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Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

 

Briefing

The mission and functions of the TPWD and TPWD Land Conservation Program.

January 28, 2016

The mission statement of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is:

To manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide
hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of
present and future generations.

TPWD provides outdoor recreational opportunities by managing and protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat and acquiring and managing parklands and historic areas. It has inherited the functions of many state entities created to protect Texas' natural resources. In 1895, the legislature created the Fish and Oyster Commission to regulate fishing. The Game Department was added to the commission in 1907. The State Parks Board was created as a separate entity in 1923. In the 1930s, projects of the federal Civilian Conservation Corps added substantially to the state's parklands. In 1951, the term oyster was dropped from the wildlife agency's name, and in 1963, the State Parks Board and the Game and Fish Commission were merged to form the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The legislature placed authority for managing fish and wildlife resources in all Texas counties with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department when it passed the Wildlife Conservation Act in 1983.

Currently, the agency has 11 divisions: Wildlife, Coastal Fisheries, Inland Fisheries, Law Enforcement, State Parks, Infrastructure, Legal, Administrative Resources, Communications, Human Resources and Information Technology. Two senior executive staff provide special counsel to the executive director in the areas of operations and administrative matters.

The Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program will be administered by the Land Conservation Program (LCP) of TPWD. The LCP operates within the Executive Office. The LCP serves all of TPWD by providing land transaction and land conservation services, including land acquisition and disposition, leasing, negotiation of third-party surface uses, and real estate administration. LCP develops and maintains policies and procedures regarding all aspects of land conservation, from guidelines for conservation easements to resolution of boundary disputes, to establishment of standardized damage and easement fee schedules. Program functions include maintaining current and historic land records, tracking federal interests in TPWD lands, monitoring revenue generated by easements and surface use agreements, resolving boundary conflicts, and working with partners such as foundations and non-governmental organizations to achieve priority land conservation goals in Texas. TPWD lands include roughly 1.4 million acres comprised of 97 State Parks, 51 Wildlife Management Areas, and numerous support facilities.