Connemara Conservancy Celebrates Record Growth In 2013

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The Connemara Conservancy Foundation celebrated its most successful year ever for protecting open space in 2013, adding 1,420 acres of land under five new conservation easements to the conservancy’s easement portfolio.

“It was an amazing year,” said Executive Director Sandra Greenway. “It has become obvious that the need for Connemara has never been greater. There is a growing awareness of the importance of open space in maintaining our quality of life, and it is rewarding to see so many landowners, developers and local governments working together to make sure that we develop the remaining areas of North Texas in a thoughtful way that will benefit generations to come.

”More than 1,400 additional acres of open space were placed under easement as both working ranches and natural areas, bringing the total number of acres now being forever protected by Connemara to more than 5,400.

The new easements included:

  • Working with the Rowden family in Bullard Texas, Connemara is protecting 76.5 acres of the family’s land along W. Mud Creek in Smith County.  The property is a floodplain area and will be planted with wetland trees and used as a wetlands mitigation bank to offset impacts to other wetland losses in that area of the state.
  • Partnering with the Dixon Water Foundation to place a conservation easement on their second organic cattle and sheep ranch in Cooke County south of Muenster. The 778-acre ranch is characterized by native tall grass prairie and wide open spaces where the cattle are on a grazing management plan to sustain high quality pastures.
  • Partnering with two landowners in Henderson County east of Athens to place two conservation easements on 24,500 linear feet of stream channels and associated wooded riparian corridor on the Flat Creek watershed. This will act as mitigation for damages to streams in a reservoir building project in another east Texas watershed.
  • Completing a conservation easement on a wetland mitigation bank project in Ellis County along Interstate 45. The 347-acre floodplain area on Red Oak Creek will be enhanced by restoring wetlands and stream channels and planting wetland trees.
Among other 2013 highlights were:
  • Landowner outreach programs extending beyond Collin and Dallas Counties:
  • Master Naturalist Regional Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Native Prairies Association of Texas in Paris, Texas.
  • Cross Timbers Regional Workshop in Granbury, Texas.
  • Working with the Town of Flower Mound to update their city-wide conservation plan.
  • Developing a GIS mapping system of land conservation in North Texas.
  • Participating in the National Land Trust Advocacy Day in Washington D.C.
  • Receiving a $50,000 capacity building grant from the Dixon Water Foundation.
  • Doubled contributions during North Texas Giving Day.
  • “Into the Meadow” fundraiser, presented by Whole Foods, sold out for the fourth year in a row.
  • Hosted EarthFest in Allen, providing free access to nature for over 2000 people.
  • Received a $7,500 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for restoration efforts
Greenway said that among the highlights expected for 2014 are:
  • Several thousand acres of additional open space to be placed under easement.
  • A “Kickoff Reception” for donors.
  • Conducting a Landowner workshop in partnership with the Upper Trinity Conservation Trust.
  • Participation in Texas Land Trust Council Conference, February 26 – 28.
  • Participation in Allen EarthFest on April 5.
  • Special Earth Day Screening of “Green Fire” at Alamo Drafthouse on April 22.
  • Participation in Earth Day Texas on April 26 and 27.
  • Participation in Native Prairies Association of Texas, State of the Prairie Conference, May 29-31
  • Hosting more workshops designed to educate landowners and developers on ways to best protect undeveloped land.
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