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News Release

NRCS Awards Funds in Texas to Encourage Public Access to Private Lands

Mark Alford
(254) 742-9825

Temple, Texas, March 12, 2020 — The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding nearly $49 million to help state and tribal governments encourage private landowners to allow public access to their land for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent recreation.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will receive $1.8 million this year through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) and will negotiate annual rental agreements and lengths with willing landowners based on the quality and location of their property and the recreational opportunities it can provide.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will expand its public hunting draw system, its annual public hunting program, and its river access and conservation areas program. The department will increase the number of public hunting areas and days and the acreage of an existing small game hunting lease program. It will also increase the number of private lands drawn hunting permits available through the state run system, maintain existing leased river access sites, and establish new leased river access sites for fishing, paddling and wildlife viewing.

A majority of the funded projects expand public access programs, increasing the number of private land acres available to the public for recreation. Awardees may use up to 25 percent of their award funding to create, restore or enhance wildlife habitat on private lands opened for public access.

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