Presenter: Mike Herring

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Land Acquisition – Bexar County
January 1999

I. Discussion: The original 4702 acres comprising the Government Canyon State Natural Area were acquired in 1993, with an additional 1100 acres acquired in 1995. The Trust for Public Land, a non-profit land conservation group, was instrumental in facilitating the acquisition of both tracts. Conservation of the property serves multiple functions, including Edwards aquifer recharge, endangered species habitat, and recreational opportunity. The Trust for Public Land, in coordination with Department staff, has continued to monitor adjacent lands for potential conservation options. The approximately 663-acre Davis Ranch - Upland Tract has been identified as a desirable addition to the park, and the Trust has negotiated an option to purchase. The tract is 90% within the recharge zone, and includes one major drainage, and three prominent hilltops. It is heavily wooded and offers excellent habitat diversity. Through independent fund raising efforts, the Trust has secured sufficient funding to exercise their option, and is now ready to transfer the property to the Department at no cost. In return for their monetary contribution, the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) will receive a conservation easement for aquifer recharge purposes, over the recharge portion of the property. The acceptance of this property by the Department will not incur any additional operational or infrastructure expenses.

II. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of the Davis Ranch - Upland Tract as an addition to the Government Canyon State Natural Area."

Attachments - 2
Exhibit A - Locator Map
Exhibit B - Fiscal Note
(Exhibits A and B - Available upon request)