The Center for Land Stewardship and Stakeholder Engagement at Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University has streamlined its application process for cost share conservation programs. Cost share programs reimburse a percentage of the overall cost of qualified conservation practices to selected landowners.
Interested landowners can now apply through one convenient portal that will remain open year-round. Applicants will be considered for any open programs.
“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, the 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.”
One program currently available, the Greater Big Bend Conservation Partnership program, will reimburse approximately 50 percent of project costs. This program is available to eligible landowners in Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties in West Texas.
The effort is fueled by a $3.5 million commitment from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which will help fund innovative conservation approaches on private lands, including habitat restoration efforts, conservation easements and ecosystem services compensation. Eligible habitat management activities include but are not limited to grassland restoration via brush management, riparian restoration and construction of wildlife-friendly fencing.
The Greater Big Bend Conservation Partnership is managed by the Center for Land Stewardship and Stakeholder Engagement, which is responsible for implementing restoration and enhancement projects, as well as monitoring and evaluating projects. The Center is working in partnership with Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT), which will provide the expertise for all conservation easement agreements, as well as evaluation of ecosystem services and assessing ecosystem services compensation options.
Other cost share programs include the Partners for Habitat program, a collaborative initiative with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. This program will provide $150,000 of financial assistance directly to private landowners across the West Texas counties of Brewster, Terrell, Pecos, Reeves, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio. Projects that will be funded include habitat enhancement and restoration actions that may include but are not limited to the following practices: brush management (mechanical and chemical), invasive species removal treatment, establishment of native vegetation, pollinator plantings, streamside management and erosion control practices.
To learn more about cost share programs and to apply, visit the Borderlands Research Institute website at https://bri.sulross.edu/stewardship-services-landowner-resources-cost-share-programs/.