Katy Prairie Conservancy preserves nearly 965 acres of land for conservation projects
The Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) announces the preservation of nearly 965 acres of additional land for two important land conservation projects, increasing lands conserved by the land trust to 30,127 acres. The lands will be protected from any future commercial development.
The first project was an acquisition of 159.82 acres on the Katy Prairie Preserve, adjacent to other protected lands and falling within a nine-square mile area designated for multiple conservation projects, while the second parcel of land is a donated conservation easement on 804.5 acres in Matagorda County.
The nearly 160-acre property in Waller County contains approximately 90 acres of agricultural wetlands (rice farming), while the remainder is grassland. The tract provides wetland habitat when rice is being farmed, and the grasslands provide habitat for an abundance of grassland bird species. It is also utilized by sandhill cranes and long-billed curlew.
The eventual goal of the combined projects on the Katy Prairie, including the new acquisition, is to add nearly 5,000 contiguous acres to the southwestern portion of the preserve. These lands will include open areas for public access, educational programming, research, and recreation. Additionally, there will be carefully managed areas with special habitat for wildlife of concern; properties protected with flood plain easements to aid with regional flood control and agricultural lands that ensure local farming, grazing, and food production.
The Matagorda County conservation easement is a working farm and ranch managed to benefit wildlife. During the fall, winter, and spring the shallow freshwater provides habitat for migratory birds and waterfowl hunting. In the winter, the wetlands provide critical foraging and roosting areas for many species of wetland-dependent wildlife, particularly birds. The property is near other conservation properties, furthering KPC’s goal of protecting large, contiguous areas of land for current and future generations.
“There is an urgent need to conserve land in the Greater Houston area, as growth is consuming the coastal prairie, and the loss of these lands threatens the well-being of people and wildlife,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, President and CEO of Katy Prairie Conservancy. “Protected lands, such as the newly protected properties on the Katy Prairie Preserve and in Matagorda County, serve our community by keeping land in agriculture, linking current generations to natural heritage, and connecting people to nature. Addtionally, they provide critical habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds traveling through the Central Flyway.”
The public is encouraged to visit the Katy Prairie for an unparalleled nature experience. Visitor amenities such as KPC’s Matt Cook Memorial Wildlife Viewing Platform at Warren Lake and the Ann Hamilton Trail at KPC’s Indiangrass Preserve enable the public to experience the Prairie first-hand. Many educational and enrichment opportunities for children and adults are offered year-round.
Check them out at www.katyprairie.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Photo: Greg Lavaty