Narayanan, Christopher Ram (2004-11). Landowner survey of a cost-share brush management program in two Texas watersheds. Master's Thesis.
With the expanding population of Texas and the resulting increase in demand for water, the scarcity of water is becoming an increasingly urgent issue and research is being conducted to find ways to improve water yield, the amount of water that is used for aquifer recharge and riparian areas (lakes, streams, etc). Rangelands provide a major catchment for both surface reservoirs and aquifers. The Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and the Twin Buttes Drainage Area were selected to determine the tradeoffs between brush management for increased water yield and wildlife habitat improvement. In April 2002, a mail survey of 300 randomly selected landowners was conducted in each of the two watersheds to gain information regarding their demographics, land cover, and willingness to enter into a cost-share brush removal program. A total of 131 usable questionnaires (43.7%) were returned by Edwards Aquifer area participants, and 141 usable questionnaires (47.0%) were returned by Twin Buttes area participants. Respondents were asked questions including attitudes towards brush amounts and management strategies, and certain constraints that may be included in a cost-share brush removal program. Most respondents indicated interest in enrolling at least part of their land in such a program. Reasoning behind interest varied in each study area. However, interest in various contractual agreements was neutral at best. Policy implications entail considering wildlife habitat mitigation, landowners' preferences, and potential for increasing water yield and determining if all can be managed, or if trade-offs must be considered.