709 Acres Over Edwards Aquifer Protected (TX)

AUSTIN: TPL has pursued projects associated within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone since 1990, protecting more than 11,500 acres over the Aquifer.

Purchase of the undeveloped land was funded by San Antonio’s Proposition 3, which authorized a 1/8 cent sales tax increment to locate and purchase undeveloped land in the recharge and contributing zones of the Edwards Aquifer as a means of protecting the Aquifer from pollution.

“We’ve tapped more than just clean drinking water,” said Jason Corzine, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “Conserving this area as a park, also guarantees the protection of a valuable piece of the City’s history. And the collaborative effort between TPL and The Nature Conservancy really sets an example for further land and water conservation efforts in San Antonio, and around the state.”

“The Nature Conservancy identified the Government Canyon/San Geronimo Creek corridor as one of our priority conservation areas during our two-year, science-based ecoregional planning process for the Edwards Plateau,” said Paul Barwick, Edwards Plateau project director at the Conservancy. “The reason this region has tremendous natural appeal is because of its wealth of resources, including heritage ranches, clean and plentiful surface and groundwater, considerable aquifer recharge capacity, scenic vistas, topography, and native plant, animal and insect diversity.” ?

The land is part of a large historic ranch, Gallagher Ranch, the oldest dude ranch in Texas. It is named for its original founder, Irish immigrant Peter Gallagher, a civil engineer who was commissioned by Mexican president Antonio L?pez de Santa Anna in 1833 to find a location for a military supply depot within a 25-mile radius of San Antonio de B?xar, the name of the city under Mexican rule. Gallagher Ranch has hosted many famous visitors including the Ziegfeld Follies Cuties, Prince William of Sweden and Will Rogers. Until 1987 the dude ranch was still operating and was home to cattle, horses, goats, wild turkeys, deer and Russian boars.

Beneath its surface, the land protects a rich “karst” habitat, an underground honeycomb of caves, sinkholes and springs that provide suitable habitat for endangered species, including the most recently listed Bexar County cave invertebrates. The land also provides suitable habitat for two rare songbirds—the black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states. In Texas, TPL has protected more than 22,000 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 our land for people mission. For more information please visit us on the web at www.tpl.org

The Nature Conservancy is an international, nonprofit organization that preserves plants, animals and natural communities representing the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 14 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 83 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. In the Lone Star State, with 33 nature preserves and 38 additional conservation projects on private lands, The Nature Conservancy of Texas protects 250,000 acres of wild lands and, with partners, has conserved more than half a million acres for wildlife habitat across the state. Visit The Nature Conservancy of Texas online at nature.org/texas