Need another reason to let your St. Augustine parch this summer? Check out Bamberger Ranch Preserve, a land reclamation project/working ranch in Johnson City.
Ever eat Church's fried chicken? David Bamberger got rich selling it to you, and then bought the scrubbiest, most over-grazed tract of land he could find in Texas and began to turn back the clock. He replaced thirsty cedar with native grasses and watched as water pooled in dry gullies and dead springs bubbled back to life. And as the water came back, so did birds and other animals, and the deer got fatter (and tastier!), and now people who thought Mr. Bamberger was crazy (he had a hard time convincing his realtor that he really did want the worst possible acreage) are coming to him for advice.
You can see the ranch yourself if you call and ask for a tour. And after you've read this post, re-read APL's other recent water-conservation blog entries, Dig Holes and Dry Gardening with the City.
Here are links to David Bamberger's book about his ranch, Water from Stone: The Story of Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, and other books on water conservation on the shelves of your Austin Public Library:
Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought, James G. Workman
Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What to Do About It,
Robert Jerome Glennon
Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape, Nigel Dunnett