Big Bend Chat
Other Parks of the Big Bend Region => Big Bend Ranch State Park Q&A => Topic started by: Ay Chihuahua! on December 06, 2007, 09:39:59 AM
Conservancy group director to lead Parks and Wildlife
Smith is currently state director of Nature Conservancy. (http://www.statesman.com/sports/content/sports/stories/outdoors/12/06/1206parks.html)
Thanks for the post! Seems like Carter is the right man for the job!
Thanks for the post! Seems like Carter is the right man for the job!That's what I was thinking.
Nature Conservancy’s Texas director Carter Smith named executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Smith helped expand non-profit's private, public partnerships
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — December 5, 2007 — Officials at The Nature Conservancy announced today that Texas State Director Carter Smith has accepted the position of executive director with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Smith has been the Conservancy’s Texas state director since 2004 and has worked for the organization since 1998.
Pete Selig, chairman of The Nature Conservancy of Texas’ Board of Trustees and a San Antonio businessman, said the announcement elicited “pride and mixed emotions” among Conservancy staff and board members.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Carter, and a windfall for the conservation of Texas’ lands and waters,” Selig said. “We will miss Carter at The Nature Conservancy. He has taken the team to new levels of effectiveness, and we feel privileged that one of our own has been selected to fill this role. The Nature Conservancy has always believed in the strength of partnerships – in particular, Texas Parks and Wildlife has been an important partner for our organization for more than 40 years.”
“Carter Smith has been an incredible leader for conservation in Texas and within The Nature Conservancy,” said Rob McKim, the Conservancy’s managing director for the Central U.S. Conservation Region. “While this news is bittersweet, we applaud the state for its excellent selection. The citizens of Texas are fortunate to have Carter, and we offer our most heartfelt congratulations to him.”
Smith was named to the Texas Parks and Wildlife post today during a special meeting of the TPW Commission in San Antonio. The commission took action to accept the recommendation of a search committee for the position in a public meeting after discussing the issue in executive session.
“Carter Smith is a well-respected conservationist and has proven his ability to develop successful partnerships with landowners and others,” said TPW Commission Chairman Peter Holt. “He is a hunter and angler and a seventh-generation Texas landowner. He understands the conservation challenges we face in our rapidly growing and changing state and will provide a fresh perspective as we strive to meet our mission.”
Under Smith’s leadership, partnerships have been key to the Conservancy’s most notable and lasting accomplishments, including making significant land acquisitions and helping to pass ballot initiatives for conservation.
In a state where 95 percent of land is privately owned, partnerships with private landowners are critical to conservation success. Smith has overseen major growth in landowner-outreach programs, including partnerships to conserve entire river basins, unprecedented growth in conservation-easement donations, expanded prescribed fire initiatives on private lands, and a public-private collaboration that resulted in the first introduction of endangered Attwater’s prairie chickens on private ranchland.
Public partnerships have been forged with city and county governments and other conservation agencies, and organizations ranging from local to international. During Smith’s tenure, the Conservancy was instrumental in the creation of nature parks in Austin and Travis County and in San Marcos, and the addition of 24,500 acres on South Padre Island to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Smith led the Conservancy in supporting voter approval of more than $250 million in public funding for conservation.
Smith’s overarching theme within these partnerships was the protection of Texas’ water resources. From the aquifers to the estuaries, conservation of the state’s springs, rivers, streams, wetlands, bays and the Gulf of Mexico has been tied to conservation of the land from which the waters flow.
Smith joined The Nature Conservancy of Texas in 1998 as South Texas project director and was promoted to director of conservation programs in 2003. Smith’s first major project for the Conservancy was the establishment of the Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve, protecting wildlife habitat along seven miles of the Rio Grande at the southernmost tip of Texas. More recently, the organization has focused on protecting the Edwards Aquifer, watershed protection for rivers and streams, and conserving environmental flow regimes throughout the state.
Pete Selig also credited the capabilities and hard work of the Conservancy’s Texas staff members for their contributions to conservation success.
