Breckenridge Texan

Governor declares drought disaster for Stephens County

Governor declares drought disaster for Stephens County
April 17
15:33 2018

Stephens County is one of several that Gov. Greg Abbott declared on Friday, April 13, to be disaster areas due the threat of drought.

The 72 Texas counties are currently experiencing extraordinary drought conditions resulting in an increased threat of wildfire. The drought conditions pose an imminent threat to public health, property and the economy, according to a news release from the governor’s office. In response, Abbott has authorized the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to address the situation.

“I want to assure the citizens of Texas that we will do all we can to respond to this threat and ensure their safety and the protection of their property,” Abbott said in the release. “I encourage those in these counties to heed the warnings of local officials and do all they can to stay out of harm’s way. Texas is no stranger to wildfires, and will be prepared to respond as needed.”

The disaster declaration will suspend any regulation or law that would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in responding to this disaster. The declaration also suspends any law that would impede a state agency’s emergency response deemed necessary to protect life or property.

In addition to Stephens County, the counties included in the disaster declaration are:
Armstrong, Andrews, Archer, Bastrop, Baylor, Bell, Bosque, Briscoe, Burnet, Carson, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Collingsworth, Coryell, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Erath, Falls, Floyd, Foard, Gaines, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hemphill, Hill, Hutchinson, Johnson, Kent, King, Knox, Lee, Limestone, Lipscomb, Loving, Lubbock, Lynn, McLennan, Milam, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Robertson, Shackelford, Sherman, Somervell, Stonewall, Swisher, Throckmorton, Travis, Wheeler, Wilbarger, Williamson, Winkler, Yoakum, and Young.

Drought Management

The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service offers several publications — free to download — about drought management for landowners. To download any of the publications listed below, click on the link; once you’re on the Agrilife site, order the publications you’d like, fill out the form and then click on the “Download” link they provide.

Here is some information from the Agrilife site:

Drought is a fact of life on Texas rangelands since “dry” years occur more often than “wet” years.  Literally, drought is “normal” whereas years of good rainfall are the exception. Consequently, range managers are always suffering from, getting over, or preparing for drought. However, any predictions of when they will occur and how long they will last are merely speculation.

Surviving drought requires planning for it. Drought is easily recognized once it has its full impact; however, its development begins slowly and can end abruptly when sufficient rainfall occurs. Hence, the critical decisions going into a drought are difficult to make for fear of premature decisions that can affect future income. These decisions should be based upon ranch operation and all levels of the organization – the strategic or top policy makers, the tactical or livestock policy level, and the operational level should be involved in drought planning.

Rangeland Drought Management for Texans Series

Rangeland Risk Management for Texans Series

Forage

Water Conservation

Cutline, top photo: Dr. Billy Higginbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension Service wildlife and fisheries specialist, checks out a pond in Rusk County that dried out prematurely because of drought, as well as lack of sufficient clay content in the liner and a limited drainage area. Click here for more information pond maintenance during a drought. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)

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