Texas Milestones

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.

1965: The Chapter’s first land acquisition was 2,626 acres of native coastal prairie near Eagle Lake west of Houston.

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 a variety of distinct plant communities.

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.

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).

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.

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, the Conservancy's largest preserve in Texas.

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 (pictured) delivers 5,000 gallons of water per minute to Independence Creek.

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.

2012: Building on our work in the Davis Mountains, we added a 2,574-acre conservation easement around Sawtooth Mountain, a prominent landmark visible from a scenic highway.

2014: The Conservancy assisted with the purchase of a 4,784-acre conservation easement of Longleaf Ridge in East Texas. This easement protects longleaf pine forests, pitcher plant bogs and freshwater creeks.

2014: The Conservancy, TPWD and the Conservation Fund jointly acquired the 17,250-acre Powderhorn Ranch on the Central Texas coast for $35 million, using funds from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement.


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