95% of Texas is privately owned. Innovating to achieve broad and enduring conservation practices is key to our health, food systems, recreation opportunities, and sustained economy. Watch the This Land is Our Land panel below at the 2019 Conservation Wrangler Summit.
Texas Land & Demographic Trends
Neal Wilkins, President and CEO, East Foundation & Chairman of the Board, Texan by Nature presented on the “This Land is Our Land ” Panel where he focused on Texas Land and Demographic Trends.
95% of Texas is privately owned and less than 1% of the population are landowners, meaning less than 1% of the Texas population makes the decisions for 95% of Texas land. Over the past 50 years, Texas has become more populated and more urbanized. As a consequence, Texas has lost 2.2 million acres of open space. Additionally, landowners in Texas are aging and over the next two decades we will see the largest intergenerational transfer of land in Texas history. This demographic shift will cause new challenges for conservation and is something conservationists must understand and adjust for when dealing with land owners.
Learn more about the East Foundation here.
Lear more about Texas Land Trends here.
2019 Conservation Wrangler – Grassland Restoration Incentive Program
Jim Giocomo, Coordinator of Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture, presented on the “This Land is Our Land” Panel where he focused on the Grassland Restoration Incentive Program.
Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture’s Grassland Restoration Incentive Program, or GRIP, is a public-private partnership focused on bird conservation in Texas and Oklahoma. America has lost 3 million birds since 1970, which is more than half of all grassland birds. OPJV seeks to reverse this trend by providing incentives for landowners doing conservation efforts. Since 2014, there has been more than 200 projects spanning 85,000 acres, including controlled burns, grazing management, brush control, and many more practices. The overall goal of GRIP is to restore over 3 million acres, which will require increased and ongoing funding, and greater landowner participation.
Learn more about Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture and GRIP here.
2019 Conservation Wrangler – Texas Prairie Wetlands Project
Taylor Abshier, Biologist at Ducks Unlimited, presented on the “This Land is Our Land” Panel where he focused on the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project.
Texas wetlands are critical wintering and breeding habitat for waterfowl, but through human development, Texas has lost 7 million acres of wetland habitat. To reverse this trend, Ducks Unlimited created a private lands conservation program called Texas Prairie Wetlands Project. The program covers 28 counties and partners with private landowners to create, restore, and enhance wetlands. The result is a land management plan for each project that ends up benefiting people, wildlife, and the environment. Over 28 years, TPWP has protected a total of 85,000 acres and has spent $28.1 million on conservation in the Texas gulf coast.
Learn more about Ducks Unlimited and the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project here.
Pollinator Habitat on O&G Rights of Way
Kevin Shomette, Environmental Manager at EOG Resources, presented on the “This Land is Our Land” Panel where he focused on Pollinator Habitat on Oil and Gas Rights of Way.
Through a partnership with Texan by Nature and NFWF, EOG started seeding oil and gas pad sites to increase native plant species, creating desirable habitat. The project involves engaging with landowners to encourage the planting of native seeds while EOG downsizes well sites and pipeline right of ways. Of two sites seeded in March 2019, one site has been more successful in sprouting natives than the other. Although the results were not perfect, the project is still experimenting and using these results to improve methods and increase success rates. The goal of this project is to create best practices that have an industry-wide implementation and reaches well beyond the approximately 350 acres included in this project.
Learn more about EOG Resources here.
These speakers sat down to take questions from the audience. Watch the panel below.