De-Go-La RC&D Service Area:
The original De-Go-La Resource Conservation and Development Project was authorized for operations in 1973 under the Food and Agriculture Act of 1962 (Pub. L 87-703). It covered De Witt, Gonzales and Lavaca counties in south central Texas. The project name is composed of the first two letters of these county names.
The project was supplemented in 1976 to add Calhoun, Goliad, Jackson and Victoria counties and again in 1988 to add part of Aransas, and all of Fayette, Karnes, Refugio and Wilson counties.
The Soil and Water Conservation Districts, County Commissioners Courts, Cities, Drainage Districts, and School Districts sponsor the project within the project area. The De-Go-La RC&D Project is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation with its board of directors composed of a representative from each of the sponsoring member organizations.
The De-Go-La Resource Conservation and Development Project will strive to accelerate the development, conservation and wise use of human, financial and natural resources in order to improve the standard of living and level of economic activity and to enhance the environment in the area.
This plan involves a community approach in solving problems with local citizens providing leadership to identify and solve their problems. Resource committees are composed of private citizens in each of the counties in the project area. These local people know the problems and opportunities to improve the quality of their lives.
The De-Go-La sponsors incorporate these inputs in the planning and implementation of the RC&D program. Top priority has been given to erosion control, recreational and tourism development, reduction of safety hazards, and conservation education. Over two hundred and twelve measures have been successfully completed to date, but a lot of work remains to be done.
This plan revision will address continuing and new concerns in the De-Go-La RC&D project area and our efforts to solve those problems and improve the quality of life for the people in the area.
The De-Go-La RC&D Project is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Texas. The Board of Directors is made up of a representative from each of the sponsoring counties.
Benefits of the project will include increased job opportunities, stimulation of the local economy, more community facilities and services and an improved quality of life for the people in the project area. The local sponsors will work with local, state, federal and private agencies and organizations in effort to accomplish their objectives.
Resource Conservation and Development funds help solve erosion problems on public lands, to produce community benefits, and improve water quality. Local and private funding sources will be utilized to implement projects along with available state and federal funding.
The area plan involves a community approach in problem solving with local citizens providing the leadership to identify and solve their problems. Resource committees are composed of private citizens in each of the counties in the area. These local people know the problems and opportunities for improving the quality of their lives.
The De-Go-La sponsors incorporated these inputs into the planning and implementation of the area plan. The De-Go-La Board of Directors has identified the following objectives to guide its work:
The area plan addresses these continuing and new concerns in the De-Go-La Project Area and our efforts to solve them. As the needs of our area change, we will change our objectives to meet those needs.
LOCATION AND SETTING
The De-Go-La Resource Conservation and Development Project office is located at 312 S. Main Rm 310, Victoria, Texas 77901. The telephone number is (361)570-7138. The fax number is (361)575-9537.
The project area contains all or part of the counties of Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, De Witt, Fayette, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Live Oak, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Victoria.
The project has 43 sponsors. They include 15 Soil and Water Conservation Districts, 14 County Commissioners Courts, 8 Cities, 3 Drainage Districts, and one Port Authority.
The project area is contained in four State Regional Planning Commissions. The Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission covers De Witt, Gonzales, Lavaca, Victoria, Calhoun, Jackson and Goliad counties. Karnes and McMullen counties are part of the Alamo Regional Planning Commission. The Coastal Bend Regional Planning Commission takes in Nueces, San Patricio, Bee, Refugio and Aransas counties. Fayette county is within the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission.
The area is comprised of 6,277,664 acres. This is divided into 3,294,664 acres of rangeland, 1,181,518 acres of land, 311,436 acres of water and 134,526 acres of other land. The average farm size is 450 acres. The population of the area is about 220,186 people.
The soils of the project area range from light colored upland soils, dark bottomland soils and sandy loams to clayey soils of the coastal areas. The upland soils are mostly rolling and susceptible to erosion when cultivated without adequate conservation treatment. Most bottomland and coastal soils are subject to frequent flooding.
The climate is humid subtropical with hot summers and mild winters. Average annual rainfall ranges from 28 inches in the western portion to 42 inches in the eastern portion. The rainfall is adequate to permit row-crop farming. The short period of cold weather makes it possible to raise cattle without shelter and to permit outdoor activities most of the year.
