Results and Accomplishments
During roundtable discussions, group members gained a better understanding of the project’s many aspects. As they let down their guard, the growing trust and understanding brought great accomplishments. Their efforts led to the Leon River Restoration Project. By treating re-growth Ashe juniper rather than removing it entirely, and supplementing the treatment by re-seeding native grasses where needed, they improved habitats and increased the number of Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler. Oldgrowth Ashe Juniper was left to provide nesting sites for the birds. In addition to improving wildlife habitat, ranchers discovered that water quality and quantity improved as well.
The success of the LRRP led to the development of a Biological Opinion under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The LRRP Biological Opinion served as the framework to develop another Biological Opinion statewide. Ranchers are now able to actively manage their land, and the Army has been able to open up its land for training. Landowners now see the habitat as an asset. As a result, both the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo are thriving.