1965: The Chapter’s first land acquisition was 2,626 acres of native coastal prairie near Eagle Lake west of Houston. The property was conveyed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to establish the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, protecting the most endangered bird in North America.
1977: A gift of land from Temple-Inland, Inc. established the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary in the Big Thicket of East Texas, now 5,658 acres. The sanctuary protects many distinct plant communities, from desert-like sandhills to baygall swamps.
1978: The Chapter acquired and conveyed 1,640 acres to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) creating Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, one of the most popular state parks in Texas.
1985: The Conservancy received a gift of the 67,214-acre North Rosillos Mountains Ranch, conveyed to the National Park Service in 1989 for the expansion of Big Bend National Park. This is the second largest transaction in the history of the Texas Chapter.
1987: We accepted donation of the 160-acre Lennox Woods Preserve, an old-growth forest in northeast Texas with rare species such as black bear and yellow lady’s slipper orchid.
1989: We received a gift of 3,147 acres and established the Clive Runnells Family Mad Island Marsh Preserve in Matagorda County (now 7,000 acres). Since 1997, the preserve and its surrounding area have ranked number one in the U.S. for the highest numbers of bird species recorded in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird counts.
1990: A gift of 3.5 acres enabled us to create the Eckert James River Bat Cave in Mason County, seasonal home to more than 4 million Mexican free-tailed bats.
1991: We purchasing land in the Austin area to create the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, which conserves the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo. The chapter has assisted USFWS with acquisition of 9,772 acres in the refuge to date.
1994: We dedicated the Barton Creek Habitat Preserve—now 4,050 acres—in Austin to protect endangered songbirds.
1996: The Conservancy established the 998-acre Caddo Lake Preserve. It was later renamed for the late Fred and Loucille Dahmer, who spent their lives working to preserve Caddo Lake.
1997: We purchased the U Up, U Down Ranch near Fort Davis to establish the Davis Mountains Preserve. This is the Conservancy's largest preserve in Texas—it now totals 33,000 acres and is surrounded by 67,000 acres of conservation easements. It also protects more than forty rare species and communities. totaling 33,000 acres and surrounded
1999: We acquired the Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve—1,022 acres at the southernmost tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. It contains one of the two remaining native palm groves in the state.
2000: The chapter acquired 1,400 acres in Bandera County to establish Love Creek Preserve, which protects unique features such as scenic canyons and bigtooth maples of the southern Edwards Plateau.
2001: We completed the acquisition of the 19,740-acre Independence Creek Preserve. Its Caroline Springs delivers 5,000 gallons of water per minute to Independence Creek, a major part of the streamflow of the Pecos River.
2003: In the largest private conservation land deal in Texas' history, the Conservancy purchased 87,760 acres surrounding the headwaters of the pristine Devils River.
2006: We launched the Pedernales River Project, which assists private landowners to conserve land and water resources.
2011: The Conservancy fulfills a long-standing goal with the acquisition of Nash Prairie Preserve, 427 acres of never-plowed coastal prairie with more than 300 species of grasses and wildflowers.
We've been working to protect land and water in the Lone Star State for almost 50 years, and during this time we've celebrated a number of major conservation wins; here are a few highlights.