The Powderhorn Ranch purchase will go down in Texas conservation land history.
It may appear the whole Lone Star State is being covered in cement and asphalt these days, but we have some good news for Texas nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts: the largest conservation land purchase in state history took place.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has announced that the 17,351-acre Powderhorn Ranch, along the coast in Calhoun County, will become a state park and wildlife management area. The purchase will cost $37.7 million, the most ever raised and put towards conserving land in Texas.
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TPWD says the purchase has been considered for more than 30 years. After purchase of the property, an additional $12 million will be used for habitat restoration and management and an endowment.
A large portion of the funding for the project was provided by the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, created by BP and Transocean in plea agreements for the Deepwater Horizon spill.
It will be the largest land purchase stemming from BP’s restoration funds after the 2010 disaster.
Officials anticipate the purchase will not only conserve one of the largest coastal prairie properties in the state, but provide Texans with new recreation opportunities. While plans for the area are still developing, TPWD officials say the land is perfect for hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, and bird watching.
In addition, Powderhorn Ranch will be a shelter for several species of wildlife, including the endangered whooping crane as well as whitetail deer, turkey, quail and waterfowl.
The ranch also contains thousands of acres of wetlands and marshes, which provide natural water filtering and help prevent sea level rise to protect local residents from floods and storm surges.
Supporters of the purchase are hopeful it will help ward off development and environmental degradation in the area. With the funds gleaned from the infamous Deepwater Horizon oil spill, TPWD and its partners hope the Powderhorn Ranch and other conservation projects will not only repair some of the damage caused, but help to prevent similar disasters in the future.
What do you think of the Powderhorn purchase? How would you help conserve great hunting and fishing spots in your state? Let us know in the comments.
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