will see or hear what you are doing on your place, and you will inspire them to follow your lead.”
The Armbrusts remind landowners of this important but simple truth: “You have a partner—Mother Nature—and she can be very helpful or very frustrating, so keep in mind you have to work with nature and not against it to have long term success. Nature’s timeframes are seasons and years so don’t get too frustrated by short-term setbacks that slow your progress.”
Sometimes, experienced landowners and conservation professionals unwisely lump all newer-type landowners into the group that needs our help and wisdom; but in many cases, we are the ones who can learn from them. Many newer landowners bring skills, energy and ideas that can benefit all of us. We can all learn from each other regardless of how long we may have owned a piece of land.
KEY CONCEPTS FOR GETTING STARTED IN STEWARDSHIP
• Establish your vision for your land.
• Reject easy answers and simple solutions.
• Management is a lifelong process—you will never get finished.
• Learn to “read the land:” soil, water, plants and animals.
• Setbacks are certain; perseverance is essential.
• Work hard, but take time to enjoy your land.
• Learn from your mistakes.
• Don’t bite off too much at a time.
• Be willing to discard old beliefs and local customs when needed.
• Be careful of absolute statements such as “that won’t work here.”
• Be prepared for conflicting advice and information.
• Ruminate and think hard before acting.
• It will be the hardest and most rewarding job you have ever done.
Saving Private Lands
Lone Star Land Steward Winners Reflect on the Program’s Impact After 25 Years.
By Megan Radke
TPWD's press office.
TPWD's press office.
2020 would have been the 25th year of the annual Lone Star Land Steward awards banquet, where private landowners from multiple Texas ecoregions are celebrated for their land and wildlife management efforts. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed.
The conservation and stewardship work by landowners, however, never stops.
“Lone Star Land Stewards aren’t just doing great things on their land — these landowners can tell you how and why they’re doing it,” says Justin Dreibelbis, private lands and public hunting program director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “They want to take care of their land and steward it. They do their research. They’re being an example for other landowners and want to be able to tell their story.”
The Private Lands Advisory Committee was formed to advise TPWD in 1992. The Lone Star Land Steward program that sprang out of it began simply as an idea to shine a light on private landowners who were doing good work for Texas habitats.
In 1996, the first event took place at the Capitol, a small group gathering held in the lieutenant governor’s chambers. Over the years that meeting
grew into a ceremony that typically welcomes some 400 guests, including landowners, biologists and more.
“The mission derived from that first meeting remains the same,” Dreibelbis says. “This is a celebration of land stewards who are doing the right thing for the land, wildlife and people of Texas.”
The Private Lands Advisory Committee recognized that private landowners, by taking care of their own property, were contributing to the well-being of the general public through soil and water conservation and grassland restoration, as well as the management of fish and wildlife species and other ecosystem services.
“Texas is predominantly privately owned. Irrespective of who you are and where you live, if you care anything about where the raindrops fall and where our aquifers are recharged and where our springs, creeks and rivers flow, our fish and wildlife habitats, where our clean air and water are derived, those places are largely found on private lands in Texas,” says Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “Private landowners are the ones who wake up every day and work on stewarding those things that we all get to enjoy — sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly.”
Smith says that one of the best ways for the public to appreciate private lands stewardship is to simply go for a drive in the country and experience the drop in blood pressure that comes from admiring the diversity and richness of the Texas landscape.
Richard Taylor and his partner Suzie Paris own Blue Mountain Peak Ranch in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Their property, originally purchased by Taylor and his late wife, sits atop blue-gray limestone hills, the highest reaching more than 2,000 feet in elevation. Blue Mountain Peak Ranch received the Lone Star Land Steward award for the Edwards Plateau ecoregion in 2011 and then received the Leopold Conservation Award, the highest honor bestowed in the program, in 2016.
Thanks to the extensive Ashe juniper (often called cedar) tree removal Taylor initiated on the ranch, more rainwater is able to fill the Edwards Aquifer. The aquifer supplies water to a large portion of south-central Texas, including San Antonio.
“Back in the day, when my wife and I went on this quest to find a place, we were looking for ‘interesting’ land, and this property fit the bill,” Taylor says. “With this property being on top of the aquifer, we’re at the top of the watershed. We can do good stuff, all while making sure we’re improving the aquifer.”
Taylor says that when they first began work on Blue Mountain Peak Ranch in 2002, they saw many signs of water on the land in the way of calcified rock, tiny streams and “frozen” water, as Taylor describes the evidence of where water used to flow. Because of the dense Ashe juniper throughout the ranch,
though, any and all rain and spring water was being absorbed by the tree’s roots before it had a chance to contribute to the aquifer, much less feed the ravines Taylor found strewn across the property.
“So, we began the process. We sectioned off 200 acres, above the frozen water, started cutting cedar, and low and behold, the water started to flow,” Taylor says. “I would guess in the ravines we have 50 springs that connect together and stay running now regardless of rainfall. It’s a miracle, the most amazing part of the process that we’ve done, to see all of this water.”
