SWCD helping to restore windbreaks in Texas

A partnership between Middle Clear Fork Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the West Texas Nursery is helping to upgrade windbreaks in central Texas.

For more than 30 years, Middle Clear Fork SWCD has been part of the Central Texas Restoration and Recovery program, an effort through Texas A&M Forest Service’s nursery that grows and provides seedlings to landowners for reforestation and conservation by creating, restoring and improving windbreaks.

“We’ve been partnering with them since they began the nursery,” said Gary Bomar, Middle Clear Fork SWCD clerk and tree sale program coordinator. “It’s our main source of product and materials for people to do the plantings.”

With the district’s help, more than 50,000 windbreaks have been established since the partnership began. Efforts to monitor, replace and restore existing windbreaks continue on an annual basis.

More than 300 trees are sold each year, and the survival rate runs between 85 and 90 percent, Bomar said. In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis on replacing older or diseased trees and supplementing areas to enhance soil and livestock protection.

The majority of trees purchased for windbreaks are Afghan pines, Bomar said, as their ability to tolerate drought and temperature fluctuations allow them to establish and grow well in Texas’s climate. Another popular option has been the Italian stone pine tree, which is also drought tolerant.

The partnership with the West Texas Nursery also allows Middle Clear Fork SWCD to expand local interest in conservation programs. Proceeds from tree sales help fund the district’s youth programming.

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