Archive for the 'Lone Star Land Stewards' Category

Land Stewardship at Lavaca Rio Ranch

Monday, November 30th, 2015



This is Passport to Texas

A group of coastal landowners in Jackson County turned their 5,000-acre ranch into what Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Doug Jobes calls “the pinnacle of what natural resource management should be.”

04—The practices that are taking place on that ranch, I’d put ‘em up against any ranch in the state.

Lavaca Rio Ranch is a 2015 Lone Star Land Steward Regional Award winner for their land management, which Brent Friedrichs oversees.

11—What’s cool about this ranch is you’ve got these big, deep sand hills, and the vegetation is awesome. We’ve got little bluestem, switch grass, gulf coast muhly—which is all good nesting sites for quail.

About 300 acres at Lavaca Rio Ranch is coastal prairie, and support rare plant communities, says Texas Parks and Wildlife botanist Jason Singhurst.

13—They’re high-quality prairies. They have a lot of plant diversity in them. And they have some plants that are very special within the state. Now we’re down to about 150 thousand acres of coastal prairie, and the fact that this ranch has about 300 plus acres of intact prairie is unique.

Know a landowner who’s doing great work preserving their property? Nominate them for a Lone Star Land Steward Award. YOu can find information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

H. Yturria Land & Cattle Company

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Take a ride with Danny Butler around the Punte del Monte Ranch in deep south Texas and you start to get an idea of his appreciation of all things wild.

09—We have a lot of white-tail, a lot of turkey, lots of quail. In my opinion, it’s better habitat now than it was 150 years ago.

The Butlers are the 2015 Lone Star Land Steward Award recipients for the South Plains Ecoregion. Three generations of Danny’s family owns and operates the 23-thousand acre ranch; they and their ancestors have been at this a long time.

08—Going on 160 years, which is getting rarer and rarer in Texas that lands pass through generations and generations and stay together.

Their H. Yturria Land & Cattle Company has become less reliant on cattle and more focused on wildlife, including hunting. To make the habitat work for wildlife, they improved water resources on their land. Randy Bazan is ranch foreman.

06—We’re roller chopping this pasture here. It makes an indentation in the soil, and that helps gather our rainfall.

This improves the diversity of forbes and grasses, making the land more productive. While native wildlife hunts make up the bulk of the ranch income, the family’s expanded into exotics. Richard Butler.

08—If you don’t diversify, get other sources of income coming in from the property you’ve got, eventually you won’t have the property.

Nominate a landowner for a Lone Star Land Steward Award. Find out how ion the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Lone Star Land Steward: Big Woods

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015



This is Passport to Texas

In 1995, Dr. Robert McFarlane bought 1,500 acres 90 miles southeast of Dallas along the Trinity River near where he hunted and fished as a kid. Since then he has
pieced together an additional 6,000 acres of river bottom, open marsh wetlands and upland hardwoods, which he named Big Woods.

08- I try to keep the Big Woods true to what I see as the laws of nature. It’s a place where you can go and be in the wild and see the animals and just be.

When Dr. McFarlane acquired the property, it was highly-fragmented and over-grazed. During the last 20 years, he’s walked the land daily, and worked tirelessly to improve aquatic and terrestrial resources.

07- We have 40 to 45 marshes, and over a hundred miles of roads. We plant about 50 food plots.

Dr. McFarlan’s effort to restore this area of the Trinity River is representative of what it means to be a good steward of the land, which may be why he won the 2015 Lone Star Land Steward Leopold Award.

15- When I started buying all this land, and I sold what stocks I owned, my friends thought I was crazy. And they were correct. I think this was a form of insanity, but I think it was a beautiful insanity, and I’m happy to have been crazy.

Learn more about the Lone Star Land Steward program and Dr. McFarlane’s contribution to habitat on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Giving Back to the Land

Friday, July 17th, 2015



This is Passport to Texas

One of Frank Gore’s earliest outdoor memories is of sleeping on the floor of a duck blind under his father’s coat when he was just 4 years old.

03- I come from a long family history of duck hunters.

The tradition continues with his kids and grand-kids on his Jackson County property, which he bought in 2007.

07- We wanted a place for the family to hunt. But, it became much more than that over time. It’s actually turned into a chance to give a bit back.

About 20 miles from Palacios, the Gore Family Farm is in the flyway; Mr. Gore converted it from rice and cattle production into wetlands and upland habitat; restoration work that earned him a Lone Star Land Steward Award.

16- In the cattle grazing days, they had planted Bermuda grass and it was pervasive; it was really detrimental to the native songbirds as well as the upland birds we were trying to foster on the place. So, we began the process of habitat restoration and rehabilitation.

In the end, landowners like Frank Gore preserve Texas– natural heritage for their descendants, and all Texans.

14- The main justification [of the restoration work] is so that my grand-kids will know what a covey of quail sound like calling each other in the morning. And, what it looks like to send up 300 ducks off of a pond, and watch ’em whirl around and come back in. And that’s something your money just can’t buy.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV: Laborcitas Creek Ranch

Friday, July 10th, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Landowners, like Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence–of Laborcitas Creek Ranch in Brooks County–are responsible for transformative conservation in Texas.

03-When I come on this ranch, I get goose bumps.

That’s Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Randy Fugate, who provides technical land assistance to the Lawrence family.

08- It’s so impressive to see all of the improvements that have occurred here since they owned the property–from what it used to look like–25 years ago.

The Lawrence’s received the 2014 Lone Star Land Steward Ecoregion Award for South Texas. Berdon Lawrence says when they bought the ranch it was an overgrazed piece of property that didn’t support much native wildlife.

13– The cattle had just about eaten all the grass. No place for quail to hide, and for the does to hide the little baby deer. And so, the
predators would often get the little baby deer and the little quail.

They invented a device called the “quailorator.” Ranch manager, David Kelly, says pulled behind a tractor, the quailorator gently aerates and improves the land for its namesake species.

09- Right here in this quaileratorated area, we have [native grass] clumps for nesting and cover. And right over here, we have aerated
parts that will provide food for quail.

Watch a segment on Laborcitas Ranch next week on the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series. Check your local listings.

06- And it’s nice to be able to preserve the wildlife that’s been here for maybe millions of years.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.