State Wildlife Grants: Habitat Funding Priorities

GIS Mapping and Vegetation Characterization of the Henrietta Prairie Landscape in support of Bobwhite Quail and Upland Bird Conservation
The Henrietta Prairie region is the western part of the Cross Timbers and Prairies (Archer, Clay, and Montague Counties) in a transition zone between the tallgrass prairies of the region and the mixed-grass prairies of the Rolling Plains. In terms of scale this landscape consists of a large amount of native prairie in Texas. However, there are no published accounts of the prairies plant communities, composition, indicators of quality, or current condition of this landscape. The focus of this project is to identify all intact prairies within this landscape through Geographic Information Science and Remote Sensing mapping techniques and characterize each plant community association type. Geo-referenced plots of tall, mid, and shortgrass prairie plant community associations will need to be sampled on two large private landholdings. Plots will need to be sampled at differing landscape positions (lower slope, slope, and upland) on the three major soils types that have developed this prairie landscape. This plot information will be used to describe each plant community association type. Research grantee will need to cooperate between TPWD, Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, and NatureServe on this project.
  • Findings will support upland game bird and bird conservation within three bobwhite quail focus counties.
  • Findings will support identifying conservation opportunity areas with the Henrietta Prairie landscape.
  • Findings will support the community types of this prairie landscape at the association level.
  • Findings will support several bird and herp species of greater conservation need.
Evaluation of Pastures for Upland Birds Treatments
Pastures for Upland Birds is a cooperative program (Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and Native Prairies Association of Texas) to restore native grassland vegetation and associated upland birds on introduced grass dominated pastures. The program focus area is the Blackland Prairie and Post Oak Savanna regions of eastern Texas. The standard vegetation treatment includes herbiciding of nonnative grass pastures followed by no-till seeding of native grasses. Since 2007, the program has treated over 2,000 acres of nonnative pastures in 20 counties, but there has been no rigorous assessment of the response of pasture vegetation in the treated areas. Vegetation at treatment sites would be quantitatively assessed to determine whether nonnative pasture grasses were eliminated and native grasses and forbs were established in their place.
  • Findings would help document whether the current practice of herbiciding and reseeding effectively establishes native prairie vegetation.
  • Findings could help identify climatic, soil and other variables associated with successful establishment of native prairie vegetation.
  • Findings would provide an objective basis for refining treatments to reestablish native prairie vegetation in the Blackland Prairie and Post Oak Savanna regions of eastern Texas.
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