Managing the commons Texas style: Wildlife management and ground-water associations on private lands
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As nearly all of Texas' rural lands are privately owned, landowner associations for the management of white-tailed deer and ground-water have become increasingly popular. Deer are a common-pool resource with transboundary characteristics, requiring landowner cooperation for effective management. Ground-water reserves are economically important to landowners, but are governed by the "rule of capture" whereby property rights are not defined. One ground-water association and four wildlife management associations (WMAs) were surveyed to characterize their member demographics, land use priorities, attitudes, and social capital. Members of the ground-water cooperative were part of a much larger, more heterogeneous, and more recently formed group than members of WMAs. They also placed greater importance on utilitarian aspects of their properties, as opposed to land stewardship for conservation as practiced by members of WMAs. If ground-water association members could be more locally organized with more frequent meetings, social capital and information sharing may be enhanced and lead to land stewardship practices for improved hydrologic functions and sustained ground-water supply. This, coupled with pumping rules assigned by the local ground-water district, could yield an effective strategy that is ecologically and hydrologicaly sound, and that allows rural provision of water supply to urban consumers. 2007 American Water Resources Association.