Southern Plains and Prairies Conference 2015


As I mentioned in a prior post, Selena and I attended the Southern  Plains and Prairies Conference, earlier this month, since we’re talking with a Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist about restoration practices at The SnK.  The place was over grazed for years, but since there has been no cattle since 2011 the grasses have come back quite well, but things could be better.

The front 40 acres had been converted to a Coastal Burmuda hay field, years ago, so we’re looking at turning it back to native grasses.  This will require killing off the Burmuda, and reseeding with a native grass mix.  The back 360 only has a few patches of Burmuda, from where hay bails were put out, but the place has become very dense and over grown.  This will be dealt with by prescribed burning.

Selena learned about the Grassland Restoration Incentive Program, through the Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture, so we reached out, resulting in the Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist coming to visit, and developing a plan for The SnK.  In round about emails, the Southern  Plains and Prairies Conference was recommended to Selena, as a great resource for learning about Prairie restoration.

The event was not only educational, it was also very enjoyable, as it was held at the Houston Zoo, which is quite a venue.  After the presentations ended, we were allowed to roam the zoo.  The annual Christmas lights had been put up, and turned on the first time, that Friday.  WOW, what a sight!

The presentations covered a wide variety of topics, from Bison as grazing tools, to grassland birds.  We learned a TON.  The event culminated with workshops at local restoration sites.  Selena and I attended the Texas City Prairie Preserve workshop, hosted by Tim and Aaron, the two staff members that take care of that preserve.

After a bit of “Classroom Time,” were were treated to a tour of the facility, learning of the restoration practices that have been put in place.  Tim and Aaron were both very gracious, and shared a wealth of knowledge.  We’re looking forward to going back to visit.

Aaron, the big guy with binoculars, and Tim, in the blue work shirt, share practices at the Texas City Prairie Preserve.
Seed stripper.  Tim, and Aaron, harvest their own native grass seeds, with this ingenious device.
Native grasses, at the Texas City Prairie Preserve.

Although our restoration plans are daunting, we don’t feel as intimidated, after attending the conference and talking with our biologist.  We’re rather excited, even though it will entail cutting and spraying a bunch of Mesquite and Huisache.  Oh well, it will be worth it in the long run; especially if we end up with as beautiful grasses as pictured above.

Stay tuned for more of this adventure!!