Waterstone Wildlife home

Preliminary Wildlife Management Plan

Property Description

  • Owner and manager: Responsible parties
  • Property location: Description
  • Property is not currently leased for hunting.
  • Property is fenced on three sides with cow fence with barbed wire. The bluff is not fenced.
  • The land is stoney clay with live oak, juniper and small clearings of native Texas grasses mix. The river area below the bluff is virgin woodlands with large cypress and pecans and thickly wooded with a variety of native Texas vegetation.
  • The land has been used for cattle grazing for many years by the previous owners.

Goals and Objectives

Goals for this property include:
  • Maintaining existing native habitats.
  • Improving diversity of native habitats.
  • Forest management of wooded areas.
  • Increase biodiversity of habitats.
  • Protect riparian habitat (river bottom)
  • Manage the land for the benefit of songbirds and non-game native Texas species
  • Possible future goals of managing land for dove, quail, and wild turkey.
  • Possible revenue from Wildlife Management may include education and nature studies.
  • Protect sensitive habitats.
  • Maximize biodiversity of native Texas plant, animal and bird species.
  • Recover overgrazed areas.
  • Improve habitat and conserve rare native species.
  • Use permaculture design principles.

This plan includes an aerial photocopy map; plant and animal species list documented in 1996 and 1997; specific habitat management actions by category: habitat control, erosion control, predator control, supplemental water, supplemental shelter and a checklist of plant and animal species; grazing lease; drawing of plan.

On 4-26-96, Mike Reagan, The Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist for this area visited the property and recommended that the land be used for non-game species and songbirds.

Habitat Control

Grazing Management:
  • System of high intensity and low frequency.
  • See attached grazing lease.
  • No grazing from September-November to allow annual grasses to reseed.
  • Be present for grazing to keep cattle moving over entire property to prevent overgrazing in any area.
  • Possible frequency of cattle grazing could be as sparse as every five years.
  • Rotational grazing with T. cattle
  • No prescribed burning.

Range Enhancement:
  • Reseeding
  • Preserve existing native grasses.
  • Remove King Ranch (KR) bluestem invaders.
  • New grass seed shall only be native seed stock collected on-site, bought from Native American Seed (in Junction) or Douglas King Grass Seed (in San Antonio) or Gardenville (in Austin)
  • New grass seed plantings will be buffalo grass, sideoats gramma, clovers, big bluestems, brushy bluestems.
  • Reseeding shall also include forbs, using native Texas wildflower mixes. (These areas may be fenced from deer and cattle.)
  • Plant sunflowers in clearings selected for birds. (see map)
  • No herbicides or pesticides will be used - this is an organic ranch.
  • Broadcast method of seeding
  • Scattered leaf litter on new seeds for stability, to prevent washout and 'fertilize'
  • Manually remove KR bluestem. Grub out the roots, pull up after rain.
  • Reseeding shall occur in needed areas only - anywhere bare rocky soil is exposed, in the draw to prevent erosion, to fill in the places where KR bluestem was removed, along the river edge slope seaoats and bushy bluestem.
  • Fence off pasture with best mix of grass and forbs to be used as a seedbank (probably the north pasture within five years - see map)
  • Approximately five acres per year will be managed for improved diversity of native grass and forbs. (see map) Various sections of land will be marked to equal about five acres total.

Brush Management and Forest Management:
  • Carefully select cedars to be removed.
  • Remove only regrowth cedar, leaving large trees.
  • Prune some cedars up to allow for ground cover under trees.
  • Cedar thinning shall be determined by wild cover needs and erosion concerns.
  • No herbicides will be used to control cedars
  • No bulldozing of trees on this land.
  • Cedars shall be removed by hand cutting (chain saw, loppers, grubbing)
  • Clear pasture clearings of cedar regrowth
  • Clear edges of mixed woods from cedar overgrowth
  • Maintain hardwoods and Texas native trees. Remove or trim cedars to encourage variety of tree species.
  • Reseed and plant trees in swales.
  • Fence tree seedlings from deer. Place cedar brush on red oak and hardwood seedlings to protect from deer browsers.
  • Remove and grub out china berry trees, mostly on the lower level by the river to prevent encroachment on the variety of species.
  • Maintain river bottom area forest.
  • Expand biodiversity of trees on entire land.
  • Cedar management shall occur on approximately five acres per year.
  • Overplant shoreline with elderberries (for birds) and sideoats gramma, and mulberry, pecan, sycamore.
  • Collect seed from existing trees and replant in appropriate place with protection from grazing.
  • Maintain and increase native plant diversity on entire property, for the benefit of songbirds and non-game animals.
  • Use only native Texas seed and stock.
  • Leave snags and skeletons for nesting animals.

Riparian Management
  • Lower level along river bottom has never and will never be grazed.
  • Maintain forest along river bottom.
  • Habitat protection for songbirds and non-game species.
  • All actions on the land shall consider wildlife needs.
  • Maintain existing habitats (lower level along river has mix of four o'clocks, turk's cap, sunflowers etc.) for hummingbirds, butterflies and moths.
  • Maintain snags and good cover for songbirds and non-game species.

Erosion Control

  • Build swales on top of ground on contour lines to prevent erosion, slow the runoff and help the rain to infiltrate. Use rocks cedar brush, cedar logs, cedar mulch, nearby fallen logs. (See map for existing, newly constructed swales.)
  • Approximately five acres per year shall be treated for erosion control, along roadways, walking trails, fence line and throughout.
  • Gully shaping, the draw and eroded ditches. Build checkdams out of chickenwire filled with rocks in critical spots along the draw to catch litter runoff.
  • Replant the draw with bluestems and other native plants and trees.
  • Observe rainfall events to determine critical areas for swales.
  • Brush piles and swales on slopes to collect seed runoff.
  • Perennial vegetation on sloped areas.
  • Clearly mark walking trails throughout and make signs to stay on trails.

Predator Control

  • Least toxic fireant control, being careful to successfully identify African fireant target from native Texas fireant and other ant species. Treat imported fireant mounds only.
  • Preserve native Texas ants.
  • Look out for cowbirds, grackles and starlings. Assess impact on songbird species before trapping if necessary. Have not seen these species on this land at this time.
  • Possibly trap feral cats. Notify neighbors.
  • Regular treatment schedule for fireant control.

Supplemental Water

  • Maintain water trough at pasture well.
  • Build rock steps on one side for small creatures to climb up to water.
  • Raise trough pump to create overflow onto shallow surface.
  • Within ten years, add trough at second well on south side of property.
  • Maintain animal trails down the bluff to the river and animal trails along river bottom.

Supplemental Food

  • No prescribed burning on this land.
  • Range enhancement will be implemented with overseeding native plant mixes
  • No feeders
  • Fenced area (the north pasture in five years) shall be used as a seedbank for native species and as a food plot.
  • Plant sunflowers in selected clearings along swale lines.
  • Plant elderberry, mulberry, hollies (other native Texas bird favorites) throughout on swales and fenced in if necessary from grazers.

Supplemental Shelter

  • Retain old snags and skeletons of trees for cavity nesters,
  • Erected bluebird house at pasture well in '97.
  • Put up bat box on bluff.
  • Put up purple martin house at pasture well (within five years).
  • Provide other nesting boxes as needed.
  • Leave brush piles in clearings for mammals and birds.
  • Maintain woodlands for cover.

Census Counts

  • See attached lists of plant and animal species.
  • Add to species list every year.
  • Invite birdwatchers to help identify and learn bird species to document on list.
  • Keep yearly records on lists.
  • Do a deer census with wildlife biologist and learn to monitor grazing effects on land.

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