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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Nov. 21, 2005

Workshop Offers Tips for West Texas Landowners

EL PASO, Texas — A workshop to be held Jan. 18 will help West Texas landowners learn more about available tools to manage wildlife habitat and diversify income on smaller properties between two and 2,000 acres. 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 El Paso workshop will discuss the tools, people and funding programs available to help landowners achieve conservation and financial goals when managing property for wildlife. Local wildlife professionals from TPWD and other organizations will give presentations regarding habitat and species management techniques, wildlife tax valuation and other topics at the workshop.

“The loss of habitat and wildlife in Texas is directly proportional to urbanization, land fragmentation and the introduction of exotic (non-native) species,” said Lois Balin, TPWD urban wildlife biologist in El Paso. “Landowners have the distinctive ability to assist in restoring habitat and wildlife diversity by participating in one of the many private landowner programs available. This workshop will provide the foundation of resources and tools needed to help landowners manage their property for the benefit of wildlife while supplementing their income.”

TPWD and the Texas Cooperative Extension are sponsoring the event, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the A&M Research Center, 1380 A&M Circle in El Paso.

The cost for the workshop is $25 per person or $40 per couple, which covers lunch, refreshments and materials. Registration is required by Jan. 13 to ensure that organizers have sufficient workshop materials for attendees. For more information and reservations, contact Lois Balin at (915) 774-9603 or elpasowild@aol.com or see the Landowner Workshops calendar on the TPWD Web site.

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