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landscape by heather valey
Preserve photo by Heather Valey

Western Travis County is a beautiful place to live and work, with its rolling green hills, open water, and majestic trees. But as anyone who lives here knows, living with nature can come with special challenges and rules. We hope this page will be a useful resource, helping us work together to keep this area beautiful and safe.

Travis County Natural Resources works closely with preserve neighbors to help minimize wildfire risk, control invasive plants and feral hogs, and protect the integrity of the preserve and surrounding neighborhoods. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to get involved, please contact us.

Resources for Preserve Neighbors

texas forest service working
Photo: Lower limbs being removed to create a shaded fuel break to reduce wildfire risk

Before cutting or clearing trees or woody vegetation, check to see if any restrictions apply. Clearing of woody vegetation could impact the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. A permit is required to disturb or remove endangered species habitat any time of year. No one, not even permit-holders, can disturb the birds’ habitat during nesting season (March 1 to August 31). For help determining whether you may have endangered species on your property, and to learn about obtaining a permit and mitigation options, see Development in Endangered Species Habitat.

To report the clearing of golden-cheeked warbler habitat during nesting season (March through August), please contact both Travis County Natural Resources ([email protected], 512-854-7213) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (512-490-0057). We ask that you include both agencies because Travis County is responsible for enforcing nesting season clearing restrictions for BCCP permit holders, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is responsible for enforcing these restrictions in all other cases.

If you suspect that golden-cheeked warbler habitat is being cleared without the proper permit outside of nesting season (September through February), please contact Travis County at [email protected] or 512-854-7213. Travis County Natural Resources maintains a database of properties that are permitted to clear habitat, and will forward reports of illegal clearing to USFWS.

Native Plant Exchange Program

Preserve photo by Heather Valey

The Native Plant Exchange Program is an initiative of Travis County Natural Resources and TreeFolks to help reduce non-native invasive plants affecting the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. Removing non-native invasive plants near the preserve and replacing them with native plants will help maintain the area's ecological health and provide habitat to the endangered species it protects.

Apply Here

The Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) is one of the nation’s largest urban preserves, covering more than 33,000 acres – about 50 square miles. The BCP was created in 1996 to protect habitat for eight endangered species: two migratory songbirds called the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, and six karst invertebrates found in caves. The black-capped vireo was removed from the federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in May 2018. The BCP continues to provide habitat for this rare bird as well as the seven still-endangered species and 27 species of concern found on the preserve.  Non-native invasive plants often out-compete native plants and degrade habitat for protected species.

Image courtesy of Bret Whitney

Image courtesy of Melody Lytle


TreeFolks will work with landowners in targeted neighborhoods near the BCP to remove non-native invasive plants and replace them with native plants, at no cost to the landowner. Each participant will receive an on-site consultation to develop a removal/replacement plan to meet the goals of both the landowner and Native Plant Exchange Program.

Image courtesy of Treefolks

  • Native species require less maintenance and water than non-native plants, saving time and money
  • Native species attract pollinators like Monarch butterflies and other wildlife
  • Be a part of a community-driven initiative that promotes a landscape that is resilient to extreme weather events 

Native vs Non-Native Plants

Non-native invasive species are non-indigenous plants, animals, and other organisms that flourish in ecosystems outside of their native range, posing significant economic, environmental, and health risks. They alter, degrade, or displace native habitats, outcompete indigenous wildlife, and pose substantial threats to biodiversity.

Native plants are crucial for local ecosystems, supporting biodiversity and providing essential resources for wildlife. Planting native species helps restore habitats and maintain ecological balance. The golden-cheeked warbler, black-capped vireo, and other local wildlife rely on native plants for nesting, shelter, and foraging habitats. Additionally, compared to non-native invasive plants, native plants require less maintenance and are better adapted to local conditions. Native plants enhance aesthetic appeal and property value. Investing in native plants benefits both private property and the surrounding environment.

Image Courtesy of TreeFolks

focal map

Map of Focal Area. Map courtesy of Google


This is a pilot program for residents within the Grandview Hills Parke HOA, Ridge HOA, and The EstatesHOA communities within zip code 78726. Availability is limited, and the application period will end once final selections have been made. Applications will be evaluated based on contribution to the program goals. Final selections are constrained by available funds.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Participants must reside within one of the respective communities.
  • Participants must have the legal right to remove or install vegetation on the property.
  • Participants must have existing non-native invasive plants on their property that may be removed from the site.

Examples of native exchange plants may include Texas persimmon, Mexican plum, Texas redbud, Texas live oak, Texas red oak, Mexican buckeye, Texas mountain laurel, Bald cypress, and Eve’s necklace.

Images Courtesy of Texas A&M Forest Service


Availability is limited, and the application period will end once final selections have been made. Applications will be evaluated based on contribution to the program goals. Final selections are constrained by available funds.

If selected, we will schedule a date for non-native invasive plant removal and planting between September and December 2024. These months are typically cooler which is the optimal time to plant for successful establishment. 

Questions? Contact us at [email protected]