Brockenbrough Ranch is a stunning 286-acre property located near Manor in northeastern Travis County. This working ranch has been used for grazing horses and cattle as well as raising hay for the last 160 years. Brockenbrough Ranch provides abundant clean water to the Colorado River via Wilbarger Creek, which runs through the property, making it essential for preserving the ecological health of the region. This historic property is rich in natural and cultural resources necessary for keeping the ranching heritage of Central Texas alive.
In 2008, Hill Country Conservancy began a partnership with Anne Brockenbrough, a rancher, equestrian, and professional writer with a passion for conservation.
“I see it as my job to help other ranchers find the right tools to hang onto their land before it’s too late,” said Anne. “I look around and see old ranches threatened by development and I realize we must act quickly. Thanks to Hill Country Conservancy and our other partners, there are now tools we can use to protect the land and its heritage to benefit the community now, and for future generations.”
In September 2009, the Natural Resources Conservation Service awarded HCC a $1,000,000 Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program grant to help fund the conservation easement on Brockenbrough Ranch. In August 2011, the conservation easement was completed with matching funds for this federal grant program generously contributed by Travis County, Heritage Title Company of Austin, Mike and Pam Reese, the Shield-Ayres Foundation and the Still Water Foundation.
The Texas Historical Commission has also designated part of Brockenbrough Ranch as a State Archeological Landmark. Future study on the ranch may lead to a better understanding of Pre-Civil War agricultural homesteads, as well as life in Texas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The conservation easement helps keep these resources intact by limiting disturbance of the land, and by providing detailed standards for preservation.
Brockenbrough Ranch is a vital piece of the “green infrastructure” that counter-balances the increasing development along SH 130. It is essential to the systemic watershed network supporting the Colorado River, a water supply for thousands of Central Texas residents and those further downstream, including wildlife.
Working with conservation-minded landowners like Anne Brockenbrough, and generous funders who want to preserve the special character of the region, Hill Country Conservancy will continue to preserve historical and agricultural values and the natural health of land, water and wildlife for future generations.