Conservation Matters August 2012

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

New Extension resource helps Trinity River Basin residents restore grassland

Trinity Grass RestorationTo aid landowners in the middle Trinity River Basin and similar areas, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service has produced a publication with step-by-step instructions on how to restore native grasslands, said agency experts.

"Many native grasslands are being lost to urbanization, fragmentation, row-crop farming and introduced grasses used for livestock production," said Dr. Jim Cathey, AgriLife Extension program leader for wildlife and fisheries sciences. "The loss of these grasslands has resulted in a dramatic decline in numerous grassland bird species, including quail."

The middle Trinity River Basin between Dallas and Lake Livingston, as well as tall-grass prairies within the Blackland Prairie and Post Oak Savannah ecoregions, currently contain only about 1 percent of their historical native grasslands, Cathey said. The recommendations provided in the new publication, Native Grassland Restoration in the Middle Trinity River Basin, can be used as guidelines to help address the many strategies and procedures toward restoring native prairies.

Cathey said native bunchgrasses and forbs make ideal habitat for wildlife, such as quail and other ground-nesting birds, as well as several species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects native to prairie habitats.

Topics addressed in the publication include the use and benefits of native grasslands, site selection and preparation, establishment of native vegetation, seed selection, reseeding methods, seeding rates, depth and timing, and using native grass hay for seeding. There is also a section on the use of the Trinity River Information Management System, an online mapping tool for supporting land conservation and habitat restoration decisions in the Trinity River basin.

The publication is available from the Texas AgriLife Extension Bookstore at agrilifebookstore.org.

Read the full AgriLife TODAY article for more information.

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