March 2016 Chapter Meeting

March Blackland Chapter Meeting: Tools for Prairie Preservation

New Location

Tuesday, March 8th at 6:30 pm

In the Flag Pole Room in The Point and Pavilion at C.C. Young Senior Living

4847 W Lawther Dr. between Mockingbird and E. Northwest Hwy.
Drive to the top of the hill and turn left on Center Point to park. The Point is on the west side of the quadrant.

North Texas Prairies in Peril & Tools for Conserving Prairie Remnants

RJ Taylor and Pat Merkord will bring us a discussion about what you can do to help preserve threatened prairie sites in North Texas.  RJ Taylor will present an overview of several prairie sites in the Blackland Prairie region that are currently under the threat of habitat loss. As ranchland that surrounds cities experiences the threat of development, Texas land trusts working with communities can be a vital tool for prairie preservation.

We will hear the stories about three undeveloped prairie properties that are being planned for conversion from agricultural lands to developed in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Wallace Prairie in Rockwall has recently been purchased from the ranching family and is currently being planned for a residential development.  The Becks Creek Prairie site in Richardson/Plano is owned by a corporation and is being evaluated for homesites. Indian Hills Prairie site is located in the outskirts of Farmersville, a portion of which the landowner is willing to protect if funds were available. These are just a few of the quality prairie sites around the DFW area that are in the path of development.

This is not the end of the story; opportunities exist for citizens to help preserve the native prairie landscapes on these properties. Pat Merkord will give us an overview of conservation tools that have been effectively used in Texas to protect important natural lands.

Working with both the original landowners and the entities purchasing those lands, options are available to raise funds to purchase the prairie lands for permanent protection, or to work with landowners on placing conservation easements on those lands. Merkord will use as an example initiatives in the Houston area for the Lawther-Deer Park Prairie site.

About Our Speakers:

R J Taylor is an environmental scientist experienced in ecological assessment of land and natural resources. He consults with landowners, businesses and other entities in land conservation, with a focus on conservation easements. Taylor served as Conservation Director of Connemara Conservancy and continues to assist the group in its efforts. He is currently vice-president of the Blackland Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas and is in the process of mapping prairie parcels in North Texas. Taylor has a master’s degree in science, with a geology focus, from University of South Carolina-Columbia

Pat Merkord is Executive Director of the Native Prairie Association. She operates Bluestem Environmental Consultants, helping her clients with wildlife management plans, species surveys, plant surveys and watershed evaluations, with a focus on prairie conservation and restoration. She has a master’s degree in biology with focuses on history and wildlife from Texas State University and Texas A&M University.

For more information, please contact Leigh Ann Ellis. Click her name to email or call 214-321-7159.

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