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Abstract

A feasibility study of brush for off-site water yield was undertaken in 1998 on the North Concho River near San Angelo, Texas. Subsequently, studies were conducted on eight additional Texas watersheds. Economic analysis was based on estimated control costs of the different options compared to the estimated rancher benefits of brush control. Control costs included initial and follow-up treatments required to reduce brush canopy to between 3 and 8%, and maintain it at the reduced level for 10 years. The state cost-share was estimated by subtracting the present value of rancher benefits from the present value of the total cost of the control program. The total cost of additional water was determined by dividing the total state cost-share if all eligible acreage were enrolled by the total added water estimated to result from the brush control program. This procedure resulted in present values of total control costs per acre ranging from $33.75 to $159.45. Rancher benefits, based on the present value of the improved net returns to typical cattle, sheep, goat, and wildlife enterprises, ranged from $8.95 to $52.12 per acre. Present values of the state cost-share per acre ranged from $21.70 to $138.85. The cost of added water estimated for the eight watersheds ranged from $16.41 to $204.05 per acre-foot averaged over each watershed.

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