210 Acres Added to Bastrop Area Nature Preserve (TX)

Bastrop, TX, 1/9/2006 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced that a local natural haven will be conserved to promote cleaner air and to protect prime habitat land for an endangered animal. TPL purchased the 210-acre property and conveyed it to the Pines and Prairies Land Trust (PPLT), a local nonprofit land conservation organization serving Bastrop, Lee, Fayette, and Caldwell counties. This is the second land acquisition purchased using Alcoa settlement funds from a recent civil suit against the local aluminum producer for emissions violations. In 2004, TPL worked with PPLT to acquire 310 acres of forested upland. Both acquisitions are located with potential habitat areas of the endangered Houston toad as designated by the USFWS in 2000.

The purchase of these tracts was made possible by a settlement following legal actions against Alcoa’s aluminum smelter in Rockdale for violations of the Clean Air Act. The lawsuit was lodged by the citizens’ group Neighbors For Neighbors, national groups Environmental Defense and Public Citizen, the US Department of Justice, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. A federal court decreed that some of the settlement funds be used to protect air quality and extend existing Houston toad habitat of the Lost Pines and Post Oak Savannah areas of Bastrop and Lee Counties.

The property will be a major addition to the growing preserved land privately owned and managed by the PPLT. This newest property brings to over 1000 acres protected by the Pines and Prairies Land Trust.

“The Trust for Public Land is pleased to have made this conservation effort possible for the Pines and Prairies Land Trust,” says TPL project manager Amy Wanamaker. “As central Texas continues to grow, conservation efforts like these become more critical to balance new development with the natural areas that are important to the health of our communities.”

“This land adds a significant amount of protected wildlife and endangered species habitat virtually in the city limits of Bastrop and less than a half-mile from Lake Bastrop,” says PPLT President Carrie Knox. “Keeping such a large tract open will also help improve the water quality of Lake Bastrop and, ultimately, the Colorado River.”

The Pines and Prairies Land Trust was founded in 2001 to help landowners protect themselves from unwanted development and to preserve special natural spaces in the region for current and future generations. PPLT has developed a conservation easement on a 670-acre ranch in Paige in northern Bastrop County, a 230-acre conservation easement in northern Caldwell County and owns 1.5 miles of Colorado River frontage, which is now being developed into Bastrop County’s first free public park. Please contact PPLT at 512-308-1911 or visit the PPLT website at www.pplt.org

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit land-conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, the Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 45 states. In Texas, TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres for communities, including areas in and around Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission. For more information please visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org