Texas has a long history of private land ownership where 95 percent of the state is privately owned. The role of landowners as stewards of our state’s private lands and the public benefits derived from them is paramount. Most often successful land stewardship begins when natural resource professionals convey good land stewardship practices and techniques to private landowners.

As part of the Private Land Stewardship program and through collaboration with the Noble Foundation and East Foundation, NRI offers Private Land Stewardship Academies as a professional development opportunity to enhance natural resource professionals’ expertise in applying private land stewardship. These week-long, field-based academies are taught by leading experts in the field and review strategies for addressing private land challenges as well as current and future emerging issues in natural resources and private land conservation. The program offers valuable “hands-on” experiences to natural resource practitioners.

We have developed and hosted in partnership with the Center for Private Land Stewardship five Private Land Stewardship Academies. We hosted one academy for 13 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county  agents, and one for 25 Texas NRCS conservationists. We also assisted Noble Foundation with three academies for 125 NRCS conservationists from 30 states.

Andy James

Andy James is a project coordinator with the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, supporting both extension and research efforts for various programs. Areas of expertise include watershed management, range and wildlife …

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    Guide to grazing matters

    Grazing is a powerful tool for improving the health of plants and the soil supporting them when it’s managed correctly. Read these adapted remarks by NRI's Dr. James Cathey from the Private Lands Summit hosted by the Texas Wildlife Association.

    MJ Hanna hosts plant contest

    The first MJ Hanna Foundation Range and Pasture Plant Identification and Range Evaluation contests drew 57 contestants from all over Texas.

    Conserving private lands conserves water

    Former President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson once said: “Saving the water and the soil must start where the first raindrop falls.”

    In Texas, where about 95 percent of the land is privately owned, and 83 percent of that land is rural farms, ranches and forests, it is essential that all Texans understand the interconnection of land and water to ensure the healthy stewardship of both, according to natural resource professionals.

      Blog Posts

      A land stewardship education dispatch

      We're building a community of practice around land stewardship from the wings that fly above to the water trickling through the soil. Check out this peek into the 22 mini-lessons you can dive into today.

      Landowner Loop: tending the soil first

      We do know that thorough conservation is more than applied science and collaboration; it requires the stewardship of discovery and the constant observational loop, if you will, where we go back to the space of application and learn the sequence of science. So, instead of a Private Land Stewardship Lesson or a publication to aid in your efforts today, we're learning from landowners in our continued series called "Landowner Loop", where we keep tools in the field and feedback loops open.

      Landowner loop: D.I.Y. game feeder corral trap for wild pigs

      Conservation biology and land management are research cornerstones at NRI, and we're fortunate to be able to build sound-science resources for private and public entities across the U.S. But it's no surprise when working lands comprise more than 82% of Texas's land area that our largest end-users are private landowners, working heuristically to solve natural resource challenges. 

      Resources for new landowners: Vegetation

      After reviewing the complexities of soil management, gaining knowledge about vegetation is the next crucial step in a new landowner’s management education. Let's dive into the different plant ID resources at your disposal and take an intentional look at the uses of vegetation for wildlife and practical ways to manage your property to encourage the right kind of plant growth.

      Spotlight on Quail Predators: Raptors

      Raptors, a.k.a. “birds of prey,” include eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and many other species. The term raptor is derived from the Latin word rapio, meaning to seize or take by force; this is quite apt as raptors will often swoop down and seize prey with their large talons. But which species are the main predators of quail?

      Resources for New Landowners: Soil Management

      Private Land Stewardship is a core component of our mission at the NRI, and our goal is to provide landowners with the resources they need to better care for their land. For new or future landowners, the best time to gather knowledge and information is before making management decisions that will have lasting effects on the land. Thinking of well-managed land conjures up images of lush, green fields and healthy wildlife populations, but it is important to stop and consider where it all begins—with the cultivation of healthy soils.

      Benefits of Multispecies Management on Private Lands

      Not surprisingly, about 94% of Texas is privately owned—84% of that land is considered working lands (farm, range and timberland) making private landowners the stewards with the largest influence over natural resources compared to public lands. As we watch Texas experience the largest inter-generational change in landownership ever experienced, how landowners continue the legacy of land management is up to them, making education the first priority.

      Long Acres Ranch: Demonstrating Native Grassland Restoration

      At Long Acres Ranch in Richmond, TX, we are looking forward to the response of native grasses and forbs planted in a demonstration field in the spring of 2018. We would love to jump to the future and see the results of our 30-acre planting that is full of potential for a variety of life. Even so, we know we will have to wait. As the saying goes, native grasses seem to sleep the first year as they develop their root systems, they creep in the second year with a little more obvious growth, and if we are lucky with rainfall, they leap with growth in the third year. 

      Private Land Stewardship and Plants

      The plant community on a property determines what habitat types are available for wildlife and how it can be grazed, so familiarity with those plants is essential for any land steward. Here we provide tips and tools that will help you learn to recognize your resident plant species and incorporate that knowledge into an effective management plan.

      Private Land Stewardship Starts with Soils

      Soils are the foundation of healthy habitat and can make or break any land management plan. Regional differences in soil structure and composition play a major role in determining which management strategies will succeed or fail, and familiarity with your soil is the first step toward meeting your land stewardship goals. Here we provide contacts and resources to help you take that step.

      Institute hosts tax appraiser, assessor training

      A recent tax appraiser and tax assessor training for land management for wildlife and livestock was a success, according to Brian Hays, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) program manager.

      “The 34 participants attending found the training useful and unanimously agreed the information presented would help them in their job,” Hays said.

      Soil and Water Stewardship Week highlights importance of land conservation

      To highlight the importance of voluntary land stewardship in Texas, the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) are partnering with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Texas Wildlife Association, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The statewide campaign, “No Land No Water ™,” is the theme of this year’s Soil and Water Stewardship Week, April 30 through May 7.

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