CONSERVATION FOR THE LONG-HAUL: PROTECTING CULTURAL AND NATURAL RESOURCES THROUGH FINANCIAL, LEGAL, AND PROGRAMMATIC STRATEGIES
Free (open access)
417 - 427
JULIA MURPHY, JEREMIAH LEIBOWITZ, ANNA HUDSON
Historic Herff Farm in Boerne, Texas is an iconic Texas Hill Country landscape that has been carefully restored by the Cibolo Nature Center and Farm and is now being transformed into a center for sustainable living. In 2016, the farm was recognized with a Preservation Texas Honor Award, and the homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A new Texas Historical Commission marker celebrates the life of the farm’s namesake, Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig von Herff, a prominent San Antonio physician who emigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s. Taking cues from its past, Herff Farm is a destination that currently hosts a weekly farmers market, “Farm Classroom” for schoolchildren in the area, with demonstrations showcasing best practices for water conservation, renewable energy and small-scale agricultural production. This paper highlights financial, legal and programmatic strategies that have been utilized to conserve the property in perpetuity. The Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit was established by the Texas Legislature in 2015 for certified rehabilitation work on historically-designated properties and equals 25% of eligible costs and expenses. This is a valuable financial tool for owners and investors who wish to rehabilitate cultural treasures to the Standards of Rehabilitation of the Secretary of the Interior. The property has also been placed under a voluntary conservation easement, a legal agreement between the landowner and a land trust that limits the owner’s development rights in order to maintain its natural and cultural features. Finally, building public support by providing access, services and programs helps ensure a culture of stewardship and sense of ownership by the greater community. These strategies could be employed by conservation-minded landowners with limited resources who seek to preserve cultural and natural resources.
conservation, historic, preservation, Texas, German, vernacular, easement, tax, rehabilitation, farm