Land Stewardship > Watershed Management

Central Texas is known for cool, clear, tree-lined streams as well as hilly terrain which seems to cascade to the horizon. Tourists and landowners alike appreciate this setting. Conditions, however, are not always as they appear on a postcard. Landowners can take steps to help their land live up to its potential, as well as, the rivers flowing downstream.

Management for soil and water often go hand in hand.  As soil is stabilized on the land, water runoff is clearer.  If vegetation is healthy on the land, nutrients and chemicals can't reach a stream as easily.  Also, as trees and grasses grow along streams, stream banks resist erosion.   

Water Catchments also known as Watersheds

Every acre of land in Texas leads to a stream, river, and ocean.  The area of land leading to a stream or river is called a watershed.  This word implies that function of water is to runoff.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  Water Catchment best describes the proper function of dry land.  When water is infiltrated in to the plants and soil, movement becomes slow, sustained, and deliberate.  This benefits plants and animals over a longer period of time while water slowly journeys to a stream or aquifer.  Visual cues can help you determine if you have Water Catchment or runoff.

Prevent this by:

Grow Your Riparian Zone

The riparian zone is the band of vegetation that should occur on either side of the water in a stream or river.  Streams are meant to be sponges rather than channels.  As stabilizing vegetation grows along the water's edge, water is slowed down and absorbed into the banks.  This water is released over a longer period of time increasing the chance of having water flow between rains.  The riparian area extends up into the bottomlands with older more long-term trees and grasses.  This region of the riparian area plays a critical role in floods absorbing and slowing down flood waters.  This function benefits your land as well as those facing flood waters downstream.  A few tips to achieving Proper Functioning Condition are:

Make Springs Year-Round

Many springs in Central Texas can respond to managment according to conservation practices.  Landowners doing their part can impact land and people in areas greater than their own property boundary.  One way is to promote the infiltration of rainfall.  Following the principles described above should benefit spring flow overall.  Landowners can gain valuable information by contacting their local groundwater conservation district.  Find yours at

Get to know your spring.  Each spring may require slightly different maintenance and protection.  Pick up a copy of Springs of Texas - Spring Owner's Guide for tips and ask a professional out to take a look.  Overall tips to protect a spring could include: