Conservation in Texas often boils down to making sure there’s room to roam; that there are untamed lands left for wildlife to flourish and for people to enjoy.
Brownsville rancher Frank Yturria and his wife, Mary, understand this fact well. This past year, the Yturrias partnered with the Conservancy to protect 1,300 acres of their ranch in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, one of only two known areas in the United States with populations of breeding ocelots. The conservation easement—the fourth the Yturrias have established benefitting ocelots—was purchased at a bargain price by the Conservancy using money from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperative Endangered Species Fund.
You’d be hard pressed to find a m ore striking wilderness than the Davis Mountain of West Texas. In August, the 3M Foundation, a longtime supporter of conservation in Texas and around the world—gifted $500,000 to help complete the purchase of a 10,000-acre tract of land within the Davis Mountains Preserve.
The land connects two existing tracts owned by the Conservancy, creating a huge, contiguous protected area of more than 33,000 acres—plenty of room for the wildlife of West Texas to stretch its legs and wings.
The March purchase of 13 acres of privately held land within Barton Creek Wilderness Park helped set aside green space for people to enjoy. The property is in close proximity to Barton Creek and is near two favorite swimming holes, Twin Falls and Sculptured Falls.
Once designated for development that included 300,000 square feet of office space and parking, the land was instead purchased by the city of Austin under terms negotiated by the Conservancy and will be folded into one of Austin’s favorite parks.March 05, 2011