Conserving the natural resources of the Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands
through research, education, and outreach.

Trans-Pecos Wildlife Conference Highlights the Vital Role of Private Landownership in Texas

Conference attendees visited a filter dam at a West Texas Ranch. The filter dam, also called a beaver dam analog, mimics the effects of beaver dams that were once common throughout North America and West Texas. This restoration technique can help landowners and managers reintroduce healthy riparian habitats to their properties.

The 2022 Trans-Pecos Wildlife Conference drew about 175 attendees for a full day of wildlife management speakers and a half-day field excursion to view habitat restoration techniques. The conference was co-hosted by the Borderlands Research Institute, Texas Wildlife Association, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Partnership and habitat restoration were repeated themes, with acknowledgment given to the prominent role ranchers have in making wildlife conservation a statewide success. 

A big challenge facing the agricultural industry is public perception. Developing opportunities to get people out of urban centers to experience wildlife firsthand on agricultural lands may help. It takes the participation of landowners willing to make that happen, and there are several organizations ready to facilitate the process through hunting programs and ecotourism opportunities that benefit both landowner and guests.

Attendees also learned about the latest research regarding wildlife management, from chronic wasting disease to bear safety, and more.


Innovative Conservation Partnership Program Benefits West Texas Landowners

The Borderlands Research Institute and the Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT) are joining forces with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement landscape-scale conservation initiatives across the tri-county region of the Trans-Pecos. The effort is fueled by a $3.5 million commitment from the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which will help fund innovative conservation approaches on private lands, including habitat restoration efforts, conservations easements and ecosystem services.

BRI will be responsible for implementing restoration and enhancement projects, as well as monitoring and evaluating projects. TALT will provide the expertise for all conservation easement agreements, as well as evaluation of ecosystem services and assessing ecosystem services compensation options.

“Conservation easements are one of the most effective tools for long-term protection of agricultural working lands,” said TALT CEO Chad Ellis. “These funds will help remove the financial barriers to applying conservation easements on private land, allowing land stewards in the Trans-Pecos region to conserve thousands of acres of working lands in Texas for generations to come.”

Landowners will soon be able to apply for funds for a variety of on-the-ground conservation projects across the tri-county region of West Texas. Applications will be available online later this year on the BRI website.

Dr. Kennon Guglielmo Newest Member of BRI Advisory Board

The Borderlands Research Instiutute is proud to welcome Dr. Kennon Guglielmo to the Advisory Board.

Kennon holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology. After graduating from Georgia Tech in 1992, he moved to San Antonio and began his professional career at Southwest Research Institute in the Engine Research division. In 1994, he founded EControls, a provider of advanced powertrain control systems for industrial and heavy-duty equipment. EControls merged with FW Murphy Production Controls in 2009 to form what is now Genisys Controls, LLC. Today, with approximately 1,000 employees and 5 global facilities, Genisys provides advanced control solutions for engine and electric powertrains in the industrial, heavy-duty, and oil & gas markets worldwide.

Kennon currently serves as CEO of Genisys, a director of Rush Enterprises, and a school board member of The Christian School at Castle Hills in San Antonio. Kennon and his family whole-heartedly enjoy outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, and exploring their ranches in South and West Texas.

BRI on the Radio!

If you live in West Texas, or love West Texas, Marfa Public Radio is a must-listen. Each week, Nature Notes investigates questions about the natural world of the Chihuahuan Desert region and the Llano Estacado on KRTS Marfa Public Radio and KXWT West Texas Public Radio.

Through interviews with scientists and field recordings, this Marfa Public Radio original series reveals the secrets of desert life. BRI is thrilled that several episodes recently were connected to the Trans-Pecos Wildlife Conference:

For Borderlands Research Institute, Ranching Heritage is the Key to Conservation covers BRI’s new Center for Land Stewardship and Stakeholder Engagement featuring BRI Associate Director of Stewardship Services Billy Tarrant.

Wild Sheep Showdown in West Texas: As Aoudad Boom, Scientists See a Threat to Native Wildlife features BRI Research Scientist Justin T. French, PhD, discussing recent research on desert bighorn, aoudad and mule deer interactions.

