Funding is still available for Texas landowners interested in working with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to implement conservation efforts on their property through the Landowner Incentive Program.
Conservation projects such as prescribed burns, selective brush management, restoring native vegetation, protecting ecologically sensitive areas and fencing livestock out of riparian areas are among the projects undertaken through the program.
“LIP offers a number of assistance opportunities in target areas of the state to landowners working to conserve their natural resources for the benefit of at risk wildlife and Texas Watersheds,” said Arlene Kalmbach, LIP Coordinator.
For example, the Texas Guadalupe Bass Restoration Initiative funding series protects Guadalupe bass populations and their habitats through development of landowner networks for landscape conservation at watershed-scales. Currently funding is specifically available to landowners on the north and south fork reaches of the Llano River watershed and the James River watershed.
Elsewhere, invasive species control and native species protection initiatives are funded through the program in targeted areas throughout the state. Projects on the Nueces and Sabinal Rivers by riparian landowners have focused on the arundo donax, or river cane, an aggressive, non-native grass that spreads quickly in dense patches with shoots up to 20 feet high. The interconnected roots and dense stalks create an impenetrable wall of vegetation, clogging waterways and taking resources from native plants and animals.
The program covers between 50 and 75 percent of the proposed project cost with the landowner contributing at least 25 percent for the project through in-kind labor, materials, monetary contribution and other methods. Projects showing great benefit to targeted species receive priority as do projects offering long-term conservation and protection.
“There are no acreage restrictions to participate,” said Kalmbach. “Interested landowners may contact their local TPWD office and speak with a staff biologist who will aid in an ecological assessment of the land and offer technical guidance on your conservation goals. Together you will decide if the LIP program is right for your project and apply for the applicable funding.”
Biologists say the best way to get your project accepted is to have measurable results and be willing to sign a project agreement or management plan. Proposals are received throughout the year and are ranked quarterly among other project proposals from that year. Selection criteria are based on the extent to which the proposed project achieves the goals of the targeted funding series balanced against the cost effectiveness of the proposal. Landowners not chosen for a project are encouraged to reapply.
For more information, visit the LIP site at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/lip/.