Hill Country Headwaters
Conservation Initiative


Zesch Ranch Grassland and Habitat Health Stewardship Project

Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

A stewardship funding opportunity for ranchers, farmers and wildlife managers

From October 9, 2020 until October 30, 2020 the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative will be accepting pre-applications for stewardship projects. 

Click Here for Pre-Application

Are you a conservation-minded rancher, farmer or wildlife enthusiast looking to enhance the water, soils or wildlife on your land? If so, you are in the right place. Hill Country Conservancy and its partners are now offering land stewardship financial assistance, as part of the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI), to subsidize important land stewardship projects and the purchase of conservation easements.

About the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative Program

In 2018 Hill Country Conservancy, and 19 partner organizations, including the newly-launched Texas Hill Country Conservation Network, banded together to create the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI).  The HCHCI is focused on the conservation of sensitive land through partnerships with Hill Country landowners who are dedicated to enhancing and protecting natural resources. The initiative is financed through a $5.15 million award from the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as part of their Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Now, the 20 partners are taking the first step in distributing this award to landowners who wish to carry out conservation practices to enhance water resources, soil health, wildlife habitat and long-term productivity.

A portion of this award will be directed towards key land stewardship projects that meet the following criteria:

  • the project falls within the Blanco, Upper San Marcos and Llano River basins, and within areas of the Middle Colorado shown on this map, and
  • the project aims to enhance or protect soil, water and wildlife habitat, long-term.

Supported practices include riparian habitat enhancement, brush management, grass and forb planting, tree planting, prescribed fire, planned grazing, fencing of sensitive areas, and irrigation efficiency improvements.

The HCHCI is awarding projects aimed at enhancing soil cover, water quality, and native biodiversity while using approaches that are unique to the property being managed. Applications that demonstrate learning from past successes and failures will be prioritized.

For Landowner success stories click here. 

Read “Getting Started in Stewardship,” an article by Steve Nelle featured in Texas Wildlife Magazine.

To receive alerts when funding cycles begin, click here.