The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) have partnered with the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and 13 other organizations to highlight the important connection between voluntary land stewardship and sustaining water availability as part of Soil and Water Stewardship Week, April 27-May 4.
This year’s theme for the statewide campaign is “Land Stewardship: Providing Water for Texans.”
“How landowners manage their resources on private lands directly impacts the water resources available for public use,” said Dr. Roel Lopez, IRNR’s director.
“Responsible and sustainable 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,” Lopez said.
“With this campaign the different organizations hope to bring more awareness and support to voluntary land stewardship,” said Dr. Kevin Wagner, TWRI’s associate director.
Wagner said effective stewardship practices include 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 Jan Thompson, member of the stewardship committee for the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Thompson said 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,” Thompson 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.”
Other partnering organizations in the public awareness campaign include Ducks Unlimited, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Association of Dairymen, South Texans’ Property Rights Association, Texas HORSE, Texas Deer Association, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Texas Poultry Federation, Texas Corn Producers, Taking Care of Texas, Trinity Waters and Texas Pork Producers are also partners in the campaign.
The partners developed a white paper on land stewardship, and it can be read here.