At a Glance

By incorporating water management considerations in the master planning process, ranch owners extend their legacy of stewardship by protecting and enhancing on-site and down stream ecology.

Project Description

For 80 years, the 6,800-acre Shield Ranch has been managed by a family with a strong land ethic and a commitment to conservation and stewardship. Examples of their efforts include placing 95% of the ranch under conservation easements and providing a nature immersion camp for urban kids who might not otherwise get to experience camp or the Hill Country landscape. To help continue this legacy of stewardship, the Shield-Ayers-Bowen family and Shield Ranch staff sought a master plan to guide the realization of their future vision of a natural and cultural landscape that could be enjoyed by the family and shared with the public for generations to come.

Biohabitats was a key member of the master planning team, which was led by Andropogon Associates. Of paramount importance in the planning effort was the need to protect precious water resources, including Barton Creek, which crosses the property and serves as critical water supply for the nearby City of Austin.

Biohabitats led the effort to integrate water resource considerations through all phases of the project, including the collection and review of existing information and data, inventory and analysis of opportunities and constraints for future ranch improvements, and collaboration on appropriate water management strategies for the site. To facilitate this process and ensure informed decision-making, Biohabitats developed hydrologic functional zones and a suitability analysis based on eco-hydrologic sensitivity to assist in siting low impact development elements.

The project garnered an Honor Award in Analysis and Planning from the American Society of Landscape Architects.



Southern Rocky Mountain

Physiographic Province

Great Plains


Barton Creek

Expertise Areas

Conservation, Infrastructure, Water


Shield-Ayers-Bowen family


Travis County, Texas, United States


2018 Honor Award for Analysis and Planning, American Society of Landscape Architects

Project Team
  • Andropogon Associates