February Projects Update
A trip to DC in support of Castner Range: Mike Gaglio of The Frontera Land Alliance and Richard Teschner of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition—both members of the 4C’s (“Castner Conservation Conveyance Committee”)—are traveling to Washington in March to meet with Congressman Pete Gallego (TX-23), his Legislative Director Steven Snodgrass, Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s Legislative Director Jeff Hild, and other members of the two Representatives’ staffs. Mike and Richard are seeking support, direction and above all new ideas to promote the conservation of Castner Range.
A brand-new video in support of Castner Range: The Frontera Land Alliance, the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition and the 4C’s are proud to bring you a brand-new video entitled Conserving Castner Range. Separately or together, these organizations have been working for over 36 years to ensure that what’s left of Castner Range—all 7,081 acres of it—is preserved forever and incorporated into the Franklin Mountains State Park. The video takes you on a bird’s-eye ride through Castner Range to showcase the land’s natural beauty and how it relates to the State Park, and to give you an idea of the amount of city growth that’s sprung up around the range. It offers a brief historical profile and explains the unique qualities of the range with crisp photos and informative interviews. The video closes with a call to action and gives information on how you can get involved to preserve the remaining land on Castner Range forever. Don’t miss the premiere showing of the video at the 2014 Poppy Fest, Saturday, March 29, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Museum of Archeology on East Transmountain Road. Members of both Frontera and the Coalition will be in the auditorium to discuss the conservation of Castner Range with the public. The video has been filmed and produced by Capstone Productions and Jackson Polk.
USFWS Partners Proposal: Frontera has submitted a proposal to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners Program to work together implementing wildlife habitat improvements on 26 acres at Resler Canyon. We will be notified in October if we were awarded their support. We will address various topics such as non-native vegetation, erosion, a water harvesting site, wildlife habitat for burrowing owls and education opportunities.
National Park Service Technical Support: On Monday, February 10, 2014, Deputy City Manager Sean McGlynn, Rick LoBello, Scott Winton, Ruben Vogt (Policy and Programs Coordinator for County Judge Veronica Escobar) and Janaé Reneaud Field of Frontera met to discuss the white paper. Mr. McGlynn said that the white paper had been reviewed by several city departments. Mr McGlynn recommended we make it clear that the purpose of this project is to inform decision makers about resources and assist in making decisions. This project will not revamp, replicate or replace existing plans, but will help with sound decision-making.
Poppy Fest, March 29 from 11 to 3, at the Archeology Museum
Earth Day, April 5, from 10 to 3 at Municipal Service Center, 7968 San Paulo Drive (off of Yarbrough)
Native Plant Society, NM: Frontera will presenting Friday, August 1, 2014. 10:15 a.m. Frontera will discuss current partnerships with federal, state, local and other non-profits that aid in the conservation of desert lands, wildlife and water.
Frontera 10 Year Celebration: El Paso Zoo will be bringing a Golden Eagle, Takota, for a presentation at 10 a.m. for a 30 minute presentation on Saturday, November 1, 2014. Will keep you posted as we work out other details.
Water Workshop: Investigating the idea of hosting a fall watershed/stewardship/water harvesting workshop. EPWU, NRCS, Watershed Management Group, Stream Dynamics all have said they’d be involved. Stay tuned!
We need volunteers!
For Frontera to be represented at the following events we need volunteers to help out a couple of hours at the Frontera booth talking and meeting with the participants.
1. Earth Day, The City of El Paso Environmental Services Department is sponsoring a fun-filled family day and educational event on April 5, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Municipal Service Center, along 7968 San Paulo Drive. The outdoor event is free and open to the general public. Frontera will have a booth, can you volunteer from 10 to 12:30 or from 12:30 to 3?
2. El Paso Zoo: Party for the Planet, April 12-13, at the zoo, where the public is celebrating our planet, is to be held on Saturday and Sunday, from 9-3. Other opportunities for the Frontera booth at the El Paso zoo include the Elephant Festival (June 7-8) and Bug Awareness (August 2-3). If you wish to volunteer at the Frontera booth please contact the Frontera office.
Around the Nation
Farm Bill Passes House! New 5 year Farm Bill Includes $1 B for Conservation Easements. Farm Bill Signed Into Law by President Obama: Includes $1B for Conservation! Click here for link
After years of debate and extensions, Congress has finally passed a new 5-year Farm Bill. This comprehensive bill includes funding for many agricultural programs, but it also contains the largest source of federal funds for land and water conservation. The new Farm Bill has more than $1 Billion for agricultural land easement acquisition.
The Farm Bill allows the Secretary of Agriculture to waive the cash match requirement for land trusts to fund easement projects (in certain circumstances). With the ability to waive the cash match requirement, land trusts in Texas have a lot to gain. Without a state funding source for conservation projects, land trusts have been very limited in their ability to apply for these federal funds, being able to do so only in certain towns or counties where local match dollars exist. Now, all Texas land trusts can compete for this funding for projects statewide and potentially have the match requirement waived for projects of special significance, or those with important natural resource values.
This new Farm Bill represents a great advocacy success for the land conservation community in Texas and throughout the United States. We thank our many Texas Representatives in the House who voted for this bill and urge our Senators to do the same. This important funding for conservation will protect farm and ranch lands, wildlife habitat and watersheds across the country, for generations to come.