Natural Heritage of Texas
Texas possesses the richest natural heritage of any state in the Union. Among its many natural resources are 5,000 species of plants, including 2,000 different wildflowers, 550 species of birds, mountains, deserts, prairies, marshes and some of the longest barrier islands in the world. Until recently, Texans have known very little about this rich natural heritage that surrounds them. Even now, as we celebrate 150 years of Texas history, we face the very real possibility that remnants of our native Texas landscape may not survive this generation. At the same time, our lack of knowledge concerning the location of rare or endangered biological "elements" has been a major factor in conflicts between developers and preservationists. All too often in the past, major environmental disputes have been the direct result of our ignorance. In order to bridge this biological information gap, the Texas General Land Office joined with The Nature Conservancy and private contributors in 1983 to create the Texas Natural Heritage Program - a two-year effort to inventory the most rare and unique elements in Texas. The result is the Texas Natural Heritage Program information system, which makes possible a more objective evaluation of lands and ecological resources in Texas. The system was designed for simple use and easy access (call toll-free, 1-800-252-RARE) so that decision makers with diverse needs can use the information for their own purposes: whether for identifying potential state parks, or for evaluating alternate routes for a future higheay. The result is a program that will help us protect both public and private lands for all time for all Texans.