Taylor says he and Paris drive or hike the property almost daily to see what work needs to be done next. Over the years, the couple have utilized the help of multiple agencies to assist with land management techniques, including prescribed fire, to reach their overall goal: increasing species diversity and providing clean water to the Edwards Aquifer.
In addition, Blue Mountain Peak Ranch, similar to many Lone Star Land Steward award-winning properties, serves as a place where nearby schoolchildren, older students aspiring to work in a wildlife or forestry-related field and others can come and experience a natural, native landscape at its best.
“The native stuff is so beautiful,” Taylor says. “To me, it’s the little things — finding tadpoles, watching them grow. We have bullfrogs and leopard frogs in all the springs; because we have frogs, we have snakes. It just keeps waterfalling with all the improvements. We have harvester ants, a much smaller population of fire ants, so we find horned toads now. Black-capped vireos [delisted in 2018]. It’s just fun to know we are providing an ecosystem that allows for species to come back.”
Daniel Kunz is a TPWD technical guidance biologist who works with landowners daily, answering their questions and providing them direction on ways they can better manage their properties based on their goals.
“We rely on landowners to maintain the habitat of the state. This program showcases those who are spreading a conservation and land ethic message across Texas,” Kunz says. “These landowners are acting as examples to other landowners. It’s my job to give them advice and guidance on things that might be good for the habitat, potentially point out a lack of management practices on some lands and sometimes advise that just leaving it alone is the practice.”
Landowners, no matter how many acres they have on their property, can reach out to a TPWD biologist in their county should they have questions or need advice. Kunz encourages owners to investigate all the resources that are available to them so that they can do what’s right for their specific habitat and ecoregion, as one size does not fit all.
Properties across the state that have earned the Lone Star Land Steward title are just as unique as Texas itself. Land and habitat management efforts on a ranch in the Trans-Pecos region of far West Texas will vary significantly from practices implemented on a parcel of land in the Pineywoods. Similarly, work done to manage land where cattle graze will differ from land that isn’t a working ranch.
“We have to care for the natural landscape to make sure those things under our care do well,
and that includes the wildlife, the flora and the fauna of all kinds."
— 2014 Lone Star Land Steward winner David Langford of the Hillingdon, Laurels and Leslie Ranches
“With this property being on top of the aquifer, we’re at the top of the watershed. We can do good stuff, all while making sure we’re improving the aquifer.”
— 2016 Lone Star Land Steward statewide winner Richard Taylor of Blue Mountain Peak Ranch
Langford hopes to show others that the footprint of private lands management goes far beyond property lines. The Hillingdon family of ranches, like Blue Mountain Peak Ranch, lie in a contributing area of the Edwards Aquifer. In addition, Block Creek, a stream that flows through the ranches and for another four miles outside the property, is a major tributary to the Guadalupe River. The Guadalupe River empties into San Antonio Bay on the Texas coast, which serves as an overwintering site for whooping cranes. This endangered species relies upon clean water and a pristine habitat to survive.
“In my case, it’s easy. I just want my heritage to continue,” Langford says. “Those of us who care about it — all seven generations of us — or those of us who still hang around, this is our heritage and we’re going to do the best we can.”
The Lone Star Land Steward recognition banquet is expected to resume in 2021, honoring a new set of private landowners who work tirelessly to take care of Texas.
As Langford says, “It’s your responsibility to be the best steward you can be. You’re supposed to do the best you can do for the land. Our gift is our heritage.”
The Hillingdon, Laurels and Leslie Ranches are just such a working property. The ranches are all owned and operated by the same family and have been since 1887. Founded by Alfred Giles after he moved to Texas from Hillingdon (Middlesex, England), the land is named for Giles’ homeland. The Hillingdon Ranch family is committed to preserving their heritage and the land they occupy, all while raising cattle, sheep and goats.
“There are two philosophical cornerstones that were laid down by my great-grandfather: always plan for drought so that you’re surprised when it rains, and if you have to feed, you have too many,” says David Langford, referring to the practice of keeping only as many cattle as your land can support. The ranches are in Langford’s family, and he, along with many others, continue the necessary work to make sure the property is functioning and healthy.
“Our cattle, sheep and goats have to get by on what the natural landscape provides for them,” Langford says. “We have to care for the natural landscape to make sure those things under our care do well, and that includes the wildlife, the flora and the fauna of all kinds. The cattle have been here as long as we have. My great-grandfather acquired three Angus in 1890, and the cattle on the ranch now are descendants from those.”
The Hillingdon, Laurels and Leslie Ranches were named a Lone Star Land Steward winner in 2014. Langford’s work and advocacy for land and habitat management dates back many years, as he served on the original Private Lands Advisory Committee.
Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program
The vast expanse of Texas lends itself to encompass some of the most diverse and ecologically rich landscapes in the United States. Much of the land is characterized as open-space and falls under the designation of privately-owned working lands, or farms, ranches, and forestlands that support agricultural systems, foster healthy environments, and support recreational and other intrinsic needs. Despite their importance, working lands in Texas are under threat of increasing land conversion and fragmentation pressure, due in large part to rapid population growth and rising land market values.
