Waterstone is a privately owned and managed 50 acre wildlife area in the Central Texas Edwards Plateau region. A grazing lease with the previous owner allowed the land to qualify for agricultural land use after it was purchased. Agricultural land use was then converted to Wildlife Management.
The overall goal for Waterstone's Wildlife Management plan is maximum diversity of native plants and animals with a special focus on songbirds, non-game native Texas species and endangered species. A Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist who visited the land helped to clarify these choices and also offered assistance in writing the plan.
Waterstone Management Plans
A preliminary Wildlife Management Plan was submitted in 1996 to the county tax appraiser. The preliminary Plan introduced general goals, species of interest and a rough idea of how to implement at least 3 of the 7 Wildlife Management activities. Consultation was available to discuss improvements and changes to the Plan.
The final Waterstone Wildlife Management Plan, submitted in 1997, contained greater detail of how activities were to be initiated. Waterstone caretakers followed the recommendation that the entire plan not be fully implemented in one year. Instead, activities have been phased in over time and are on-going. The documentation submitted each year to the Wildlife Management inspectors indicate that the Waterstone caretakers have acted in good faith towards the plan's goals. The original plan is still in effect today.
There have been many benefits from the Wildlife Management activities at Waterstone. Overgrazing has been stopped allowing for restoration of native vegetation, new species have been observed and documented, and land erosion has decreased. Of course, mistakes were made but the lessons learned have been invaluable.
The activities performed at Waterstone go above and beyond what is required to maintain a Wildlife Management agricultural land use exemption. Do not be overwhelmed by what seems like a monumental task. Wildlife Management is a long-term, on-going endeavor with great rewards. The Waterstone Journal illustrates the significant impact that small, purposeful actions performed over time can have to nurture wildlife species. With a little planning and effort, you can reap the same rewards in your backyard too!