The work of restoring and protecting wildlife habitat can be its own reward. Direct landowner benefits range from enhancing topsoil with native grasslands to improving aesthetic appeal by protecting rare habitat. There are also regulatory benefits. By removing threats to a species’ existence and signing on with Candidate Conservation Agreement, landowners can prevent a listing or limit their obligations if a species is listed.

When these benefits are not enough, landowners have access to nearly $400 million a year in public funding along with tax incentives, conservation easements, conservation agreements and free advice.

The first step to receive this assistance? Find out what is available. We encourage landowners to talk to multiple agencies. This could increase the likelihood of receiving funding.

Find Assistance

This list of links is not comprehensive. Rather it is designed to provide a starting point for navigating the world of private, non-profit, state and federal agencies involved in conservation work. These agencies should know about any funding or program not listed.

We all benefit from clean water, biodiversity and open spaces. But since the vast majority of Texas lies in private hands, so do the opportunities and responsibilities for stewardship. These programs share a common goal of making natural heritage conservation as easy and effective as possible.

Options

Landowners have a diverse array of options. Ranchers can receive pay to fence cattle out of streams, and can find guidance on setting prescribed fires. Farmers can earn money to prevent soil erosion and reduce water use. Incentives exist to encourage recreational property owners to plant native plants and enhance wildlife habitat. Land trusts will pay landowners if they don't sub-divide and develop. Properties of any size qualify.

Programs

The programs continue to evolve as well. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now promotes Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. These diverse programs are designed to protect species on private property and prevent them from being listed as threatened or endangered. The plans often provide free consultations on how to help prevent a species from being listed as endangered and limit the impact if they are. The agreements can also set up conservation banks where landowners are paid to protect habitat to offset disturbance of habitat elsewhere.

Funds

Landowners do need to do homework to understand contracts and goals before accepting funds — they can receive penalties and fines if a project is not completed or maintained. The advice, on the other hand, is free, available to everyone and comes with no strings attached. It can also lead to significant benefits.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has helped develop wildlife management plans for more than 8,000 landowners of nearly 30 million acres in Texas. These plans can help landowners qualify for lower tax valuations on their property and enhance the economic value of the game species for everyone in the region.

Privacy

Property owners can participate knowing their property information will not be shared without their consent.

Both federal and state employees in these programs must get landowner permission before entering privately owned properties. Further, Texas and federal laws strictly protect information they collect about private landowners and private lands during site visits. Biologists will also ask for landowner permission before collecting and/or sharing any data.

Please consider allowing biologist to collect data from your land. Endangered and threatened species listings are guided by the best available information, and without knowing the locations of species, or which habitats they use, Texas can’t create accurate or reputable plans for protecting species as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Plus, volunteering to participate in scientific research, monitoring studies or outreach events can make your land a more competitive candidate for conservation funding sources. It also improves the work done on your land and others and help Texas.