The Race to Preserve Mathews Prairie

Native Prairies Association of Texas is raising $50,000 to buy Mathews Prairie, a rare 100-acre Blackland Prairie west of Greenville. Located in Hunt County, right in the middle of the BNPAT region, it presents a superb opportunity for the chapter to make a big impact in prairie preservation. There is a limited-time offer of matching grants for all donations.

Donate Here

Mathews Prairie is under a conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy, but intense encroachment pressures have led to NPAT to purchase the prairie and co-manage with TNC as it does with Mary Talbot Prairie. With the 1400-acre Clymer Meadow, Mathews, and other prairie remnants, Hunt County has the greatest concentration of Blackland projects in North Texas.

“The plant community on this particular remnant is incredibly diverse and shows many of the ‘indicator’ species known in the area thought to only grow in a true prairie are abundant on Mathews Prairie in summer,” says Brandon Belcher, North Texas Preserves Manager for TNC. “These prairies all work together as islands to support one another through genetic exchange.”

Read more about the prairie and the importance of preserving it in this GreenSourceDFW article.

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Grant Bestowed to Renovate Harry Moss Park Prairie

national-fish-and-wildlife-foundationBig news for native prairies in Dallas! National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has bestowed a significant grant to the Dallas Parks & Recreation Department for restoration of the Blackland Prairie at Harry Moss Park  in Lake Highlands.

The department’s Urban Biologist, Brett Johnson, led the effort. It will be headed by Mark Bulloch of Native Restorations. The department stressed that volunteer efforts will be essential to its success, noting the importance of the October 2016 BioBlitz conducted there to the park’s ability to nab the grant. Full press release here.

hm-park-restoration-webLake Highlands Advocate just published an excellent follow-up on the Harry Moss Park Blackland Prairie restoration news. The historical context is fascinating, showing a park prairie that languished when volunteer support unraveled. It endured decades of invasives and woody encroachment before citizen efforts put it on the path of native beauty once again. Good work by Lake Highlands Advocate!

Harry Moss Park photo courtesy Dallas Parks & Recreation Dept. 

Important Election Announcement 

It’s time for the Blackland Chapter of Native Prairies of Texas (BNPAT) to get official by electing our first slate of officers: president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer at the next meeting.

We need candidates!  Please consider stepping up to one of these positions by August 25. You do not need to be a prairie expert. You only need to care about prairies. Please contact Leigh Ann Ellis to express interest.

To be in or vote on the upcoming slate of officers, you must be a paid member. Join here. Request that your dues be marked for the Blackland Chapter by writing BNPAT in comment section.

You don’t have to be an officer to help prairies. BNPAT needs:

  • People savvy in marketing and event planning
  • A program chair to arrange speakers for our meetings
  • A membership chair to manage our database and increase members

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

Jump in! 

Visit Our Updated Website

Thanks to volunteer Scooter Smith, the Blackland Prairie website received an update and upgrade. Please stop by and click around. There’s a page about BNPAT and Native Prairies of Texas. Lots of time can be spent on the Resources page. Find out how to go visit a North Texas prairie at our Prairies page. Tell us what you’d like to see on the site. Feedback appreciated!

Financial Incentives for Protecting Private Property in Texas

Friday, April 17

Three Oaks Community Center
158 CR 210
Floresville, TX 78114

PROGRAM

9:00 – 9:10 am Welcome
Bryan Davis, County Extension Agent, Wilson County, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

9:10– 10:40 am Easements / Landowner Rights / Q&A
Judon Fambrough, Senior Lecturer, Texas A&M University Real Estate Center

10:40 – 11:15 am Qualifying for Wildlife Management Use under 1-d-1 / Q&A
Trent Teinert, Wilson County Wildlife Biologist, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

11:15 – 11:45 Introduction to Conservation Easements, Panel Discussion
Allison Elder, General Counsel, Texas Agricultural Land Trust,
Pat Merkord, Executive Director, Native Prairies Association of Texas
Dr, James Fuller, Conservation Easement Donor
Ruthie Russell, Conservation Easement Donor

11:45 Distribute Box Lunches

12:15-1:30 pm Tour of Kirchoff Family Farm
Don Kirchoff – Kirchoff Family Farm

Thanks to the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust for sponsoring lunch for the first 30 registrants, and to the Native Prairies Association of Texas for sponsoring drinks & dessert!

To Register, contact Bryan Davis at (830) 393-7357 or email at by-davis@tamu.edu

Petition to abolish the Trinity Watershed Management Department

trinity

Give the Trinity Park back to the Parks Department

Our biggest natural asset is not being protected

Please sign this change.org petition to protect our park!

ADD YOUR NAME HERE

The Trinity Watershed Management Department has proven incapable of protecting the irreplaceable natural asset we have in the Trinity River.  One of the ostensible reasons for TWM’s existence was its supposed environmental knowledge and sensitivity.  Instead, its actions with regard to the whitewater feature, Pemberton’s Big Spring, clear cutting the Trinity Forest, and the forest pond drainage prove that it cannot be a responsible steward of the local environment.

TWM’s functions are also entirely duplicative of other departments.  Its flood control functions belong in Public Works, and its park development and management functions belong with the Parks and Recreation Department.  Moving these functions and their share of the budget back where they belong will result in more effective operations and reduction of redundant positions.  Keeping our biggest park under the oversight of the Parks Board will add a layer of protection for this Dallas treasure.