Biodiversity Works assisted private landowners in Bastrop County as part of the Houston Toad Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), which was a collaborative project that began in 2009 with nine partners: Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Department of Agriculture, Lost Pines Habitat Conservation Plan, Texas State University, Texas Forest Service and the Houston Zoo. The geographic area covered by this project was the Greater Alum Creek Watershed, which is a 90,000 acre landscape in the Lost Pines ecosystem of eastern Bastrop and western Lee counties. Conservation priorities included facilitating the recovery of the federally endangered Houston toad, improving water quality in Alum Creek, sequestering carbon through re-forestation and sustainable forest management, and developing habitat-sensitive fire breaks to facilitate the implementation of prescribed burning and reduce the potential for catastrophic wildfire. The goals of the Houston Toad CCPI included:
- Restoring/enhancing 13,500 acres of forest habitat that will benefit the Houston toad through the implementation of various conservation practices including brush management, prescribed burning and prescribed forestry.
- Creating 20 linear miles of habitat-sensitive fire breaks.
- Restoring 12,000 linear feet of riparian forest buffer along Alum Creek at widths ranging from 35 to 200 feet.
- Quantifying the carbon sequestration value of re-forestation and sustainable forestry projects and facilitating the aggregation and sale of associated carbon credits.
- Educating landowners about appropriate conservation practices, resources that are available to them, and carbon markets.
The Houston Toad CCPI ended in 2012, however Biodiversity Works continues to provide technical guidance to private landowners who are interested in Houston toad conservation. Specific activities include conducting habitat assessments and developing conservation plans, including recommendations for brush management and prescribed burns.