Profile – Barnett Ranch

Location:  western Denton County, Texas

Total easement acres:  990 acres

Skip Barnett says that hBarnett Ranch Denton County - native grasses and windmille never intended to be the poster boy for land conservation.  But, if protecting the ranching heritage in North Texas means becoming a public face for the conservation easement movement, then he is happy to oblige.

 For four generations, the Barnett Family has run a cattle ranching operation on 1200 acres in Denton County between Denton and Decatur, Texas.  Denton Texas is in the heart of the growth center for the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.  The larger historical  family cattle ranches in the more rural areas are being subdivided into a broadening pattern of ranchettes with manicured lots and ornamental plantings, along with a dense wave of gas drill sites and pipelines spreading over this region of North Texas as a result of the Barnett Shale development pattern.

 The family’s reliance on native grasses for forage distinguishes the Barnett Ranch from other ranching operations in the area.  While other operations depend on imported, non-native grasses, such as Bermuda, the Barnett family relies on the native grasses that have sustained herd animals in Texas for thousands of years.  Since these grasses are adapted to the unique climate of North Texas, they do not require intensive artificial irrigation and fertilization. 

 Since the Barnett Ranch sits in the heart of the Barnett Shale natural gas field some extractive development was inevitable.  Since the family does not hold the mineral rights to the property Skip worked with lease holders to minimize the surface impacts of extraction and to locate well pads and pipelines in such a way as to reduce visual impacts.  But the family’s ultimate goal was to protect all of their land from the urban sprawl that surrounds them.

Purposes of this Conservation Easementwelcome bar photo

  • Protect the property’s ecological and open space values;
  • Protect the property’s agricultural productive capacity and assure its continuing availability for agricultural and open-space use;
  • Protect the property’s relatively high quality habitat for native plants and animals; and
  • Maintain and enhance the natural features of the property.

Elements of this Conservation Easement

  • Property will be perpetually preserved in its predominately agricultural and open space condition including the Property’s predominantly grassland habat.
  • Commercial and industrial activities are prohibited on the property.
  • Continuation of compatible land uses (especially agricultural operations) are supported as they have been historically conducted in harmony with the property’s ecological and open-space values.
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Site last updated December 7, 2018 @ 12:57 pm; This content last updated April 21, 2014 @ 6:04 pm