Grazing, Hunting, and Endangered Species Management are Compatible Practices: Diversifying Income Through a Multi-species Approach
Authors: M. Marshall, B. Hays, R. Reitz, J. Goodwin, M. Machacek, J. C. Cathey
Texas has experienced severe drought events, massive wildfires, water quantity and quality issues, and a substantial conversion of rural lands to other uses, all of which have affected how landowners manage farms and ranches for crops, timber, livestock, and wildlife. Mixing livestock and game species management has been the focal point for many people, but endangered species listings further compound management challenges by placing restrictions on what private landowners can and cannot do with habitat for these species that may be present on their land. With over 100 species currently being considered for listing in Texas under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it is imperative landowners become increasingly aware of issues related to rare species. Many people are unaware that managing for game species is often good management for endangered or rare species. The black-capped vireo is an endangered bird that occurs throughout much of central-Texas, and represents an ideal species, whose management results in good habitat for game species such as white-tailed deer and northern bobwhite. Financial incentives associated with endangered species management promote healthy rangelands. A rancher interested in managing for livestock, white-tailed deer, and black-capped vireos, diversifies his/her income by receiving additional money from 3 sources: livestock, hunting, and rare species management. Landowners can take advantage of state and federal incentive programs to diversify income through good land stewardship for livestock and wildlife. These programs include the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department [TPWD]) and federal resources, like the Partners Program (US Fish and Wildlife Service), and Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), and Wetland Enhancement Program (WEP) offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).