Profile – Pittman Ranch

Location: western Cooke County, Texas  (about 6.5 miles south of Muenster)

 Total easement acreage: 788.26 ac.

 Ecological Setting:  The Pittman Ranch property is located within the Grand Prairie ecoregion; more specifically in the north-south trending swath of prairie landscape between the East Cross Timbers and the West Cross Timbers forested areas of North Texas.  These prairie areas have developed in shallow soils atop layers of limestone.  Prior to human settlement, this area was characterized by nearly treeless plains broken up only by the bottomland forests along the creeks and floodplains.  This area is part of the headwaters for the creeks that later feed into Lake Ray Roberts and Lake Lewisville.

 History:  The Dixon Water Foundation acquired the lands in 2005 as a typical overgrazed collection of pastures.  Commonly, ranchers will overstock their property  under most grazing management styles and allow the animals to continually overgraze pastures and to degrade the slopes of the sensitive creeks.  Under their skilled management and their application of holistic grazing styles, the fields on the Dixon Water Foundation’s land holdings have been properly managed under a rotational grazing program using both cattle and sheep.  Fields are broken into large fenced “paddocks”, and the animals as a mass are moved on a regular basis through the fields; allowing for long periods of rest and grass regrowth for the pastures.  The result is a better yield of grass and a healthier stand of cattle and sheep.  By the same regard, the grassy buffers for streams and water bodies are left with a better grass and forb cover to filter storm water runoff and to protect the water quality of the area.  Dixon Water Foundation applies this grazing technology to all of its cattle ranching activity, which allows them to raise their cattle organically without the use of chemicals, wormers and hormones.

 Description:  The Pittman Ranch easement property is characterized by gently rolling hills with two small intermittent stream valleys.  Most of the land is covered with native tallgrass prairie, consisting of the dominant native tallgrasses and wildflowers.  From many parts of the property, one has no view of any man-made buildings or other structures other than the pasture fencelines.  A few livestock exclusion features (small, circular fenced areas) can be found on the pastures where the pasture is left ungrazed to demonstrate the effect of not properly managing the grasslands with grazing or haying.

DWF’s Goal for the Property:  DWF has been operating this property to serve as a demonstration of good ranching practices.  It is frequently visited by ranching groups and agricultural universities to showcase the methods being used to raise cattle and sheep.  The DWF intends to add a conference area and a bunkhouse to one portion of the Property so that groups can be trained and housed on the property as part of these various educational workshops.  As with many conservation easements, a few small parcels have been designated as building envelopes on the Property to accommodate a residential home site for a ranch manager and building areas for any future construction of an educational pavilion and bunk house.

Purposes of this Conservation Easement

  • Assure that the property’s agricultural productivity and capacity will continue, including future ranching activities and other traditional land uses;
  • Retain the open space character of the Property;
  • Retain the natural wildlife habitat and scenic qualities of the Property;
  • Protect the property’s relatively high quality presence of native plants, wildlife habitat and animals on the Property; and
  • Promote outdoor education of the public.

Elements of this Conservation Easement

  • Property will be perpetually preserved in its predominately agricultural and open space condition.
  • Any commercial or 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 November 3, 2020 @ 7:50 pm; This content last updated April 21, 2014 @ 1:28 pm