The Nature Conservancy has acquired a conservation easement on 1,640 acres owned by landowner Gary Krause, preserving its unique natural features for future generations, according to a news release.

The easement was funded in part by the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program, overseen by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Krause donated part of the value of the easement as a charitable contribution, according to the news release issued Friday.

Located in Real County, the Krause Ranch features hundreds of natural springs creating a 5-mile-long aquatic network feeding the West Frio River, which flows through the ranch.

The springs and the river host several species of aquatic life only found in pristine, undisturbed conditions. These species disappear as the waters flow to developed areas.

The ranch also features dinosaur footprints, fossils, parts of a historic 1800’s wagon trail, signs of Native American habitation, and innumerable species of flora and fauna unique to Texas.

The conservation easement details perpetual development restrictions which the Krause family and any future owners must follow, preserving the natural features of the property and limiting human impact.

“This was a great opportunity for USDA-NRCS to partner with the Krause family and other conservation minded partners to protect working agriculture lands in the Texas Hill Country from future non-agriculture use developments,” said Darren Clark, NRCS easement program manager.

“The conservation easement further provides a means for preserving traditional farm and ranch values as well as protecting the natural resources.”

“The Krause Ranch is a great example of the Texas Farm and Ranch Land Conservation Program’s primary mission; a working ranch, a prolific watershed in the Edwards Aquifer contributing zone, home to several species of concern, and a landowner dedicated to protecting the resource,” said Chris Abernathy, who manages the TPWD program.

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