San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Storm family has signed a new conservation agreement that will protect 471 additional acres of their historic Hays County ranch from future development. The agreement brings the total portion of the property covered by conservation easements to 4,423 acres.

The Hill Country Conservancy purchased development rights for the property for an undisclosed amount, the Austin-based nonprofit organization announced this afternoon. The conservancy began purchasing conservation easements on the property in July 2005.

“After years of hard work from many parties, we are proud that this historic piece of our community is conserved forever. When a project of this nature is completed, not only does it move our mission of preserving the natural beauty and open spaces of the Texas Hill Country forward , but it is a great example of what can happen when a landowner and countless conservation partners recognize the value of conservation in a rapidly developing environment,” said George Cofer, the conservancy’s executive director.

Located between Wimberley and Dripping Springs, the Storm Ranch encompasses more than 20 miles of streams and creeks in the Colorado and Guadalupe/Blanco river basins and includes towering Live oaks and historic rock fences. The ranchland will continue to be owned by the Storm family and used as a cattle ranch; the family also performs wildlife management and restoration activities on their property while leasing portions for hunting and horseback riding.

“We see this conservation easement as a way to ensure that the land’s rural character and its value as a natural area will be protected for future generations. We hope our commitment to conserving our land will serve as a demonstration and inspiration to other Hill Country landowners,” Scott Storm said.

The easement was purchased with funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement program.

“NRCS in Texas strives to restore, enhance and protect working lands across this great state. … We are making positive impacts across the state’s landscape as evidenced by the Storm family ranch’s conservation easement,” said Salvador Salinas, the Texas state conservationist for the NRCS.

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