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Texas Private Lands Heritage Preservation Partnership

Preservation professionals and private landowners working together to preserve our state’s heritage and quality of life

Over 90% of heritage resources in Texas are on private lands.

Heritage resources are archeological and historical sites that provide educational and economic opportunities to local communities enhancing quality of life for all Texans. Unlike natural resources, heritage resources are non-renewable and once damaged or altered, their historical value is degraded or lost forever.

Therefore, the preservation of our state’s heritage resources relies on the effective collaboration between landowners and preservation professionals.

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Threats and Best Management Practices for Heritage Resources on Private Lands

Land and Energy Development:

Most development and production activities on private land do not consider impacts to heritage resources largely because: 

  • in many cases, the developer is not legally bound by local, state, or federal law to do so;
  • landowners are either unaware of resources on their property, or;
  • neither party are aware of the economic or educational benefits that heritage resources provide landowners and local communities. 

Simple but effective strategies can be employed to minimize the impacts these activities may have on heritage resources such as including provisions in contractual agreements that require the developer or leasee to conduct heritage resource surveys to locate these resources on your property prior to development, and that they avoid impacting any resources that are identified. 

Changes in Land-use

Changes in land-use such as converting grazing pasture into a field for crop production, digging a new stock tank, using equipment to remove brush, plowing a field deeper than it has before, or putting in a new road could all have a negative impact on heritage resources. In addition, beyond the direct impact of these activities, changes in land-use have the potential to cause both on and off-site erosion. If considering these or similar types of land-use changes, it is best practice to consult with subject-matter-experts as to how this could not only effect heritage resources, but also future land productivity. In consulting outside parities make sure they are qualified to provide the advice you seek.

Artifact Collecting 

Casual artifact collecting generally refers to collecting artifacts from only the surface of an archeological site. This would seem to be a relatively innocuous activity; nevertheless, it results in a loss of historical information and should be prohibited. Never collect artifacts from property without the owner's expressed permission.

Looting and Vandalism

Looting and vandalism are the number one threats to heritage resources in the state. Individuals that loot or vandalize heritage resources on your property are essentially criminals who are stealing economic and educational resources from not only you, but from your descendants and the citizenry of Texas at large. Best practices to counter these activities is to conduct periodic inspections of heritage resources on your property and report to law enforcement should you find evidence of these activities. Many looters access your property through hunting leases or as employees of companies that have leased the land from you or have easements through your property, so it is important that you provide clauses in your lease agreements that prohibit artifact collecting or excavations of any kind within heritage resources.

Preservation Resources Available to Landowners

  • Technical assistance from preservation professionals
  • Federal income tax relief for integrating heritage preservation with land conservation easements
  • Property tax relief for providing preservation easements for heritage resources

How we can partner with you:

  • Learn about landowner concerns and collaborate on preservation issues.
  • Provide best management practices for the preservation of heritage resources on private lands.
  • Connect landowners to resources and organizations that can best facilitate their preservation goals.
  • Provide advice on lease agreement language to protect archeological sites on your land from oil and gas developers.

How you can partner with us:

  • Become an advocate for heritage preservation in your community.
  • Engage state and federal legislative representatives about providing more resources and incentives for heritage preservation on private lands.
  • Help us with your tax deductible contribution so that we can expand our outreach and continue to help landowners like you become more effective stewards of the resources on their land. 

For more information on how you can protect heritage resources on your property, please email Eric Schroeder

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