HCC announces permanent conservation of the 4th phase of the historic Storm Ranch!

stormannouncewebSince 1949, after acquiring their ranch in Hays County parcel by parcel, the Storm family has been committed to good stewardship of Hill Country land. In July 2005, Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) announced the closing of Phase I of an unprecedented land preservation agreement with the Storm Ranch that would preserve this historic land and symbol of Texas’ rural heritage forever. Today, the Storm family signed papers that executed a fourth conservation easement on the property, bringing the total acreage of protected land to 4,423 acres.

“After years of hard work from many parties, we are proud that this historic piece of our community is conserved forever,” said HCC Executive Director, George Cofer. “When a project of this nature is completed, not only does it move our mission of preserving the natural beauty and open spaces of the Texas Hill Country forward , but it is a great example of what can happen when a landowner and countless conservation partners recognize the value of conservation in a rapidly developing environment.”

img_3693Located in northern Hays County, the beautiful property is a working cattle ranch, with historic rock fences separating pastures of native grasses, magnificent live oaks and almost 20 miles of small creeks and streams. The property includes portions of the Onion Creek Watershed, within the Colorado River Basin, and the Guadalupe/Blanco River Basin. With the conservation easement, HCC purchased the development rights to the ranch, ensuring the land will remain in a natural condition forever, and that the high-quality wildlife habitat and scenic views will be preserved for the community to enjoy.

The conservation easements on Storm Ranch are the result of a many-year partnership between the Storm family and Hill Country Conservancy, with HCC’s first conservation easement being on the ranch. Still, to this day the Storm Ranch is a monumental example of the immense public benefit that can arise from HCC’s partnerships with private landowners who have immense concern for their land and want to protect it forever, for the benefit of future generations of Texans.

“We see this conservation easement as a way to ensure that the land’s rural character and its value as a natural area will be protected for future generations,” said Scott Storm. “We hope our commitment to conserving our land will serve as a demonstration and inspiration to other Hill Country landowners.”

The Storm family will retain private ownership and continue to manage and operate their cattle ranch. They also perform extensive wildlife management and restoration activities and lease the land for hunting and horseback rides.

img_3619Will Powers, chair of Hill Country Conservancy, said, “By protecting this property today, the Hill Country Conservancy and the Storm Family are precluding development on one of the biggest ranches in Hays County in order to protect drinking water quality in the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer. Together we’ve come up with a plan that’s beneficial to everyone.”

This conservation easement would not have been possible without the support of the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which facilitates the conservation of agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits.

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  1. Deep gratitude for The Storm Family and for all who worked to towards the conservation easement. Meaningful and profound.

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