What is in this article?:
- Promoting Prairie Stewardship Conference set for Dec. 6-9
- The Texas Prairie System of the Past
- Workshops, lectures & field trips to save the prairie set for Dec. 6-9.
- The economics of the prairie and prairie restoration will be the focus of the 4th Annual State of the Prairie Conference set for Dec. 6-9 in Kingsville, Texas.
- Native grasslands protect the watersheds in which they occur.
The Texas Prairie System of the Past
According to the NPAT Website, Texas’ Tallgrass Coastal Prairies reached many miles inland from the Gulf, and the Tallgrass Prairie extended from southern Canada through Fort Worth-Dallas south to San Antonio including Texas’ Blackland Prairies and Grand Prairie.
The Hill Country of the Edwards Plateau was a mosaic of plant communities, with Mixed Grass Savanna/Prairie presumed to have been a large component. The Post Oak Savanna was native savanna, with a prairie understory and an open canopy of Post Oaks and other trees above.
The Rolling Plains and the High Plains of the Panhandle were Mixed Grass and Short Grass Prairie, and much of West Texas was Desert Grassland filled with grama grasses.
Texas cattle, cotton, and grains are still based on these now-degraded habitats. The soils they created now feed the world.
Protecting water quality and quantity
NPAT says native grasslands protect the watersheds in which they occur, increase water infiltration and water yield, increase water supply by reducing erosion and reservoir sedimentation, and increase water quality due to the lack of fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide use. Because of urban progress and a combination of rural land uses, more than 99 percent of the early ecosystem of Texas has been destroyed or fundamentally altered, making the tallgrass prairie the most-endangered large ecosystem in North America. Losses are estimated to be even greater in Texas’ tallgrass prairie regions, like the Blackland Prairies, Gulf Prairies and Marshes, and the Grand Prairie sub-region of the Cross Timbers and Prairies.
Workshop and lecture topics will include:
- The Last Great Habitat—Revisited
- Geology, Watersheds and Prairies
- Cooperative Strategy for Connecting Prairie Landscapes
- Landowners rights
- South Texas Natives & Texas Native Seeds
- Farm Bill Programs for Land Managers
- Maintaining the Integrity of Native Prairies Through Grazing Management
- Environmental Protection, Safety and Correlative Mineral Rights
- Factors Influencing Native Seed
- Grassland Bird Habitat Management
- Prairie Visions
- And others
Access the full schedule, lecture topics and speaker profiles, field trip destinations and restoration sites, plus registration information here.