HELPFUL LINKS AND NEWS
Texas Forest Service was created in 1915 by the 34th Legislature as an integral part of The Texas A&M University System. It is mandated by law to “assume direction of all forest interests and all matters pertaining to forestry within the jurisdiction of the state.”
Texas Forest Service employs more than 375 employees in offices across the state:
•The John B. Connally building in College Station
•The Forest Resource Protection fiscal office, the Rural Fire Defense office, the Forest Pest Management Laboratory, and the A.D. Folweiler Training Center at the Cudlipp Forestry Center in Lufkin, where Water Quality, Forest Inventory & Analysis and Wood Technology programs are based.
•Twenty-one district offices throughout East Texas, administered by the regional office in Lufkin.
•Regional Forest Resource Protection offices in Abilene, Austin, Bastrop, Canyon, Fort Stockton, Fredericksburg, Granbury, Kingsville, La Grange, Lufkin, McGregor, San Angelo and San Antonio.
•Urban forestry and pest management offices in Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Johnson City, Kerrville, Meridian, San Antonio and Weslaco.
•The Western Gulf Forest Pest Management Cooperative in Lufkin and the Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Program in College Station.
•Five state forests to manage and also use for demonstrating and researching forestry practices: E.O. Siecke in Newton County, W. Goodrich Jones in Montgomery County, I.D. Fairchild in Cherokee County, John Henry Kirby in Tyler County and Paul N. Masterson Memorial Forest in Jasper County.
Wildlife conservation in Texas is funded by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, (Pittman-Robertson, P-R). The funds allow TPWD’s Wildlife Division to offer many services, including the following:
•technical guidance to private landowners (who control 94% of wildlife habitat in Texas)
•TPWD surveys and research for development of hunting regulations
•operation and management of WMAs in Texas
•conducting research and developing techniques for managing wildlife populations and wildlife habitat
Most of the work done by the Wildlife Division is eligible for reimbursement under the P-R Act. For every dollar spent by the Wildlife Division on approved P-R projects, about 75 cents is returned to the Department for wildlife conservation. This amounts to approximately $9 million annually. By law, funding is limited to wildlife management, related public use, and hunter education. Pittman-Robertson funds collected from federal excise taxes paid by manufacturers (an 11% excise tax on sporting rifles, shotguns, ammunition, and archery equipment and a 10% tax on handguns) are distributed to states based on number of hunters and land area. Texas receives the maximum distribution allowable under the program.
Since its inception, RFF has been guided by the principle that any comprehensive conservation strategy must address the human component for widespread adoption of conservation values. As such, RFF recognizes private landowners as stewards of the land, and caretakers of our future natural resources. 61% of our nation’s landscape (71% of the continental U.S.) is in private ownership, yet the overwhelming majority of our public and philanthropic financial resources are focused in public land conservation, ignoring the largest segment of the market needing conservation assistance, tutelage and freedom to innovate.
RFF is celebrating a decade of forging an innovative path to conservation and stewardship: delivering information directly to private landowners through the internet.
PLN is your window to the information and resources that connects you to conservation.
Learn about the conservation opportunities that can assist you with land management, capital preservation, and tax & estate planning strategies. From basic concepts and in-depth articles, to helping you find qualified professional assistance, PLN has the resources.
Temple, Texas, Landowners affected by the wildfires can apply for possible financial assistance through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for range deferment of all livestock grazing throughout the growing season, plant health concerns, and cross fencing assistance.
Although sign-up is continuous, applications for this first funding period will be accepted in county NRCS offices through March 28. In order to apply, landowners must visit their local NRCS office to fill out an application. Applications will be ranked and those approved for funding will be offered an EQIP contract.
NRCS Acting State Conservationist Salvador Salinas said, “NRCS in Texas is prepared to assist landowners with their efforts to address wind erosion that is continuing to occur due to drought and the effects from wildfires.”
“We want to provide assistance that will enable landowners and livestock producers to accelerate the recovery of the health and vigor of affected grazing land,” Salinas said.
He suggests landowners consult with their local NRCS district conservationist to develop a conservation plan, which can be an effective strategy for pasture and rangeland recovery and mitigating the effects of the dry conditions that Texas is experiencing.
Wildlife habitat can also be impacted by the wildfire and NRCS can provide technical and financial assistance in re-establishing the habitats for desired species.
For further assistance in evaluating your land and planning practices to address concerns following a wildfire, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Soil and Water Conservation District. For more information and listings for additional USDA Service Centers, look in the Yellow Pages listed under USDA, or access the information on the Texas NRCS website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.