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Houston Regional Group - News
News Flash -
Fundraising Campaign to Save College Park Prairie

- July 23, 2012 - Fundraising Campaign to Save College Park Prairie

Houston Audubon, Houston Wilderness, Coastal Prairie Partnership, and generous individuals are collaborating to save College Park Prairie, a 53-acre coastal prairie remnant in Deer Park.

A willing seller and a brief window of time to raise funds (until November 1, 2012) are providing a rare opportunity to potentially acquire this extraordinary property, the largest known high-quality prairie remnant for sale in Harris County. College Park Prairie is a prairie pothole remnant with a full complement of pimple mounds and potholes. It supports an array of wildlife that includes pocket gophers, unusual and often elegant insects, grassland birds including Henslow's, Le Conte's and Grasshopper Sparrows, and nesting Eastern Meadowlarks and Loggerhead Shrikes.

Coastal prairie was once the dominant ecosystem of Harris County's sprawling 1.1 million acres. Now, only a few fragmented remnants are left of our local prairies where cowboys, cattle drives, saltgrass trails, and rich farmlands once prospered. Except for the abundance of prairie-associated names, little remains of that rich heritage.

To date, more than 240 native plant species have been recorded, indicating an extremely diverse, high-quality prairie. TPWD botanist and plant ecologist, Jason Singhurst, has surveyed College Park Prairie three times. He describes the site as a Texas-Louisiana Coastal Prairie (also known as a Cajun Prairie) that is extremely rare in both Louisiana and Texas. Its status is: Global Rank: G1S1. G1 means it is at very high risk of extinction due to extreme rarity, with often 5 or fewer known populations; S1 means there are fewer than 5 occurrences known in Texas.

Coastal prairies are so rare that most Houstonians have never seen one. Since the College Park Prairie is located in Harris County, it is an ideal location for the public to visit and experience what prairies once looked like. Walking into the prairie is like stepping back 150 years, turning the clock back to a less stressful time.

Finding and preserving prairie remnants is now at a critical stage if we want to save a window into our past. The current threat to the College Park Prairie is urban development. It is unlikely another sizable remnant of this quality will ever again be found in Harris County. This may be the last opportunity to save a piece of our prairie history this close to Houston.

For more information, please visit www.saveourprairie.com

Flo Hannah, Urban Sanctuaries Manager, Houston Audubon


Last updated:  11/20/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.