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Media Contact: Brett Johnson, (972) 293-3841; Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453

April 16, 2007

Workshop To Offer Tips for North Texas Landowners

AUSTIN, Texas — A workshop to be held in Mesquite April 28 will help rural landowners based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area learn about available tools to manage wildlife habitat and diversify income on their property.

The workshop is part of a statewide series designed to address the growing problem of Texas rural land being fragmented into smaller tracts, often involving urban-based owners who are interested in wildlife conservation but may lack experience in wildlife or land management.

For more than a century, rural Texas land has been owned mainly by farm and ranch families who lived on it. In recent decades, the countryside has been fragmented into smaller tracts owned increasingly by urban, absentee owners looking for a weekend retreat or retirement home. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report showing that Texas led the nation in the loss of undeveloped land from 1992-97.

Land fragmentation is one of the main threats to wildlife in Texas. It crowds wildlife into smaller spaces, blocks travel corridors and disrupts access to feeding areas.

The Mesquite workshop will discuss tools, expert advisors and funding programs available to help landowners achieve conservation and financial goals when managing property for wildlife.

Morning and early afternoon workshop sessions will include Wildlife Tax Valuation, presented by Dallas Central Appraisal District; Setting Realistic Management Goals by Texas Cooperative Extension; Urban Wildland Interface: Management of Invasive Species by the Texas Forest Service; and Ponds 101: Plant, Soil, & Water Relationships by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

From 2-4 p.m., two separate workshop tracks will run concurrently. Track I will cover Pasture/Range Management for Production Purposes, including grazing management, soil fertility, and pond/water management. Track II will cover Pasture/Prairie Restoration Management for Wildlife Purposes, including using native plants, wild life habitat, and riparian (river and creek corridor) restoration.

Other workshop partners include Texas Forest Service, Bluebonnet Resource Conservation & Development, Incl, Dalworth Soil and Water Conservation District, North Texas Master Naturalists, Dallas County Farm Bureau, the Noble Foundation and Samuell Farm.

The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Samuell Farm at 100 East Highway 80 in Dallas. Originally owned by W.W. Samuell, a prominent Dallas physician, the 340-acre farm was willed by Dr. Samuell to the City of Dallas in 1937 as an educational resource for young people.

For two decades, Samuell Farm served hundreds of thousands of children and adults, until budget cuts recently compelled the City of Dallas to close the farm. The non-profit group Friends of the Farm was formed in 2001 to reopen and manage the farm. The property includes meadows, wooded areas, ponds, and creeks. Many varieties of native plants and non-native grasses are found on this remnant of disappearing Blackland Prairie.

The cost for the workshop is $40 per person, which covers lunch, refreshments and materials. To register, send a check made out to “Bluebonnet RC&D” to Bluebonnet RC&D, Attn: Stephanie Harrison, 504 N. Ridgeway Dr., Suite C, Cleburne, TX 76033. For more information, contact Fred Burrell at F-burrell@tamu.edu or (214) 904-3050.

TH 2007-04-16


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