conservation and stewardship


TO BE STEWARDS OF THE LAND, WE MUST CONSERVE

    • Texas contains 7 of the top 15 most rapidly growing cities in the U.S. This rapid growth leads to increased demand on land, which increases the price, which increases incentives to sell or subdivide; all leading to the fragmentation or conversion of native habitat.
    • This trend is happening across the U.S. as we lose the equivalent of two football fields of natural land to development every minute, according to a new report commissioned by the Center for American Progress. This impacts the wildlife, habitats and watersheds of Balcones Canyonlands NWR?
    • As the areas adjacent to the refuge rapidly urbanize with new buildings and housing developments, we lose the unique characteristic and story of the land. This negatively impacts visitor experiences and the health of native plants and wildlife, as water and suitable habitat become scarce.
    • Our wildlife do not understand refuge boundaries, so protecting land from development in and around the refuge is key if we want to see a thriving refuge connected to the community forever.


PROTECTING THE LAND

Friends of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (FOB) supports the refuge in the acquisition of lands and conservation easements. Through member donations and partnerships with other NGOs, such as The Conservation Fund and Trust for Public Land, FOB has helped in the protection of over 600 acres of Hill Country habitats. As an example, the 581-acre Peaceful Springs tract was purchased in 2017, thanks to generous support from FOB members and other donors.

Recently, FOB has supported the acquisition of the 50-acre Crain tract along Cow Creek. FOB is currently working to help the refuge acquire the 280-acre Higginbotham tract to protect a large block of contiguous golden-cheeked warbler habitat. FOB continues to be pivotal in land protection efforts for the refuge and future generations by providing funding and active support for important conservation projects in the Texas Hill Country.

WHAT IS CONSERVATION EASEMENT?

A conservation easement is a voluntary, written agreement between a landowner and the “holder” of the conservation easement under which a landowner voluntarily restricts certain uses of the property to protect its natural, productive or cultural features. Source: Texas Land Trust Council

Under the USFWS, you are paid a percentage of your fair market value for the purchase of the farming and development rights in perpetuity.

For more information about Conservation Easements with the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, please email the refuge manager, Kelly Purkey, at kelly_purkey@fws.gov.



HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Education is key! The Conservation & Stewardship committee is committed to acquiring or in influencing the designation of land for conservation and we need your help to inform land owners about conservation easements. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about how you can help the Friends of Balcones protect land in and around the refuge. Become a member and directly support our efforts to advocate for the land, for the wildlife, and for the future of the Canyonlands.

About Us

The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose is to support the mission of the Refuge in restoring and protecting the habitat. The Friends are committed to building a diverse, vibrant community that appreciates, supports, and connects with nature in a meaningful way.

Become a Member

Join the Friends in protecting the wildlife and habitat, and supporting the mission of the Refuge. Start by taking a hike or  attending an event, by watching the seasons change through what’s blooming, or by just watching a hawk soar, or even just sitting still and listening to the songbirds sing. You can have a positive impact. Come find your refuge at the Refuge and join the fun!

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