Presenter: Jack Bauer
Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Land Sale – Kerr County
I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) acquired approximately 250-acres in 1992 near the Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center (HHFSC) that contained the springs and sole water source for the facility. While the property is representative of good quality Edwards Plateau habitat, only 5-acres immediately around the springs function to serve the direct needs of the HHFSC. TPWD has received a proposal to acquire the lands not associated with the springs. The purpose of this item is to provide the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) the opportunity to consider the sale proposal.
II. Discussion: HHFSC is located near Mountain Home in Kerr County. It began development in 1933 as a production facility for inland fisheries. The anticipated water source for the facility was the Stockman or Ellenbracht spring adjacent to the Fessenden Branch, tributary of Johnson Creek, tributary of the Guadalupe River, located approximately 1 1/2 miles from the facility. Development of the facility included construction of a conduit from the springs to the HHFSC and permitting of water rights and acquisition of easements to access the water and maintain the conduit across adjacent non-TPWD property. In 1992, TPWD acquired the 250-acres containing the springs. Water rights and easement ownership along the conduit were reconfirmed in 1993. HHFSC staff administers extensive land management operations on the property, important but burdensome functions not associated with running the science center. (See Exhibit A).
A single landowner owns all the property between the HHFSC and the TPWD 250-acre tract containing the springs. The spring water conduit crosses this property. This landowner has proposed to acquire the tract containing the springs. Staff is recommending a land sale of approximately 245-acres not associated with the springs reserving a conservation easement. Payment by the buyer to TPWD for the 245-acres as restricted by the conservation easement containing land use restrictions would be in the form of design and construction of a 6,000-square-foot library, laboratory and research center on HHFSC valued well in excess of the appraised value of the land sold. (See Exhibit B).
III. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:
"The Executive Director is authorized to take all steps necessary to enter into and execute an exchange contract to sell approximately 245-acres in Kerr County reserving a conservation easement with land use restrictions as outlined in the complete, self contained appraisal report completed by James A. Jeffries, MAI, dated September 4, 2004, in return for delivery of a 6,000 square foot library, laboratory and research center, with an approximate value of $1,200,000, on Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center per TPWD staff-approved plans and specifications."
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