The listing of the Golden Cheeked Warbler as an endangered species generated massive conflict in Texas. The habitat for this species occurs throughout the hill country and large numbers of land owners resented and resisted actions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to preserve the habitat. Texas land owners worried that land values would decline if the birds were found on their land.
In 1993 a panel met and developed a plan to resolve this conflict between the landowners and the environmental agencies. A goal was set to demonstrate that it is possible to have an economically successful ranching operation compatible with the Endangered Species Act.
The Red Corral Ranch was chosen as the working site for the plan and “PlanIt Texas” was created. Creative effort means changing ideas. PlanIt Texas had profound affects in Texas. One of the most significant accomplishments of the PlanIt Texas experiment was the passing in 1995 of Proposition 11 in the Texas Legislature which allows landowners the same tax benefits as ‘agricultural land’ when management is focused on wildlife. This legislation has come to be known as ‘Wildlife’. This allows many landowners an opportunity to improve production options with greater biodiversity and healthier ecosystem functionality, while earning an equal or better income.
Through the cooperation of PlanIt Texas board members, a manual for landowners was published. The manual is a valuable resource for land management on many levels.
In 1998, Tom Spencer and the PBS Station KLRU in Austin produced a episode for the show Austin at Issue covering the PlanIt Texas experiment at Red Corral Ranch. The program covered the goals, successes to date and future plans of the experiment.
PlanIt Texas has brought together a group of people, representing several organizations that normally are locked in heated opposition on most environmental and property issues. As these people work together toward a common goal focused on the success of the Red Corral Ranch, the benefits of diverse skills and perspectives become apparent. No person or group has all the necessary resources, but together we see new possibilities for using what we have in aggregate.
The original participants in the PlanIt Texas Coalition (1993) were:
Texas Wildlife Association
Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
US Fish & Wildlife
Holistic Resource Management of Texas
Texas Nature Conservancy
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Society for Range Management
Texas Department of Agriculture
Native Plant Society
National Wildlife Federation
Riverside Landowner Coalition
Texas Agricultural Extension Service
National Wildflower Research Center
Red Corral Ranch
Center at Selah
San Pedro Ranch