Trans Pecos Water & Land Trust: Preserving the Heritage of the Rio Grande

Trans Pecos Water & Land Trust is a first of its kind in Texas non-profit organization working to improve the flows of the Rio Grande in far west Texas and the Big Bend. We are dedicated to ensuring the Rio Grande and its tributaries have sufficient flowing water to benefit riverside landowners, fish, wildlife and recreation.  100% of the money raised from individual donors goes to direct project costs, funding solutions in areas of greatest need.

The Trust’s board of directors is composed primarily of local ranchers, farmers and area residents that recognize landowner stewardship and understand the natural and cultural heritage and economic value of the Rio Grande.

Of Special Interest...

Why the Rio Grande?

PhotoOver the past four decades, Big Bend residents have watched as water levels and water quality in the Rio Grande declined. In 2007 the Rio Grande was listed as one of the top ten U.S. rivers at risk. So many people are extracting water for personal and agricultural use that less than a tenth of the water from the Rio Grande’s upper watersheds survives below El Paso, where the Rio Grande is described as a "Forgotten River." Much of the Rio Grande flows through the Chihuahuan Desert, so evaporation is extreme and droughts occur often, inhibiting the river’s natural cleaning mechanisms. Non-native plants like Salt Cedar invaded where native plants or no plants at all used to grow, and water quality suffers, sometimes so salty it cannot be used by farmers, livestock and wildlife. It is not too late to try to save this great river and restore it to some of its former glory, but it will be hard work and take time. [More...]

More Water for the Rio Grande!

Rio Grande surface water rights are currently over-appropriated, meaning that if everyone who holds a water right were to request a withdrawal at the same time, reservoirs would not have sufficient water to fulfill those requests and maintain storage. However, the river itself does not hold a “permit” to keep water in the stream, and at the time of apportionment no water was set aside for healthy stream functioning, so essentially Trans Pecos Water & Land Trust performs this function by acquiring water rights and “retiring” them from active use (for irrigation, for example) for a period of time - or in perpetuity depending on the type of transaction it is. That water then remains in the stream and is not withdrawn for consumptive use according to the time frame and terms of the contract. [More...]

Alamito Creek Preserve

Trans Pecos Water & Land Trust is collaborating with The Dixon Water Foundation to preserve 1,090 acres of Alamito Creek watershed, a major tributary of the Rio Grande. Located about 30 miles south of Marfa, Texas, this ecologically unique 3.5 mile stretch of Alamito Creek has live water, fish, frogs, turtles and a cottonwood gallery forest. The Alamito Creek Preserve is a great platform to work on a watershed level. [More...]

Working for the Rio Grande

In cooperation with Big Bend Ranch State Park, this project will remove invasive plants and perform riparian restorations in that stretch of river between confluence of Rio Conchos/Rio Grande and Lajitas, Texas. The work will focus on eradicating non-native vegetation and replanting native species when necessary along the banks, in tributaries, on sand/gravel bars, and in wetlands. The Trust plans to conduct labor-intensive removal of invasive species, hiring locally, creating temporary employment opportunities and using volunteers. Funding is needed for this project. If you can help please contact the Trust.


In addition to its restoration work on private lands, in 2008, Trans Pecos Water & Land Trust began a multi-year project to remove salt cedar from creeks and canyons in Big Bend Ranch State park. This watershed, with its many active springs, sometimes contributes substantial run-off to the Rio Grande. Work is performed with the permission and under the direction of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. [More...]