If Texas were an independent nation, it would have the 10th largest GDP on earth. Within this booming economy, the financial services industry takes many forms including banking, insurance, and real estate. An estimated 36 financial services companies from 13 countries either established or expanded operations in Texas between 2009 and 2014. Financial service leaders are also actively involved in conservation— from helping communities recycle paper to aiding private landowners in adopting conservation easements, the financial industry is banking on the environment.
Texas is justly famous for wild landscapes: its vast stretches of prairie, scrubland, and forest contain some of the country’s most stunning natural spaces. Landowners have a huge part to play in conservation, as 95 percent of land in the state is privately owned. Ranchland and private acreages can shelter clean waterholes, native plants and animals, and ecosystems that otherwise might be lost. That’s the kind of property where brokerage firm King Land & Water specializes.
The Fort Davis-based “Conservation Real Estate Company” was founded by James King, who for twenty years served as Director of Land Protection for The Nature Conservancy, and Tammy King, a longtime real estate broker. Together, they’ve drawn on decades of relationships with landowners, buyers, sellers, and state and federal natural resource agencies to protect over 500,000 acres of land and water in Texas.
King Land & Water specializes in conservation easements: voluntary legal agreements that permanently limit development of the land in order to protect its conservation value, all while landowners keep using it. The result? Protected views, wildlife habitat, and clean water, in addition to significant tax benefits.
The company has represented more than thirty landowners in selling conservation easements to the City of San Antonio through its Edwards Aquifer Protection Program, which helps protect the water quality and quantity within the Edwards Aquifer for the benefit of the people in Central Texas. The aquifer provides drinking water, and fuels the clear green creeks and springs of the Texas Hill Country that are home to species like the endangered Barton Springs Salamander.
King Land & Water also contributes to numerous conservation organizations, including the Borderlands Research Institute, The Devils River Conservancy, Port Aransas Conservancy, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, and the Texas Wild Film Tour. Its staff participates in activities like bird counts and the Davis Mountain Hummingbird Festival.
“Texas is growing at a rate where the conservation of land and water needs to happen at an increasing pace to keep up with impacts on rural lands, working ranches, and our natural lands and waters,” says James King, co-founder. “King Land and Water plans to work with the agencies and landowners in accomplishing these activities.”