The Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA) and the Hill Country Alliance co-hosted the workshop, “Saving Family Lands: Tools for Landowners in Comal County” on Feb. 15 at the Anhalt Dance Hall in Spring Branch.
The one-day workshop, which highlighted financial and conservation tools available to rural landowners in fast-growing Hill Country counties, attracted 90 attendees. The workshop was designed to provide farmers, ranchers and other landowners with effective tools and resources to help them address issues inherent in passing family land on to future generations.
Speakers presented on a variety of topics including the case for conservation in Comal County; wildlife and open space valuation; financial tools and programs for landowners; conservation easement basics and tax benefits; and the role of land trusts. The workshop ended with a panel discussion with local landowners and conservation easement donors. The presentations generated many questions from the audience.
“With rates of land development and subdivision booming in Central Texas, workshops like this one provide a critical service to landowners interested in protecting their land and handing on a conservation ethic to future generations,” said Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance.
Attendee Steve Hixon said, “It was an excellent landowner workshop. We got very useful information on conservation easements to help protect our family ranch for future generations.”
“The event featured well-informed speakers who covered a wide range of topics related to land conservation — from the basics of a conservation easement to tax advantages,” said attendee Martha Bersch. “The information will be valuable in my family’s discernment regarding the future of our land.”
“It was encouraging to see so many people interested in preserving their land,” Elizabeth Bowerman, President of the CCCA, said. “Some families in our county live on land that has been in their family for six or seven generations! These lands are an important part of the culture and the rural fabric of our area, and the CCCA is happy to be able to help these ranchers and landowners find ways to preserve their land for future generations.”
The workshop was conducted with assistance from Alamo Resource Conservation & Development Area Inc., Anhalt Hall, Blair Wildlife Consulting, Braun & Gresham Family of Companies, Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust, Hill Country Land Trust, James D. Bradbury PLLC, Plateau Land Group, Plateau Land & Wildlife Management, Ranch Connection LLC, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Texas Wildlife Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Wimberley Valley Watershed Association and facilitated by Carolyn Vogel, Texas Conservation Connection.
The Comal County Conservation Alliance is a nonprofit organization working to protect land, water, and wildlife in Comal County. The Hill Country Alliance is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country.