SAN ANGELO, Texas – The Texas A&M University System Research and Extension Center here has set its first annual natural resources field day for April 29.

Registration starts at 8:15 a.m. The program begins at 9 a.m. at the center located on U.S. Highway 87, just north of San Angelo. Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be available to each participant.

The field day dubbed “Behind the Dozer - A Comprehensive Investigation of Follow-up Brush Control Options,” will focus on strategies and techniques landowners can use to properly maintain the thousands of acres cleared under recent state watershed programs.

“Based on the feasibility studies used to justify the North Concho project, initial brush control will not improve our water supply unless follow-up brush control is conducted and initial levels of control maintained for at least 10 years,” said John Walker, the Center’s resident director of research.

“If they are maintained, the immense brush control projects underway across this region should have a marked effect on our water supply for years to come,” he said.

“The purpose of this field day is to bring landowners up-to-date on the status of these major projects and to offer options now available to help them keep their land clean. Of course, economics is a major factor that must be considered anytime the question of brush control comes up and we will be addressing that too.”

Following Walker’s opening remarks, Johnny Oswald, with the Texas State Soil and Water Board at San Angelo, will offer an overview of the current brush control projects. He will also speak on future funding options.

Walker will complete the early morning session with “What Worked and What Didn’t”. The talk deals with a study comparing the effectiveness of various brush control methods used in this area.

After a 30-minute break at 10 a.m., Wayne Hamilton and Richard Conners with Texas A&M University’s department of rangeland ecology and management, will address the cost-effectiveness of maintenance brush control.

Allan McGinty, Texas Cooperative Extension range specialist in San Angelo, will speak on “Planning a Long-Term Brush Control Program.”

The morning will conclude with a panel discussion featuring Oswald, Walker, Hamilton, Conners and McGinty.

State Rep. Scott Campbell of San Angelo will be the featured speaker at the luncheon.

The afternoon session starts at 1 p.m. Speakers and their topics include: “If You Are Going To Do It, Do It Right”, Darrell Ueckert, range researcher, San Angelo; “What About Wildlife?”, Dale Rollins, Extension wildlife specialist, San Angelo and “Fire and Herbivory - Why They Are Important?”, Charles “Butch” Taylor, research scientist, Sonora Experiment Station.

Following a 30-minute break at 2:30 p.m., the afternoon session resumes with Jason Johnson, San Angelo-based Extension economist presenting “Where’s The Money?” a look at funding brush control programs.

The field day concludes with a rancher panel. The scheduled panelists include: Lee Clark, Menard rancher; Dr. Charles Livingston, Tom Green/Irion County rancher; Alan Curry, Tom Green/Sterling County Rancher and Gary Foster, Sterling County rancher.

Adjournment is set for 5 p.m.

Individual pre-registration by April 15 is $25. After April 15, registration is $40. Student registration is $10. Registration fees include meal and printed materials.

For more information call the center at (325) 653-4576.

Steve Byrns is a writer for Texas A&M University.

e-mail: s-byrns@tamu.edu