The primary goal of species conservation is accomplished through protection, management, enhancement, and monitoring of Preserve habitats.
A major component of habitat protection is targeted acquisitions of land that are considered to be prime habitat for endangered species and species of concern. Other activities include establishing secure boundaries using fencing, posting signs in and around the Preserve, and patrolling Preserve properties to prevent inappropriate uses that may jeopardize endangered species protection.
Habitat management activities include development and implementation of land management plans, promotion of good neighbor relations, maintenance operations such as trail creation (where appropriate), and access control. Part of the management strategy for the Bull Creek Nature Preserve is limiting access during the breeding season of the golden-cheeked warbler to avoid disturbing the behavior and productivity of the birds. Also, an essential part of management is public education and outreach. While earning an entry permit for the Bull Creek Nature Preserve through this course, citizens learn about the purpose, ecology, and proper stewardship of the Preserve—thus creating an informed user group on the trails during the Preserve’s most sensitive time.
Preserve and species monitoring activities include observing and counting endangered species within the Preserve in order to determine their current status or well-being in comparison to previous years. This monitoring data is published in an annual report submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Preserve management practices are also monitored and evaluated for their success in meeting the primary goal of species conservation in order to determine which are effective and which should be adjusted or eliminated.
Habitat enhancement activities are designed to improve the habitat for protected species. For example, Balcones Canyonlands Preserve staff collects seeds of native plants and grows these native species for habitat restoration and revegetation in degraded areas. Other enhancement activities may include erosion control, oak wilt suppression, use of prescribed fires, and the removal of exotic and invasive species, such as imported red fire ants, ligustrum, and honeysuckle.