Strategic Conservation Planning

Hill Country Conservancy has had great conservation success since its inception in 1999.  HCC now ensures that over 8,000 acres of Hill Country working farms and ranches and natural areas will remain productive and healthy for many generations to come.  Altogether, these conservation easements and our Nalle Bunny Run Preserve are valued at over $70 million, a conservation portfolio we’ve accumulated by leveraging a fraction of that amount in funding from grants and municipal and county bonds, together with generous donations from landowners and supporters like you.

Now, with help from Jonathan Ogren (of Siglo Group) and the Still Water Foundation, we’re also looking ahead to strategically consider how to better leverage limited funds and make an ever greater impact in future years.  As real estate values and unplanned development increase with time, and residential development moves into new areas, land conservation becomes even more urgent and challenging.  Because of this urgency and complexity, we’re using Geographic Information Systems (“GIS”, a mapping software) to thoroughly analyze our Hill Country landscape and thus better understand how to effectively and efficiently protect precious resources such as drinking water (from creeks, rivers, lakes and groundwater recharge), wildlife habitat, agricultural viability and local food sources, historic features, and scenic views.

In addition, we’re looking at patterns of development to determine where threats to these resources are greatest.   Demographers have estimated where development is likely to occur over the next 10, 20, or 50 years, which allows us to prioritize conservation based on viable opportunities within threatened areas.

Finally, we’re using cost-benefit analysis to ensure we’re getting the most “bang for our buck” with each new conservation project.  Each project must have significant benefits, at a reasonable cost, to ensure that we’re not forgoing other, better opportunities.

As a result of this strategic conservation planning, HCC will pursue future land conservation and fundraising efforts with full assurance that we’re fully informed and that we’re intelligently conserving the most unique, sensitive and quintessential Hill Country properties, to benefit the greatest number of people, for many years to come.  The legacy of this work will be a network of critical lands protected for the benefit of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.