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The Hill Country Conservancy, in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), recently purchased a conservation easement on the Ragland Ranch, part of the historic Joseph B. Rogers Ranch, near Buda. The acquisition was yet another step to further Hill Country Conservancy’s charge to preserve water quality, wildlife habitat, open space and local rural heritage in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer region. This conservation victory occurred in large part thanks to the dedication and generous contributions of our members and donors, the Ragland family (descendants of the original Rogers settlers in Texas), and the NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), which provides matching funds to help purchase development rights and keep productive farm and ranch lands in agricultural use.
Land conservation projects such as this one are instrumental to maintaining water quality. Local well users and wildlife depend on increasingly limited supplies of clean water from our local aquifer. Impacts associated with urbanization, such as excessive water use and increased impervious cover, erosion, land degradation and pollution, threaten our water supply.
As water becomes scarcer during drought, water purity is further impaired and land conservation gains even greater importance.
The Ragland Ranch conservation easement will allow for current uses to continue in perpetuity, while limiting the 292-acre property, historically managed for agriculture, to one additional home site and a few new improved roads and restricted impervious cover. The majority of the ranch will remain as native Texas Hill Country rangeland to be cherished and enjoyed for generations to come.
In addition to preserving the natural heritage of the ranch, the historic Joseph B. Rogers home will be maintained as a reminder of the family’s legacy and our local rural heritage. The Joe and Nancy Rogers family first settled in Texas in 1831. Their son Joseph B. Rogers purchased the property in 1869. In 1870 he began construction of the limestone rock house that remains in use today. Rogers’ son Martin Oldham Rogers and his wife Minnie Lea Posey Rogers preserved the home as an historic structure in 1975. Maintaining the Joseph B. Rogers home as an historic structure will serve as an invaluable reminder of our agricultural frontier heritage, as few homes of such historical significance, and in such great condition, from that era remain.
UPDATE: As requested, we’ve added a close-up view of the Vast Open Spaces map.