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Texas Water; Success in the Desert

March 23, 2021
posted in: Conservation, News

The Wild Sheep Foundation, in partnership with the Texas Bighorn Society (TBS), recently completed one of three water development projects in the state's northern bighorn sheep range in the Trans Pecos Region, specifically Beach Mountain.

Since 1983, the TBS has partnered with the Wild Sheep Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to restore desert bighorn sheep to historic levels in Texas. To date, over $3,000,000 has been raised and spent on this effort.

The goal of this project is continued expansion of desert bighorn populations into suitable habitats within Texas by establishing reliable year-round water sources for desert bighorn sheep and other native wildlife, where water is currently lacking.

The project involved installing one rainwater catchment system with funding provided by WSF and the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's Outdoor Fund. Additional manpower for the project was provided by the Bass Pro Shops store in El Paso, Texas. Fifty store employees volunteered for five available workforce positions.

Since 1983, desert bighorn numbers in Texas have grown from 100 animals to today’s estimate of 1,500 wild sheep.

The provided funds were used for materials and supplies (poly tanks, sheet metal, fastening devices, poly-pipe, fixtures, troughs, apron flashing and metal, t-posts, and wire), as wells as helicopter services for flying materials, equipment and personnel (labor) to project location.

In addition to the new water source's benefits, the project also provided a public education project benefit. By involving the public and youth, more people got to see first-hand how conservation actions lead to expanded bighorn sheep populations, which results in increased hunting opportunities and sustainable use of the resource. This, in turn, attracts even more advocacy and funding for more wild sheep.

Two other water developments were completed for Beach Mountain, with another planned for the Van Horn Mountains, with funding provided by the Texas Bighorn Society and individual cooperating landowners.

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