Wildlife Managers Share Lessons for Living with Black Bears in West Texas features Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists Krsysta Demere and Michael Janis sharing important tips on how to manage the growing black bear population.

Big Bend Artists for Conservation

Artist Spotlight: Lindy Cook Severns

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Lindy Cook Severns is a fulltime artist who lives in West Texas, painting the landscapes she loves. The journey that brought her there reads like an adventure novel with plot points that are nothing short of remarkable.

She learned to pilot a plane in the 1970s. She co-piloted corporate jets for 17 years. She earned a fourth-degree Tae Kwan Do black belt. She sold her Lubbock home after close to three decades and wandered the southwestern U.S. in an RV with her husband. And she is an award-winning artist who has been drawing and painting since she was a toddler.

The couple now lives on a friend’s ranch about 20 miles outside of Fort Davis. Now an artist in residence at the Old Spanish Trail Gallery, Severns is known for her sweeping landscapes and bold use of color. The Trans-Pecos landscapes and wildlife around her are what inspire her.

“I see an artist's mission as education and wonder and awe and respect for the land.”

That aligns with the mission of the Borderlands Research Institute to conserve the last frontier of Texas and the Southwest.

“I love that the Borderlands Research Institute is educating people about the uniqueness and the spiritual value of this place. The more people are educated to understand it, the more they will fight to protect it.”

The Borderlands Research Institute is pleased to feature the work of artists like Lindy Cook Severns who are inspired by the landscapes and the wildlife of West Texas. An initiative called Big Bend Artists for Conservation aims to inspire conservation through art.

“I want people to respect the land and wildlife so that it will be there for their grandchildren. I try and pull people in through my artwork so they stop in their tracks and take three or four deep breaths and feel that connection to the land and be inspired to conserve it.”


LIVING OFF THE LAND 11” x 14” oil on panel 

"Whenever I paint pronghorns, I’m cognizant of their intimate connection with the vast grasslands of the borderlands. Finding them at rest and almost camouflaged in the rich gold and brown grasses that are the norm most of the year illustrated how much these fit their habitat. This small studio oil whispers of belonging. As for the prairie dog: he repeatedly stretched from his burrow to photo bomb my reference shots of the pronghorn, so I gave him a supporting role in a tale of coexistence. I use only my own photos for reference, so I value cooperative wildlife like these curious critters."

SUNDANCE 30” X 24” pastel © Lindy Cook Severns 2019

"When the sun drenches the Chihuahuan Desert in the sparkling color of gemstones, the harsh, rugged landscape becomes a tapestry of rich velvet. This time of decking out in rubies is fleeting, a waltz with the sun that the ends all too soon. I call these “blink, and it’s gone moments,” and they’re among my favorite subjects to put into paint. I want the viewer to walk into this painting and feel that all is right with the world. And then, I invite them to linger and explore this wild landscape before night envelopes its color."

BREATHING SPACE 19” x 27” pastel © Lindy Cook Severns 2021

"Stand silently in the desert as a storm moves into the distant Chisos Mountains and feel your breaths slowly soften. Stand long enough, and one breath at a time you will fall into sync with infinity. I paint to share moments such as this, not only with people who love the land as I do, but also those who might otherwise never experience it. The desert isn’t desolate and barren: the desert is a place that can heal souls."

Publication Spotlight
Publishing the results of research projects in peer-reviewed publications is the goal of most research scientists. We’re proud to showcase these papers as they are published.

Translocation Release Methods for Desert Bighorn Sheep

Former BRI graduate student Taylor Daily and other researchers recently published an article in Western North American Naturalist about desert bighorn sheep translocation release methods.



Taylor S. Daily, Carlos E. Gonzalez, Louis A. Harveson, Warren C. Conway, and Froylan Hernandez "Comparing Survival and Cause-Specific Mortality of Different Translocation Release Methods for Desert Bighorn Sheep," Western North American Naturalist 82(1), 94-106, (31 March 2022).

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Borderlands Research Institute | 432.837.8225 | bri@sulross.edu

P.O. Box C-21, SRSU, Alpine, Texas 79832


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