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The Lazy J Ranch is located on the south shore of Lake Travis in northwestern Travis County. It is operated as a wildlife management preserve protecting native species and the environment.
The appearance of Hill Country rangelands is very different today compared to 150 years ago. The grasslands, which were dotted with an occasional live oak motte, are no more. Midgrass and tallgrass communities have been replaced with shortgrass communities (where grasses persist). Grasslands were replaced by parklands and woodlands. Ashe juniper has spread from the steep draws and canyons and exploited the uplands. Replacement of many deciduous trees (e.g., Spanish oak, madrone, Lacey oak) is nonexistent, and the species will die (locally) with the parent trees.
Climatic conditions in the Texas Hill Country, and their highly variable nature, must be taken into consideration in preserving the native vegetation. The Hill Country lies just on the humid subtropical side of the border with the semi-arid climates of west Texas. Precipitation is unreliable. One year may see an annual rain fall of 27 inches and the next only 10 or less. Severe droughts are not unusual.
The key to managing natural resources is to use a holistic approach where all of "Leopold's Tools" (cow, plow, ax, fire, and gun) are applied to develop and maintain healthy ecosystems.
Wild turkey on the Lazy J
The Rio Grande Wild Turkey is a bird native to North America and is found in the Texas Hill Country. Their favorite habitats are in brush areas near streams or rivers or among wooded regions of scrub oaks.