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Prairie Planting Happening at San Jacinto Battleground
HOUSTON — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in cooperation with the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy and Native American Seed, Inc., and with the generous support of Shell Oil Company, is restoring 110 acres of tall-grass prairie at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.
While portions of the battleground retain the same tall grasses that helped hide the Texan army as they approached Santa Anna’s encampment on April 21, 1836, the planting area had grown over with Chinese Tallow. This invasive tree imported from Asia was cleared from portions of the battlefield and these areas are now being seeded with native grasses and flowers. Very few acres remain of native Texas prairies, a landscape rich in plant diversity and ecological value but largely lost to farming, overgrazing, and development.
The department was having a difficult time finding a source for the restoration, but Native American Seed, Inc. of Junction was able to harvest seed from nearby League City’s Benoit Prairie Park. The 44 acre-Park is one of the highest quality remnant prairies left on the Gulf Coast and the city graciously allowed Native American Seed access to the site.
Prairie restoration work at the San Jacinto Battleground is funded by Shell Oil Company through the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy . It is being accomplished with seeding equipment similar to what most farmers use, but modified to handle the especially diverse and fluffy native plant seeds. Over a hundred different types of prairie plants are being seeded into the battleground including blue mist flower, purple gay feather, switchgrass, little bluestem, Indian grass and Texas coneflower.
The restored tall-grass prairie will not only provide a beautiful landscape, but also a home for prairie-dependent wildlife such as marsh hawks and meadow larks, which are often seen by visitors.
This prairie restoration will also help visitors visualize the battleground as it would have appeared in 1836. The tall prairie grasses were critical to the outcome of the battle, allowing the Texans to surprise a superior Mexican force.
The seeding is occurring through the last weekend of September along Vista Road and can be observed by the public. The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is a National Historic Landmark and the locale of the culminating military event of the Texas Revolution. There is no entry fee for the site and it is open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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