- 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
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
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