Advancing Texas Land & Water Conservation

Land and water conservation are essential to a healthy Texas. The protection and enhancement of water resources and the preservation of our natural heritage are of the utmost importance to our economy and our quality of life. The Texas Land Trust Council (TLTC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that builds and supports a strong, active coalition of more than thirty organizations working to conserve the lands and waters of Texas.

Since the late 1990s, TLTC has served as a powerful voice for conservation to protect drinking water, Texas’ iconic wildlife, and the rich natural and cultural heritage of the state. Together and in partnership with private landowners and citizens, we work to ensure that the Texas landscape rich in history, natural resources, breathtaking views and recreational opportunities can be left intact for all citizens today and in the future.

To support and advance land conservation across our state, TLTC focuses on several program areas:

Education:  TLTC maintains a strong focus on education and training, to ensure that Texas land trusts are keeping pace with land conservation trends nationally. The Texas Land Conservation Conference is the preeminent statewide meeting for anyone working in the field of land and water conservation, including non profit organizations , private landowners, government staff, volunteers, businesses and agency partners interested in conservation issues.

Outreach & Advocacy:  TLTC advocates for land trusts in Texas, promoting the many benefits of our collective conservation work. Land trusts conserve Texas’ special lands and waters by permanently protecting them from development for the benefit of people, wildlife and our economy. TLTC works to coordinate land trust advocacy at the federal and state level , developing a robust coalition with a unified voice to build strong, sustained support for land conservation in Texas.

Technical & Financial Assistance:  TLTC seeks to provide pertinent conservation related tools and information to land trusts, landowners, and the general public. These include our Conservation Lands Inventory database and maps of land trust conserved lands, our Conservation Easement Guidebook for landowners, our Land Trust Directory and our Transaction Matching Grants Program.


Conservation Provides Essential Economic and Ecological Benefits for Texas

In Texas, open lands help preserve important natural functions, like buffering our communities from flood damage and providing areas for food production. Iconic expanses of grasslands and forests, marshes and desert, farms and ranches have defined our state’s history and culture and continue to sustain our economy. Natural and open lands also help capture our drinking water by letting rain infiltrate into the ground, circulate into streams, and recharge our aquifers. In fact, open landscapes support our rapidly growing urban communities in many ways.

Natural and working agricultural lands support numerous economic benefits while protecting wildlife habitat, enhancing water resources, preserving farm, ranch and forest lands, and providing public access to outdoor recreational opportunities. But, Texas is losing our open lands at an alarming rate (www.texaslandtrends.org) and the loss of these working lands and natural areas induces stress on our natural infrastructure. In fact, studies show Texas is losing more high quality agricultural lands to development than any other state in the nation. And once lost to development, these lands will no longer produce the same level of environmental benefit as before. Read more about the wealth of benefits that these lands provide in this report by the Texas A&M Institute of Natural Resources- Texas Ecosystem Services: A Statewide Assesment.

Conservation is essential because it:

• Protects sensitive coastal areas, wetlands, rivers, and streams to preserve our water quality and enhance water resources.

• Preserves natural and open lands that can capture more rainwater and allow it to soak into the ground, replenishing our water supply and reducing flood risk.

• Provides essential outdoor spaces for recreation and access to nature.

• Preserves important farm and ranch lands that fuel our econoomy, providing our food and fiber.

• Conserves native habitat to protect our iconic Texas fish and wildlife.

Land trusts are charitable organizations devoted solely to conserving land. Land trusts work with agency partners and land owners throughout the state to conserve Texas’ special lands and waters. By protecting these lands, land trusts help ensure that every Texan has access to clean water and the opportunity to connect with our natural and cultural heritage.

Land conservation by private, non-profit land trusts is a cost-effective and efficient way to protect water quality and quantity, mitigate and prevent flood damage, and support the rural economies that provide Texans food, water, and wildlife resources. The Texas Land Trust Council focuses on advancing Texas land trusts by providing technical resources like our Conservation Easement Guidebook and Texas Conservation Lands Inventory database, as well as first-rate training opportunities via annual Texas Land Conservation Conference.

To date Texas’ land trusts have protected over 1.9 million acres of farms, ranches, wetlands, urban gardens, forests, watersheds, coastlines and river corridors. TLTC is proud to support this effort.

TLTC also provides resources for private landowners who are interested in protecting their land. These include our free, online Land Trust Directory, which lists all TLTC member land trusts by county.  Landowners can search for land trusts working in their area of the state. Our Conservation Easement Guidebook, also available online, provides landowners with useful information about conservation easements particular to the state of Texas, contains a list of commonly-asked questions, and profiles landowners around the state who have used conservation easements to protect their land.

For more information contact us at info@texaslandtrustcouncil.org.