Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter:  Ted Hollingsworth

Action
Land Exchange – Blanco County
300 Acres at Pedernales Falls State Park
November 4, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff continues to work on a property exchange that would increase conservation and viewshed protection at Pedernales Falls State Park.

II.     Discussion:  The 5,212-acre Pedernales Falls State Park in Blanco County was acquired in 1970 to protect and provide recreational access to a dramatic segment of the Pedernales River, including the spectacular Pedernales Falls.  The aesthetic integrity of the falls is threatened, however, by potential development on the privately-owned opposite bank of the river.

County Road 2766 bisects the park, severing the southernmost 320± acres from the rest of the park, and effectively isolating the severed tract from public access.  In 2004, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) declared this tract, which does not include river frontage, to be “underutilized” and recommended its sale, a recommendation with which the Office of the Governor concurred.  In 2006 the GLO agreed with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) that creation of a Conservation Bank on this tract, for recovery of the federally-listed Golden Cheeked Warbler, would constitute a “highest and best use” for the property.  In 2010, TPWD published a Request for Proposals (RFP) which elicited two proposals for creation of the proposed conservation bank.

TPWD has accepted the proposal from Pedernales Blue Hole Ltd. (PBH), which would, if U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approval is obtained, result in the exchange of the 320-acre TPWD tract, encumbered by the Conservation Bank Agreement and a conservation easement, for a viewshed easement on a 235-acre ranch with river frontage at the falls opposite the park.

III.    Recommendation:  The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts by Resolution in Exhibit A, the provisions of this land exchange in Blanco County."

Attachments — 4

1.      Exhibit A – Resolution

2.      Exhibit B – Location Map

3.      Exhibit C – Vicinity Map

4.      Exhibit D – Site Map


Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regarding the Exchange of Real Property in Blanco County

Whereas, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff have recommended that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) approve a transaction to exchange a tract of approximately 320 acres adjacent to the Pedernales Falls State Park (Park) in Blanco County (Exchange Tract) for a viewshed easement on a tract of approximately 235 acres adjacent to the Pedernales Falls State Park in Blanco County (Easement Tract);

Whereas, the Exchange Tract is severed from the rest of the Park by County Road 2766 and has been identified by the Texas General Land Office (GLO) as “underutilized”, and scheduled for public sale since 2004;

Whereas, the Easement Tract overlooks the lower portion of Pedernales Falls, and is currently unprotected from development that would be detrimental to the public’s enjoyment of the Park;

Whereas, the owners of the Easement Tract desire to establish a Conservation Bank for the recovery of the federally endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler on the Exchange Tract, and to exchange a viewshed easement on the Easement Tract for fee ownership of the Exchange Tract;

Whereas, the Exchange Tract would be protected from development contrary to conservation purposes by the conditions of the Conservation Bank;

Whereas, the viewshed easement on the Easement Tract would contribute more to the purposes for which the Park is owned and managed by TPWD than ownership of the Exchange Tract;

Whereas, the GLO concurs that this exchange would satisfy the requirement for disposition of underutilized property;

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Chapter 26 and Section 13.009 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code that (1) ownership of the Exchange Tract is no longer in the best interest of TPWD; (2) there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the exchange of the Exchange Tract for a viewshed easement on the Easement Tract; and (3) as a result of the establishment of a Conservation Bank on the Exchange Tract, the exchange includes all reasonable planning to minimize harm and maintain conservation values on the Exchange Tract.

Now, therefore, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to exchange the Exchange Tract for a viewshed easement on the Easement Tract.

Adopted and approved this 4th day of November 2010.

________________________________
Peter M. Holt, Chairman

________________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Vice-Chairman

________________________________
Mark E. Bivins, Member

________________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Member

________________________________
Antonio Falcon M.D., Member

________________________________
Karen J. Hixon, Member

________________________________
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

________________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

________________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member


Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit B

Location of Pedernales Falls State Park in Blanco County

Location of Pedernales Falls State Park in Blanco County

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit C

Vicinity Map for Pedernales Falls State Park, 30 Miles West of Austin

Vicinity Map for Pedernales Falls State Park, 30 Miles West of Austin

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit D

Site Map of Pedernales Falls SP Showing Exchange Tracts

Site Map of Pedernales Falls SP Showing Exchange Tracts

Back to Top
Back to Top