Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust Preservation Matters

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Conservation easements preserve land for the future

May 15, 2010
Russell Wilde
News 8 Austin
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On the eastern edge of the Hill Country, just miles from expanding subdivisions of one of the fastest growing communities in the state, sits 100 acres of Texas grassland.

When master naturalist Julie Johnson and her husband purchased the ranch, it was recovering from years of grazing.

"We have just a little jewel here. It's protected, it's close to town," she said.

Now, after a lot of hard work, native grasses and wildflowers are returning. While the land could easily be subdivided and developed, the area will stay the way it is thanks to a conservation easement.

"The Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust has agreed to protect this land after we're gone, so forever and ever this land will remain undeveloped," Johnson said.

GBR Trust's Director Janae Reneaud said people entering into conservation easements continue to own and use their land, it just limits future development.

"They can sell the property, but the restrictions on it through the conservation easement stay on the property forever," she said.

Many who chose an easement do it to ensure the land will remain unchanged, no matter who owns it in the future.

"As it moves through generation to generation, they see property around them changing and developing and they decide they want to protect it," Reneaud said.

Johnson said she hopes others will consider making a similar decision. That way, future generations will have open space to enjoy.

"This will look like it does now. It will still be an undeveloped, natural area," Reneaud said.