The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University in Alpine is bolstering resources available to West Texas landowners.
Mike Janis has joined BRI as the newest member of the team, and he will help enhance the offerings of BRI’s Center for Land Stewardship and Stakeholder Engagement by assisting landowners access grant funding for conservation efforts that benefit native wildlife.
Janis will help manage a recently awarded Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) grant that will provide over $2 million of Pittman-Robertson funds to enhance habitat on private lands for the benefit of native wildlife. These funds are a result of the Pittman-Robertson act of 1937 that places a federal tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition to help fund wildlife conservation in the U.S.
Shawn Gray, TPWD Mule Deer and Pronghorn Program leader, is the driving force behind the grant.
“I am truly excited to help facilitate another opportunity for our landowner partners to further their conservation goals,“ said Gray. “This is a great example of how partners can work together to affect landscape-level conservation.”
Along with BRI, the Rio Grande Joint Venture is another valued partner that will assist with delivery of this program.
Janis comes to BRI from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Division, where he worked for 24 years, most recently as the Trans-Pecos District Leader. He brings a wealth of experience working with private landowners on a variety of issues, including game species management, enhancing habitat through conservation projects and balancing ranch operations with wildlife management goals.
In his new role as Trans-Pecos Conservation Initiative Coordinator, Janis will work with BRI staff and researchers to implement landscape-level conservation projects for grassland and riparian habitats throughout the region. Specific projects will focus on brush control activities in existing pronghorn habitat, restoration of riparian areas through interventions that aid the restoration of perennial creek flow, as well as pronghorn-friendly fence replacement.
“I’m excited about working with West Texas landowners on habitat enhancement projects and helping them reach their goals,” said Janis. “Private landowners, and ranchers in particular, are crucial for healthy wildlife populations in Texas, and we are fortunate to be able to offer several cost-share programs that can assist landowners across the region.”
Along with the recently awarded $2 million grant, BRI is also administering several other grants that provide funding for conservation efforts on private land. To facilitate the application process, BRI has developed one convenient application portal to apply for all grant sources.
“We’re pleased to make it easier for West Texas landowners to access funds that will help them implement conservation practices across the Trans-Pecos,” said Billy Tarrant, who is Associate Director of Stewardship Services at BRI. “Thanks to our many partners, conservation-minded landowners are getting the financial help they need to improve wildlife habitat that benefits us all.”
The Center for Land Stewardship and Stakeholder Engagement aspires to facilitate effective conservation in Far West Texas. The center provides technical resources for landowners, energy developers, community members, and conservation partners, and helps facilitate cost share programs to help carry the financial burden of implementing new land management techniques that aid in the service of natural resource conservation.
To learn more about cost share programs and to apply, visit the Borderlands Research Institute website at: COST SHARE PROGRAMS – BORDERLANDS RESEARCH INSTITUTE (sulross.edu).