Archive for the 'Lone Star Land Stewards' Category

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.

Lone Star Land Steward: Rancho ZunZun

Monday, June 29th, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Roxanne and Elvis Hernandez live in Bastrop County and turned their 53 acre Rancho ZunZun into a thriving wildlife habitat with enhanced Houston Toad protection.

10-Roxanne and Elvis, they are so passionate about their land stewardship ont heir property for all wildlife species–not just the Houston Toad.

Their hard work earned them a Lone Star Land Steward Regional award for the Lost Pines ecosystem. Wildlife biologist, Meredith Longoria, provides the couple with technical assistance.

15-They have taken leaps and bounds since they started through the landowner Incentive Program, including: native grass plating, and pine reforestation, and prescribed burning. They’ve utilized just about every tool they’ve learned about on their property.

The Lone Star Land Steward awards honor landowners who preserve our natural heritage. The Hernandez’s bought their land in 2004, and began restoration work.

25– We planted 35-hundred trees the year right before the drought. Here, this whole area was filled with cedars–you couldn’t even walk through here–and we had that removed and cleared, and did the prescribed burn back in 2012. Yeah, you can still see all the burn scars on the trees. For our wildlife management, we provide supplemental shelter, which are the brush piles; we have five nest boxes, which are frequented by bluebirds. We have a bat box.

They said they’ve seen all wildlife populations on the ranch flourish. Learn more about the Lone Star Land Steward Program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website.

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

TPW TV: Bear Creek Ranch

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Just west of Fort Worth, Bear Creek Ranch employs old school grazing practices.

12-What we do here at Bear Creek Ranch is we have a native prairie, and we apply a process of where we take the cattle, and graze them in a way that mimics the way the bison grazed the prairie.

Robert Potts is President of Dixon Water Foundation, which operates the ranch.

06-[MOO] They go where the grass is fresh, they move, and then they don’t come back to the place that they are today for a long time.

This type of management has enhanced wildlife on the ranch. And Texas Parks and Wildlife Wildlife Biologist Nathan Rains says, it is one reason why Bear Creek Ranch is a Lone Star Land Steward Award winner.

18-By allowing rest in these pastures and their unique grazing program you get residual grasses and that provides nesting cover and habitat for species like Bobwhite quail and other grassland birds that are declining.

Texas once had 20 million acres of tall grass prairies; because of development and agricultural uses, less than one percent of the original prairie ecosystem remains.

10-In an area like this, on the periphery of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex–in an urbanized environment–it’s really neat and encouraging to see ranches like this that are dedicated to preserving tall grass prairies.

Learn more about Bear Creek Ranch in a segment next week on the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series. Check your local listings.

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