Connemara receives challenge grant from Dixon Water Foundation

The Dixon Water Foundation promotes healthy watersheds through sustainable land management to ensure that present and future generations of Texans have the water resources they need.

The Dixon Water Foundation promotes healthy watersheds through sustainable land management to ensure that present and future generations of Texans have the water resources they need.

We are very excited to announce that one of our most loyal supporters, the Dixon Water Foundation, has announced a Challenge Grant that will match up to $25,000 in new funds raised by Connemara through the end of June.

Contributions to Connemara can be made at

Dixon-Water-FoundationThe challenge is in support of our efforts to help address land and water issues through conservation and education programs and kicks off our new capacity building campaign.

The Dixon Water Foundation was founded in 1994 by the late Roger Dixon and promotes healthy watersheds through sustainable land management to ensure that present and future generations of Texans have the water resources they need.

They recognize that land-use decisions being made today have a significant impact on water quality, not only now but also decades into the future.

Support of The Dixon Water Foundation helps ensure that we have the resources needed to work with landowners, developers and local governments on land conservation initiatives directly linked to protecting water quality and quantity throughout North Texas.

Robert Potts,  president of  The Dixon Water Foundation,  believes the need has never been greater for organizations such as Connemara.

“The Dixon Water Foundation is proud to support Connemara’s work because it is vital to maintaining and improving the quality of life for all North Texans,” Potts said in announcing the Challenge Grant.

North Texas is a great place to call home. It is recognized worldwide as a region that sustains its economic success and vitality because of its highly desirable communities, innovative people and varied natural assets. Yet we face a real threat to the quality of life that makes it so special. That threat is water, or a lack thereof.

The Dixon Water Foundation Grant coincides with the launch of Connemara’s “Forging Our Future for North Texas” three-year plan to improve the organization’s capacity in order to expand our pivotal role in land-use decisions and water quality matters that impact the Dallas-Fort Worth region of Texas.

You will be hearing more about this plan in the coming weeks, but its purpose is to enable us to address a concern that is top of mind and that many people are discussing, but not many people are solving. It’s going to take the partnership of the three sectors — private, public and nonprofit — to find the solutions that protect our quality of life here in North Texas, and all of Texas for that matter.

Under this plan, we will focus our efforts on:

  • protecting natural resources, especially water quality, to safeguard the future of our community;
  • educating decision-makers about the importance of land use decisions to the future of our community and economy;
  • improving health and quality of life by providing the public with opportunities to be outside;
  • stewardship of conserved land in perpetuity.

Again, to support these efforts (and double your contribution, thanks to the Dixon Water Foundation) please visit



Senate saves 2014 tax incentives for conservation

The Senate recently passed a last-minute measure that allows for tax deductions in 2014 to benefit conservation.

The provisions are:

  • Anyone that donates a conservation easement in 2014 may deduct 50% of their AGI per year for the year of donation and an additional 15 years, until they have deducted the full value of their donation.  Qualified farmers, ranchers and forestland owners may deduct 100% of their AGI.
  • S corporations may deduct the fair market value of their charitable contributions and are not limited to deducting no more than their basis in their S corporation stock.
  • Donors who are older than 70 1/2 may donate up to $100,000 to charity out of their IRA without paying taxes or penalties on the withdrawal.

The political landscape has shifted when it comes to tax incentives because of bipartisan fighting over tax cuts vs. spending.  Land conservation advocates are concerned that the current political climate threatens the industry’s capacity to work with smaller ranchers and landowners who need the conservation incentives to make their work affordable.

That’s a big deal for Texas where there is so much AG land that provides food for the country.  At least conservation groups have  this year to finish projects that are in the works.


Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn needs to hear from you!

Perhaps more than in any other state, Texas prides itself on the private ownership of land.  This isn’t a state where the federal government will be coming in with a grand plan for a large National Park.

If we want to continue enjoying wide open spaces, however, and if we want our cash-strapped ranchers and farmers to be able to keep producing the food we eat, then something must happen to make sure that land conservation remains a reality here at home.

Our quality of life depends on it!

The enhanced tax incentive for land conservation is the predominant tool we have in Texas to conserve land.  We need your help to make sure it doesn’t go away.

You CAN help, and you can do it today.

The U.S. Senate leadership will soon be considering a bill that protects the charitable giving incentives that mean so much to all non-profits and makes the easement incentive for land conservation a permanent part of the tax code.   It passed in the U.S. House of Representatives with bi-partisan support!

Now is the time for Senator John Cornyn to know that this matters to you.  Only during the post-election “lame duck” session of Congress can this happen.  We only have until December 31st.

Please Contact Senator Cornyn today!  

Your message can be short and simple: “Senator Cornyn, land conservation matters to me as a resident of the great state of Texas.  Please vote “yes” in support of the easement incentive for land conservation.”

There are several ways you can make your voice heard:

Email Your Support Here:

Call his North Texas office: 972-239-1310

Call his Washington, DC office : 202-224-2934

For more information about the tax incentive and other conservation issues, contact the Land Trust Alliance at


Another local government doing development right

OpenspaceA few weeks ago we highlighted a couple of forward thinking cities that are making protection of open space a part of their development strategy. Now we’d like to recognize another.

The Town of Prosper has received three major grants that will translate into additional park space as the region plans for the development heading north.

Under the Collin County Parks and Open Space Strategic Plan, the county sets aside funding for parkland acquisition projects that meet certain criteria. Cities and towns apply for these funds by proposing to use the funds for specific parks, trails and open spaces that will be used for the common good.

Prosper requested funding for the acquisition of more than 18 acres of land adjacent to the as-yet-undeveloped Cockrell Park on the Town’s northeast side.

Local officials recognized  the value of increasing the existing park by more than twice its current size and, as a result, the county agreed to award $450,000 toward the purchase of the land. Since the grant represents a little less than half the total cost of the tract, bond funds and other sources will make up the difference.

According to Hulon Webb, Prosper’s Executive Director of Development and Community Services, “The land is virtually pristine. There is a running creek within the acreage and it remains essentially in its natural state. There is still some wildlife residing in it and native plants flourish throughout the space.”

Plans for the parkland are still being developed, but a connection to Cockrell Park as well as a trail leading to Whitley Place are already envisioned.

Hopefully other communities will take Prosper’s lead in recognizing the importance of protecting open space in the face of development so their citizens can enjoy a better quality of life.



Site last updated November 3, 2020 @ 7:50 pm