The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University has announced the selection of Dr. Carlos (Lalo) Gonzalez as Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Management and the Nau Endowed Professor in Habitat Research and Management at BRI.

“After a lengthy national search, we couldn’t be happier with our selection,” said Dr. Louis Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., BRI Endowed Director and professor of Wildlife Management at Sul Ross.

“Habitat is the common denominator for all wildlife and range projects, and Dr. Gonzalez has proven himself a local expert in wildlife-habitat relationships in the Chihuahuan Desert. He’s worked on projects ranging from scaled quail to desert bighorn sheep. He knows the habitats, the landowners, and the issues of the region. He is also a great example of a ‘grow your own’ leader with his strong ties with BRI and Sul Ross.”

Gonzalez earned a Bachelor of Science in Range and Wildlife from Texas A&M-Kingsville, a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management in 2015 from Sul Ross State University and his PhD in 2018 through a cooperative doctoral program with Sul Ross and Texas A&M. His dissertation compiled data from several bighorn sheep translocations, and his work earned him two first place awards for research presentations from the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society and the Texas Section for the Society for Range Management.

The job duties of the new position will include overseeing the development of the Habitat Research and Management program, including coordinating research grants, working closely with the West Texas Native Seed Program, and developing rangeland restoration techniques for West Texas.

“Habitat management is my passion, and I am grateful for this incredible opportunity to be part of the Borderlands Research Institute team,” said Gonzalez. “It means a lot to me, especially because the generosity of the Nau family has impacted my work since I was a grad student here at Sul Ross.”

“I was the first student they funded to help work on scaled quail research on their West Texas property, and I and many others are fortunate to have been beneficiaries of the Nau family’s passion for wildlife and land stewardship. Their support for habitat management guided by sound science will continue to have an impact across the entire Trans-Pecos Region of Texas,” he said.

The endowed position was made possible by a $1.5 million philanthropic gift from the Nau Foundation, the largest in BRI’s history. The foundation pledged $100,000 to an endowment and $50,000 for operations annually over the next ten years. The gift is also the largest ever received by Sul Ross.

Nau is the chief executive officer of Silver Eagle Distributors in Houston, the largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products in the United States. The Nau family owns a ranch in West Texas and has been actively involved with the BRI for more than 10 years.

The Nau family has supported BRI research projects, including studies on desert bighorn sheep, quail, and mule deer in West Texas. The Nau family has not only helped fund these studies, but their family and ranch personnel actively engage and interact with BRI students.

“The Nau family are champions of conservation and they have been leaders in the stewardship of natural resources on the ranches they own and operate in West Texas and across the state,” said Harveson.

“What I respect the most about the Nau family is that they truly care about natural resource conservation and they seek information about how to best steward the resources they manage on their properties. They let science guide their management decisions and that philosophy has been the cornerstone of our relationship with them.”