The Colorado, San Marcos, San Antonio, Mission, Aransas, Guadalupe, Navidad and Lavaca Rivers are found within the De-Go-La Project Area. They supply water for municipal, agricultural and recreational use. These rivers are very scenic and have potential for additional recreational and wildlife development. Pecan production and improved pastures can be developed in the flood plains.
The major agricultural enterprises of the area are grain sorghum, corn, rice, melons, peanuts, soybeans, cotton, and cattle. Aquaculture is becoming an important diversification. Wildlife and waterfowl provide economic supplements.
The major industries providing employment are oil, gas, chemicals, metal smelters, leather goods, food and other service employers. School and university systems are also major employers. Recreational fishing, fish, shrimp and crab processing also offer employment.
Corpus Christi is the major population center with approximately 332,000 people. There are 22 other cities in the area with an average population of 5,520 people.
There are 34 small towns and communities in the area that would benefit it from rural development.
PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES
The majors problems affecting the quality of life for the people in the De-Go-La Resource Conservation and Development Project Area are depressed economic conditions, migration of young people from the area, soil erosion, management of excess water, encroachment of undesirable woody species on grasslands, improper management of grassland, under-utilization of legumes, shoreline erosion along the Gulf Coast, lack of rural fire fighting capability, lack of recreational facilities, lack of education concerning natural resources and the environment.
Due to economic difficulties, the number of family farms is decreasing and those that survive often have one or more family members working the farm in order to meet financial obligations. There is a great need to improve the family farmers ability to survive economically.
Migration of young people from the farms and small communities in the area is a major problem. Most of these people must go to the larger cities to seek employment. There is a need to provide employment opportunities for these young people so they can stay in the area.
Sever gully erosion is threatening the natural resource base in the area. Over 50,000 acres of both public and private lands are gullied to the extent that special treatment is needed to reduce downstream pollution, enhance natural beauty, reduce hazards to life and property and stabilize these eroding areas to reclaim them for productive use.
Excess water is a problem in cities and on farmlands in the coastal areas and along rivers and creeks throughout the area. Flooding damages agricultural enterprises and is a threat to life and property in both urban and rural areas. There is a need to reduce this serious threat.
The encroachment of undesirable woody species such as mesquite and huisache on retired cropland is another severe problem. Over 350,000 acres of cropland have been retired in the past thirty years. Of this, over 200,00 acres were not planted to grasses, but were allowed to return to low producing native grasses, and undesirable woody plants. This land needs brush management and the establishment of desirable grasses to improve forage production and wildlife habitat.
Improper management of native grasslands is another severe problem in the area. Seventy-five per cent of the native rangeland is producing at less than half of its forage potential resulting in reduced livestock numbers and performance. Brush management, development of livestock watering facilities, cross fencing, grass planting, proper grazing use, and planned grazing systems are needed for these native grasslands to reach their full production potential.
More intensive use of legumes is needed for soil improvement and improved livestock performance in the area. The use of legumes can improve the environment while increasing agricultural income for the producers in the area.
Erosion along the bays and estuaries of the Gulf coast is a major problem. There is a great need for low-cost vegetative measures to reduce this threat to property and its negative effect on the marine environment.
Many communities in the area lack the capability to effectively fight fires in the isolated rural areas due to the unavailability of water for fire fighting. There is a serious need to improve the rural fire fighting capability of volunteer fire departments in these areas thereby reducing the threat to life and property.
There is a lack of recreational opportunities for people in some parts of the area. The installation of additional picnic, swimming, sporting and boating facilities will improve the quality of life for the people in these areas.
The lack of education concerning natural resources and the environment is another problem facing people in the area. Increased education will enable people to better understand the relationship between man and his environment and how he can better manage the natural resources at his disposal.
STATEMENT OF NONDISCRIMINATION
The RC&D program will be conducted in compliance with the nondiscrimination provisions as contained in Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, the Civil Rights restoration Act of 1987 (Pub. Law 100-259) and other nondiscrimination statutes; namely, section 504, of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and in accordance with the regulations of the secretary of Agriculture (7CFR-15, Subparts A & B) which provide that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, marital status, handicap and/or disability be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial (or technical) assistance from the Department of Agriculture or any agency thereof.
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