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May 2, 2014
Texas Parks and Wildlife Applauds “Land Stewardship: Providing Water for Texans” Week April 27-May 4
AUSTIN – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has partnered with the Association of Texas Soil & Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD), Texas Wildlife Association, and Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to highlight the important connection between voluntary land stewardship and sustaining water availability. The statewide campaign, “Land Stewardship: Providing Water for Texans,” is the theme of this year’s Soil & Water Stewardship Week, which is held April 27-May 4.
"The natural legacy of the Lone Star State is bound to our collective abilities to protect Texas’ rich and vast resources," said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. "Without a doubt, we would not be as successful if not for the generosity and stewardship of private landowners to manage and conserve their lands in order to protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Texas Parks and Wildlife is proud to partner on this campaign to bring more awareness and support to voluntary land stewardship, so that we can ensure that Texas’ vital resources will always be plentiful for future generations."
Effective land stewardship increases the ability of open land to absorb rainfall, replenish aquifers, and ensure that water drains slowly and steadily into springs, streams, rivers and lakes – reducing run-off and helping to prevent flooding. Voluntary stewardship practices include things such as prescribed grazing management by ranchers, the use of cover crops by farmers, wildlife habitat enhancement, and the targeted removal of invasive brush species.
“Voluntary land stewardship is an efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable way to ‘create’ more water for homes, businesses, recreation, agriculture, and wildlife,” said Johnny Ussery, chair of the stewardship committee for the ATSWCD.
Soil and water conservation performed in urban areas can also help supplement land stewardship efforts in rural ones.
“Urban Texans can become involved by practicing effective land stewardship at home, and in their neighborhoods, schools, and businesses,” Ussery said. “Small efforts, such as using plants in our home landscaping that require little water, can add up to major water conservation when practiced by millions of people across the state.”
Partnering organizations in the “Land Stewardship: Providing Water for Texans” public awareness campaign include Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy of Texas, Texas A&M AgriLife’s Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Texas Department of Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Texas Coalition Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, Texas Association of Dairymen, South Texans’ Property Rights Association, Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas, South Texas Cotton and Grain Association, Texas Forestry Association, Texas HORSE, Texas Deer Association, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Texas Poultry Federation, Texas Corn Producers, Texas Wheat Producers Board and Association, Taking Care of Texas, Trinity Waters, Texas Pork Producers, and Quail Coalition.
More information on “Land Stewardship: Providing Water for Texans” is on the soil and water board website.
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