Greater Big Bend Conservation Partnership

Bill Broyles landscape

The Borderlands Research Institute is now accepting applications for its Greater Big Bend Conservation Partnership program. The application period will be open from October 24 through December 22 of this year (2022).

The Borderlands Research Institute is now accepting applications for its Greater Big Bend Conservation Partnership program. The application period will be open from October 24 through December 22 of this year (2022).

The Borderlands Research Institute, along with the Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT), have joined forces with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement landscape-scale conservation initiatives across the Greater Big Bend Region of West Texas. The effort is fueled by a $3.5 million commitment from the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which will help fund innovative conservation approaches on private lands, including habitat restoration efforts, conservation easements, and ecosystem services compensation.

The Greater Big Bend Conservation Partnership is a cost share program that will reimburse approximately 50% of the overall cost of qualified conservation practices to selected landowners. Eligible activities include grassland restoration via brush management (both mechanical and chemical), riparian restoration, and construction of wildlife friendly fencing. This initiative has no Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) restriction and is available to landowners in Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio Counties of Texas.

Participating cooperators must be willing to allow limited access (with landowner approval and coordination) to BRI and NRCS personnel to monitor approved projects for up to three years. Applicants must either currently have (or be willing to establish) a Farm Record with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to be eligible for this cost-share opportunity. Please visit the FSA website to learn more about establishing a Farm Record.

The Greater Big Bend Conservation Partnership is managed by the BRI Center for Land Stewardship and Stakeholder Engagement, which is responsible for implementing restoration and enhancement projects, as well as monitoring and evaluating projects. TALT personnel will provide the expertise for all conservation easement agreements, as well as evaluation of ecosystem services and assessing ecosystem services compensation options. Please visit the TALT website for more information on conservation easements or ecosystem service compensation.

The NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program funding provides opportunities for conservation partners to collaborate one-on-one with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners throughout the nation to implement systems that conserve water and soil resources, improve the health of wildlife habitats and increase climate resilience. RCPP partners offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding. To date, RCPP has leveraged partner contributions of more than $1 for every $1 invested by USDA, resulting in nearly $3 billion collectively invested in natural resource conservation on the nation’s private lands.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.