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Private Landowners Making the Difference in Texas    
Representatives from  local, State, and Federal agencies discuss the benefits of managing  upland areas to protect water quality. Credit: USFWS. Representatives from local, State, and Federal agencies discuss the benefits of managing upland areas to protect water quality. Credit: USFWS.

Recently, USFWS Arlington Field Office staff met with representatives from the Northeast Texas Water Utility District, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Caddo Lake Institute, and Texas A&M Forest Service in Camp County, Texas. The group met to discuss restoration projects on private property owned by Partners For Fish and Wildlife program cooperator, Mr. Nelson Roach.

A prescribed fire is  conducted on Mr. Roach’s property to reduce woody  understory and restore open forest. Credit: USFWS. A prescribed fire is conducted on Mr. Roach’s property to reduce woody understory and restore open forest. Credit: USFWS.

Mr. Roach’s property includes 7,500 acres in the Big Cypress watershed and is one of the largest contiguous tracts of intact bottomland hardwood and upland forests in east Texas. Restoration activities are focused on the use of prescribed fire to open up the understory of wooded areas and restore natural flows by replacing water crossings that once constricted flow and impaired water quality.

A new water crossing on  Mr. Roach’s property that restores the natural hydrology of the Big  Cypress Creek while maintaining landowner access. Credit: USFWS. A new water crossing on Mr. Roach’s property that restores the natural hydrology of the Big Cypress Creek while maintaining landowner access. Credit: USFWS.

These efforts will not only benefit rare species like native freshwater mussels and paddlefish, but will also improve water quality downstream, including Lake O' the Pines which serves as a source of drinking water to nearby communities. Mr. Roach is a shining example of good stewardship and the invaluable contributions that private landowners across Texas make to preserve and protect natural resources that benefit all Texans.

Last updated: January 16, 2018