To help safeguard the public benefits derived from working lands, the Texas Legislature created the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program (TFRLCP, or hereafter, the Program) in 2005, with the purpose of funding agricultural conservation easements on private lands. Conservation easements are a voluntary tool that support the permanent conservation of private lands—through perpetually restricting development rights on contracted properties while enabling the continuation of agricultural practices.
The goal of this report was to examine the conservation easements executed under the TFRLCP. Specifically, we evaluate ecological and economic values secured through the protection of these properties as well as the fiscal efficiency of state funds to protect working lands with high agricultural value at a relatively low cost for state residents.
Historical, Heritage, and Rural Community Organizations in Comal County
NEW BRAUNFELS CONSERVATION SOCIETY
The Society endeavors to save disappearing historic fabric of New Braunfels and Comal County for present and future generations through acquiring, saving, preserving, restoring, displaying and exhibiting historic buildings, artifacts, ephemera and their collective rich history.
HERITAGE SOCIETY OF NEW BRAUNFELS
The Society exists to preserve, promote, and interpret, for the public, the 19th century heritage of New Braunfels, Comal County, and Texas through The Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture and Heritage Village.
SOPHIENBURG MUSEUM & ARCHIVES
Take the journey with Prince Carl and his group of German colonists as they cross the ocean and make their way into central Texas. Admire their courage and determination to establish a new colony at the edge of Indian Territory. Exhibits, rich in local artifacts, photographic images, maps and documents, take visitors through the history and cultural heritage of New Braunfels and Comal County.
THE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF FISCHER'S STORE
The Society includes a dance hall and bowling alley and the society remains an active party of the community of Fischer.
ANHALT GERMANIA VEREIN
The Hall is a Texas dancehall, beer garden, and venue for forums owned and operated by the Germania Farmer Verein, an organization started by German settlers in Central Texas in 1875 to help protect their livestock.
NEW BRAUNFELS CEMETERY COMMITTEE
The New Braunfels and Comal Cemeteries are a valuable historic part of our heritage. The cemeteries serve as a resource for the living, connecting the past with the present. The New Braunfels Cemetery Committee serves to preserve the records of community history, cultural history, landscape heritage and architecture. This is accomplished through conservation, preservation and education.
NEW BRAUNFELS LANDMARK COMMISSION
The Commission oversees the design review process for exterior alterations to historic landmarks and districts.
SCHERTZ HISTORICAL COMMITTEE
A small group of 14 Schertz volunteers interested in preserving the historic remnants of our city’s rich past. The City’s heritage dates back to the mid-19th century and the arrival of the first European settlers to the Cibolo River Valley.
A small group of 14 Schertz volunteers interested in preserving the historic remnants of our city’s rich past. The City’s heritage dates back to the mid-19th century and the arrival of the first European settlers to the Cibolo River Valley.
COMAL COUNTY GENEALOGY SOCIETY
The purpose of the Society is to create, foster, and maintain interest in history and genealogy and to work with other organizations to preserve historical/genealogical publications and records.
COMAL COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION
The primary purpose of the Comal County Historical Commission is to continue a survey focusing on the retention, conservation, and preservation of historical buildings and other historical sites, private collections of historical memorabilia, or other historical features within Comal County.
A conservation easement is a voluntary, written agreement between a landowner and a qualified land conservation organization under which a landowner voluntarily restricts certain uses of the property to protect its natural, productive, or cultural features.
CEO of Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Blair Fitzsimons states, “In application, ..., a conservation easement is often a land steward’s expression of their love of the land, enacted because they cannot bear the thought of their cherished land being broken up.”
Land Conservation Menu: Model Projects, Options & Opportunities, A Guide
Conservation Easements: "Beyond The Fence Line"
The reasons landowners decide to put family land under a conservation easement are as varied as the landowners who make them. TALT closes several conservation easements a year, forever protecting the wide-open spaces of Texas. In our latest podcast, Chad Ellis explores conservation easements with several landowners who recently went through the easement process.
Texas Lands Trends
Texas is comprised of 142 million acres of private farms, ranches and forests, leading the nation in land area devoted to privately owned working lands. These lands provide substantial economic, environmental and recreational resources that benefit all Texans.
Rapid population growth is driving suburbanization, rural development and ownership fragmentation that increasingly threatens working lands. These threats result in a fundamental change in the Texas landscape, impacting:
The Texas Land Trends project monitors the status and changes in land use, ownership size and land values of working lands. Research results are published as topic-based reports through the txlandtrends.org, an award-winning interactive website. Users can also explore and query the Texas Land Trends data through the web-based mapping service. Texas Land Trends provides decision-makers and stakeholders with timely information to support the conservation and strategic planning of working lands within a spatially explicit context. Here's a preview of a few tools we've developed through the Texas Land Trends GIS project:
TEXAS EARLY NOTIFICATION TOOL
READINESS AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION INTEGRATION PLAN (REPI)
TxMAP -- currently under construction