Since Smith took the reins of the state organization in 2004, The Nature Conservancy has conserved an estimated 189,000 acres for wildlife habitat in Texas, much of that through private and public partnerships. Included in that acreage are 24 additional conservation easements accepted on private lands.
Highlights of The Nature Conservancy of Texas’ conservation accomplishments under Smith’s leadership are listed below.
2004-2007: Series of landowner workshops on conservation-management issues was started in the Davis Mountains, in the Hill Country, along the Texas Coast and on the lower Pecos River.
2004-2007: Expanded the prescribed burning program throughout Texas to achieve statewide leadership status in prescribed burning on private lands.
2006: Launched Pedernales River Project to assist landowners in conserving land along the Pedernales River.
2007: Initiated Western Rivers Project to assist landowners in conserving the Frio, Nueces and Sabinal rivers and protect recharge for the Edwards Aquifer.
2007: Worked with city of San Antonio to purchase conservation easements on private ranchland to protect nearly 19,000 acres of critical aquifer-recharge land.
2007: The Refugio-Goliad Prairie Project – a partnership with private landowners to restore and maintain coastal prairie habitat in South Texas – resulted in the first release of endangered Attwater’s prairie chickens onto private ranchland in Goliad County
2007: The Conservancy expects to see one of the strongest years ever in donated conservation easements: 14 easements representing 115,000 acres for an estimated value of $120 million.
Land Acquisition for Nature Preserves
1999: Established the Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve in the Rio Grande Valley, conserving a rare sabal palm forest and other species found nowhere else in the United States.
2000: Created Francine Cohn Preserve on Mustang Island.
2004: Completed land acquisitions for the Davis Mountains Preserve in Far West Texas, expanding the preserve to 32,000 acres.
2004: Created Las Estrellas Preserve in South Texas, preserving the endangered star cactus from unscrupulous cactus poachers.
2007: Acquired the 6,000-acre Fitzgerald Ranch, the Conservancy’s first purchase in the Texas High Plains, to launch the Yoakum Dunes Project to conserve Southern Shortgrass Prairie.
1998-2003: Assisted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with acquisition of sites in the Rio Grande Valley for the World Birding Center.
2000: Purchased 24,500 acres on South Padre Island for transfer to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.
2002: Through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, purchased a conservation easement on the Johnson Ranch to protect endangered whooping cranes on St. Charles Bay.
2004-2007: Strengthened partnerships with Pronatura Noreste and other Mexican and international conservation organizations, as well as with Mexican private landowners; and helped conserve lands and waters in shared ecosystems with Mexico, including the Laguna Madre on the gulf coast, the Tamaulipan Thornscrub in the Rio Grande Valley and the Chihuahuan Desert in the Big Bend region.
2005: Assisted Travis County in the purchase of Reimers Ranch and Pogue Hollow to create the largest complex of parklands in the county.
2005-2007: Provided support for the passage of legislation in Texas to address planning for the long-term management of surface water resources to support the needs of both people and wildlife.
2006: Purchased 251 acres in San Marcos for the city to create Spring Lake Preserve, a public park.
2007: Launched Save Our Seagrass, a pilot project to protect seagrass in the upper Laguna Madre through the construction of boat lanes and the launch of a public-awareness campaign.
2004-2007: Under Smith’s guidance, the Conservancy supported ballot measures in Texas that have resulted in more than $250 million in public funding for conservation.
2005: Leadership in the campaign for San Antonio’s Aquifer Protection Initiative raised $90 million for land conservation to protect the Edwards Aquifer.
2007: Support for the state’s Constitutional Amendment 4 helped gain the approval by voters of $27 million for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to support state parks.
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The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to protect the most ecologically important lands and waters around the world for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 15 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 102 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at nature.org. In the Lone Star State, The Nature Conservancy of Texas owns more than 30 nature preserves and conservation projects and assists private landowners to conserve their land through more than 80 voluntary land-preservation agreements. The Nature Conservancy of Texas protects 250,000 acres of wild lands and, with partners, has conserved 750,000 acres for wildlife habitat across the state. Visit The Nature Conservancy of Texas on the Web at nature.org/texas.