It all started more than 35 years ago in a tiny café in Alamo, Texas. A group of five Valley residents responded to an URGENT NEED to protect a tract of pristine native brush south of Weslaco destined to be bulldozed. They joined forces to preserve the property and thus began The Valley Land Fund.


The mission of The Valley Land Fund is to preserve, expand, and enhance the native wildlife habitat of the Deep South Texas through education, land ownership, and the creation of economic incentives.


The Valley Land Fund assists with conservation of native habitat through the protection of land in the southernmost counties of deep South Texas – the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Click here to read more about a few of our land conservation projects and partnerships.


The Valley Land Fund is committed to educating the public about the importance of land conservation and protection of our natural resources. We use a number of tools for outreach and education purposes, with the most popular being our annual wildlife photo contests. The use of photography to educate the citizens of our area is one of the most important aspects of our approach to wildlife conservation. Through the use of award-winning images, we are able to make individuals, young and old, aware of our wonderful natural heritage and the existence of every species of plant and animal that is in jeopardy.


Our wildlife photo contests and the photography books that the Valley Land Fund has produced from the images of those contests have been wildly successful tools in our goal to promote native wildlife habitat conservation. The Valley Land Fund celebrates, endorses, and recognizes the power of wildlife photography and its importance to conservation.


Private landowners play a crucial role in the conservation of wildlife in America today. Without their participation in conservation, entire ecosystems will be lost, never to be appreciated by future generations. The Valley Land Fund believes that wildlife conservation can best be promoted through sound economic incentives for private landowners to protect and enhance the diversity of habitats. For more information about how you can help, please contact us at (956) 686-6429.


The Valley Land Fund focuses on the following areas:

Over the past century, thousands of acres have been cleared, drained and paved. It is estimated that less than five percent of the original native habitat remains. These remaining natural habitats are scattered among eleven diverse biotic communities, including the tidal wetlands and sub-tropical forests of Sabal Palm on the east, to the thorny chaparral of the Chihuahuan Desert on the west. This loss of natural habitat threatens several species of wildlife. The Valley Land fund is steward of over 11,000+ acres, permanently protecting it for area wildlife.
water source icon
The sole source of fresh water for the Rio Grande Valley is the Rio Grande River. It flows through various Valley communities to sustain agriculture, business, a growing population and of course, wildlife. Waste water is treated and released into the Arroyo Colorado, which flows from Mission to the Laguna Madre. While it remains a nursery for shrimp, crabs and small fish, the Arroyo Colorado has been designated by the state of Texas as an “impaired body of water.” The Valley Land Fund continues to improve and increase the water supply of deep South Texas.
working land
The heart of the Valley Land Fund conservation efforts has been to protect working lands. Ranching and agriculture evolved out of the banks of the Old Rio Grande River to the nurture livestock, grain and citrus industries. It is on these working lands that 95% of wildlife currently dwells. The explosive population growth and development along the border threatens working lands. Conserving wildlife habitat on working lands while supplementing the livelihood of land owners remains our mission.
heritage land
From the arrival of Cabeza de Vaca in 1530, South Texas was under Spanish rule for over 300 years. The Republic of Texas has ruled the same area for the past 150 years. During this 481 year history, many battles have been fought and historical settlements were created. Preserving the sites of these historical events has been an added benefit of Valley Land Fund efforts to protect wildlife habitats of South Texas. The Salineño property and Palo Alto Battlefield are representative of these benefits. Due to the Valley Land Fund efforts, these properties are permanently protected.

Meet the people that are involved with the Valley Land Fund.


Jesse Barba Jr., President
Bryan Duffy, Vice President
Gene Vaughan, Secretary
Dennis Burleson, Treasurer


Debralee Rodriguez, Executive Director


Ashley C. Dickerson
Dustin Dickerson
Matthew Dubrule
Bruce Kroeker
Drew Lentz


Mark Limon
Mark Moseley
Victor Rodriguez
Sheila Wallace

Help the Valley Land Fund continue their mission.