Conservation | Stowers Ranch


Conservation of land and wildlife has been at the heart of Stowers Ranch's operating philosophy since 1904.

Our commitment to conservation of land and wildlife culminated in our 2007 donation of a conservation easement to The Nature Conservancy.

This easement--the largest donated to TNC in Texas up to that time--limits development of the land while leaving it in private ownership and protecting important habitat for native animals and plants for generations to come.

TNC recognizes that “Water is the reason the Hill Country is such a beautiful and biologically rich part of the state, and the rivers of Central Texas are critical to ecological health and human well-being. The North Fork of the Guadalupe River runs through the property for about a mile and a half. In addition to conserving the springs and the river, the easement protects habitat for rare black-capped vireos and golden-cheeked warblers, as well as aquatic habitat for Guadalupe Bass.”

Conservation efforts

Conservation efforts on the Ranch began in the early part of the 20th century when G. A. Stowers constructed a deer proof perimeter fence and introduced a wildlife management program.

Subsequently, in the 1940's, the encroachment of ashe juniper was recognized as a serious threat to native grasslands, and the ranch then initiated major land clearing projects that continues to this day.

The resolve to restore the landscape's historical “stirrup high grasses” was furthered by the efforts of a former ranch manager, an authority on native plants, who had earlier been range manager of neighboring Kerr Wildlife Management Area.

Sheep and goats were removed from the Ranch, and attention focused on a single herd of cattle permitted to graze only a portion of the Ranch at one time.

Subsequently, Allan Savory's Holistic Resource Management philosophy and concern for bio-diversity influenced the Ranch's operations.

Large pastures have been divided into smaller paddocks, and the growth rate of the plants determines cattle moves.

Promoting a healthy ecosystem

In recent years, the Ranch has developed a strong working relationship with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Federal agency that “works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems.”

The NRCS in 2008 commissioned an in-depth study of the Ranch, resulting in a number of recommendations that included additional cross fencing and more water points for the benefit of both livestock and wildlife.

These recommendations are now being implemented.

The Ranch has also worked cooperatively with US Fish and Wildlife and Environmental Defense Fund, under a Safe Harbor Agreement, to establish a 40 acre sanctuary for the endangered Black-capped Vireo.