Conservation Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, August 20, 2008

Houston Zoo
Brown Education Center
6200 Golf Course Drive, Houston, TX 77030

Commissioner Mark E. Bivins, Committee Chair
Scott Boruff, Committee Liaison

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Land and Water Plan Update
    Staff: Carter Smith
  2. Acceptance of Land Donation - Bexar County - 2.5 Acres at Government Canyon - Request Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  3. Acceptance of Land Donation - Orange County - Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area - Request Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  4. Land Acquisition - Yoakum County - 241 Acres at the Fitzgerald Ranch - Request Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  5. Land Exchange and Conservation Easement - Bandera and Medina Counties - Hill Country State Natural Area (Action Item No. 17)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  6. Land Exchange - Presidio County - Big Bend Ranch State Park (Action Item No. 18)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  7. Conveyance of Pipeline Easement - Tarrant County - Fort Worth Inland Fisheries Facility (Action Item No. 19)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  8. Conveyance of Easement - Aransas County - Goose Island State Park (Executive Session and Action Item No. 20)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  9. Land Sale - Harris County - La Porte Regional Office (Executive Session and Action Item No. 21)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  10. Green Burial Agreement
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith

Conservation Committee
Land and Water Plan Update
August 20, 2008

I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Carter Smith will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency's efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the Plan).

II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In November 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. The Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Conservation Committee on TPWD's recent progress in achieving the Plan's Goals and Objectives as they relate to the Conservation Committee.

The Plan consists of 8 Goals and a total of 56 Objectives. The Goals stated in the Plan are as follows:


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Land Donation - Bexar County
Government Canyon State Park
August 20, 2008

I. Executive Summary: An adjacent landowner would like to donate 2.5 acres of land to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) for addition to the Government Canyon State Park in Bexar County.

II. Discussion: Government Canyon State Park is an 8,622-acre facility just outside San Antonio. Most of he park lies within the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, and facility development is minimal. Because of adjacent development, few opportunities exist to expand the park beyond its present boundaries.

The owner of an adjacent tract of undeveloped land desires to donate 2.5 acres to TPWD. This tract lies within the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. The land could not be developed, but would increase the buffer between the recreational and conservation areas of the park and future adjacent development. Management of the donated land would require no further funding or staff effort.

Staff seeks permission to begin the public notice and input process.

Attachments - 3

  1. Exhibit A – Locator Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Locator Map for Government Canyon State Park, Bexar County

Location of Government Canyon State Park, Bexar County in relation to the State of Texas

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Government Canyon State Park, Bexar County

Location of Government Canyon State Park in relation to Bexar County and San Antonio

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit C

Site Map Showing Location of Subject 2.5 Acres

Location of subject tract in relation to Government Canyon State Park entrance

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Acceptance of Land Donation - Orange County
Tony Housman Wildlife Management Area
August 20, 2008

I. Executive Summary: Staff has negotiated the donation of an 89 acre tract of land in goods and services as compensation for a pipeline easement across the Tony Housman Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Orange County.

II. Discussion: In May 2008, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorized the Executive Director to "negotiate and recommend to the Texas General Land Office terms under which a lease may be issued for the installation of an underground 24" pipeline across the Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area." In discussions with the lessee, Denbury Green Pipeline, Inc., The Conservation Fund (assisting Denbury with mitigation), and Wildlife Division staff, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff have proposed that a high-value 89 acre forest tract adjacent to the WMA be acquired by Denbury and donated to TPWD as compensation for the initial impacts of pipeline construction and easement costs over the next twenty to thirty years. Denbury has agreed in principle to this transaction. The landowner is a willing seller and an appraisal of the property has been ordered.

Staff seeks authority to continue pursuing a donation of land under these terms, and upon agreement with the lessee and landowner, to begin the public notice and input process.

Attachments - 3

  1. Exhibit A – Locator Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

Location of the Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area, Orange County

Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area, Orange County in relation to the State of Texas

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area

Location of Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area in relation to Sabine River, City of Orange and pipeline route

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit C

Location of Subject 89 Acres Adjacent to Tony Houseman WMA

Location of subject tract in relation to Tony Houseman WMA

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Land Acquisition - Yoakum County
Fitzgerald Ranch
August 20, 2008

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff are working cooperatively to assemble a significant tract of open land in Yoakum County for the conservation of the lesser prairie chicken.

II. Discussion: Habitat fragmentation and changing land uses have long-term implications for management of the lesser prairie chicken. TPWD is working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on the assembly and acquisition of a significant tract of contiguous conservation land in the southern Texas Panhandle to help ensure the bird's survival in the wild. In the last year, TPWD has made a grant of Pittman Robertson funds to TNC for the acquisition of the 6,000 acre Fitzgerald Ranch in Terry and Yoakum counties. TNC is also negotiating with adjacent landowners for opportunities to enlarge this core conservation area.

One of these adjacent landowners is the Texas General Land Office (GLO), who owns a 241-acre tract scheduled for public sale. At the request of TPWD, GLO has taken this tract off the market and offered it to TPWD at the appraised price of $225/acre, or $54,214. The location and biological values of this tract make it a significant acquisition for the growing Fitzgerald Ranch/lesser prairie chicken preserve. Staff believes these values justify acquisition, ownership and management of this tract in cooperation with TNC.

Staff requests permission to begin the public notice and input process.

Attachments - 3

  1. Exhibit A – Locator Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Location of the Fitzgerald Ranch in Terry and Yoakum Counties

Fitzgerald Ranch in Terry and Yoakum Counties in relation to the State of Texas

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map of Fitzgerald Ranch Southwest of Lubbock

Location of Fitzgerald Ranch in relation to Lubbock, TX

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit C

Site Map Showing Location of 241-acre Subject Tract

Location of subject tract in relation to Fitzgerald Ranch

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 10
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Green Burial Agreement
August 20, 2008

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff has been working with the Green Burial Council on an agreement to create a land acquisition fund using proceeds from ash scattering services offered by death care providers.

II. Discussion: Surveys and statistics demonstrate clearly that an increasing number of Americans prefer not to be embalmed and buried in a fiberglass box, for environmental and cost reasons. The Green Burial Council (GBC) was formed to explore ways to turn the interests of this group of consumers into land and habitat conservation. The GBC approached TPWD three years ago with a proposal for GBC to partner with death care providers to offer clients ash scattering services in designated locations within certain state parks, in exchange for fees that would be earmarked for acquisition of new state parks lands. Staff has been working with GBC since that time to craft such an agreement.


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