Prairie News Update 2007-06-03

Filed under: — Stormwind @ 12:13 am

NPAT LogoA Prairie News Update has been emailed to the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) email list!

You can also read it on the NPAT web site.  Contents include:

Subscribe to the NPAT-announce email list to receive Prairie News Updates and other prairie field trip and event announcements.

     Prairie News Update


  1. Upcoming Prairie Field Trips and Events
  2. Volunteer Opportunities
  3. Prairie Property For Sale
  4. Restoration/Grant Opportunities
  5. Other News

Check out the recently revamped NPAT web site, with many new photos of prairies in bloom, at http://www.texasprairie.org/

Less than 1% of the original 20 million acres of Texas’ beautiful tallgrass prairie remains, so we must act now to conserve our remaining Texas tallgrass prairie heritage.  Please consider joining or donating to the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) to help advocate and protect Texas’ prairie heritage, native plants, and wildlife.

Upcoming Prairie Field Trips and Events

See the News and Events web page for more events and information.

  • Parker County Poor Farm Tour – June 8, 2007 – Friday 10am-1pm
  • 256 acre property contains 50-60 acres of Little Bluestem-Indiangrass prairie on Grand Prairie limestone outcrops
  • For more information, contact Jeff Quayle, 817-729-0283, s-quaylei@earthlink.net. Also see the Poor Farm web site.
  • Wildflower Tour of Bear Creek Ranch – June 9, 2007 – Saturday 10am-1pm
    • Owned by the Dixon Water Foundation, the 1700 acre Bear Creek Ranch supports deep soiled tallgrass prairie, limestone glades, and streamside forest. Come see this spectacular part of the Fort Worth Prairie.
    • The Nature Conservancy’s Jim Eidson will talk about natural history, and Robby Tuggle, ranch manager, will talk about sustainable grazing.
    • Located at 2701 Bear Creak Rd., Aledo, TX 76008. Click here for directions.
    • For more information, contact the Nature Conservancy’s Jim Eidson, 903-568-4139, jeidson@tnc.org. Also see the field trip flyer.
  • Texas Prairie Coalition Meeting – June 25, 2007 – Monday 1pm
    • The Texas Prairie Coalition (TPC) is a group of private and public organizations and individuals active in native prairie conservation, restoration, and/or education in Texas.
    • Meeting in Lewisville, TX north of Dallas/Ft. Worth.  Contact Jason Spangler, jason_spangler@texasprairie.org or 512-736-4199, for more information.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    Prairie Celestial Get involved with prairie conservation, restoration, and education!

    1. NPAT is looking for volunteers to organize and lead prairie field trips, identify and record prairie remnants, educate people about native prairies, advocate prairie conservation and restoration to local groups and agencies, and to serve on the NPAT board.  Contact us at contact@texasprairie.org or 512-772-4741 if interested.
    2. TPWD is looking for volunteers to help at a prairie booth near the small Indiangrass/Little Bluestem prairie planting during the TPWD Expo grounds in Austin.  They are looking for volunteers with a "passion for prairies who like to work with kids".  October 6-7, 9am to 5pm.   They can offer an Expo t-shirt and tickets to the Expo banquet on Saturday evening.  Contact: Pat Morton, 512-912-7020 or patricia.morton@tpwd.state.tx.us

    Prairie Property for Sale

    IndiangrassNPAT members have seen the following possibly native prairie sites for sale.  These could be good conservation buyer properties for restoring prairie along with a conservation easement.  For more information, contact Jason Spangler, jason_spangler@texasprairie.org or 512-736-4199.

    1. 180 acres near Bruceville-Eddy (Blackland Prairie) and I-35 of degraded tallgrass prairie (south of Waco).  Site contains Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Ceanothus, Wild Hyacinth, Prairie Celestial, Standing Winecup, Barbara’s Buttons, Perennial Paintbrush, Liatris, including endemics White Silphium and Pale-Leaf Yucca.  A wooded stream runs through property, and an asphalt driveway already exists.  Site seems mostly native, with mostly seeding of climax native grasses and brush control needed for restoration.
    2. 80 acres near Paris (Blackland Prairie) with Silveus DropseedLongspike Tridens prairie including prairie flowers/forbs such as Liatris and Giant Coneflower.  Property contains a house, workshop, and pond.
    3. 500 acres near Paris (Blackland Prairie) of possibly degraded Silveus DropseedLongspike Tridens prairie used as pasture, near Smiley-Woodfin Meadow.

    Restoration/Grant Opportunities

    Black SwallowtailUSDA announces up to $1 billion in funding for wildlife conservation over 15 years

    The USDA has announced a program for restoring habitat (i.e. native prairie) on former cropland for species that are identified at risk in State Wildlife Action Plans like grassland birds, native bees, and butterflies.  Texas’ State Wildlife Action Plan lists Blackland Prairie and Coastal Prairies and Marshes as the top two priority regions, and grassland birds are a large part of the at risk species for those regions.

    Only land that was in crop production 4 out of 6 years between 1996 and 2002 qualifies.

    Payments for land management and restoration

    1. Up to 90% cost share – the cost to prepare habitat and plant vegetation for wildlife.
    2. 50% cost share for management, such as prescribed burns, that is required to maintain the vegetation for wildlife during the 10-15 year contract.
    3. Whole fields can be enrolled as well as stream and wetland buffers.

    Payments to the farmer’s pocket:

    1. Annual rental payments based on average rental rates for the 3 predominant soils on the cropland being enrolled for the length of the CRP contract (10-15 years). Nationwide, the average rental rate is $49/ac and varies from $27/ac to $122/ac in state averages.
    2. An additional $100/acre upfront incentive payment.

    These funds can be combined with other funding and programs, for example to: offer additional money to turn a temporary contract into a permanent conservation easement.  Read more in the USDA/Environmental Defense announcement.

    Please contact us at contact@texasprairie.org or 512-772-4741 if interested in restoring native prairie and your property qualifies, especially if you are interested in a conservation easement on the restored prairie.

    Expanded Conservation Easement Tax Benefits Available

    If you own a native prairie, please consider a conservation easement with NPAT to protect your prairie.  The Pension Reform bill helps family farmers, ranchers, and other moderate-income landowners get a significant tax benefit for making the charitable donation of a conservation easement, restricting future development of their land to protect an important public resource.

    The conservation tax incentive, in place for 26 years, has been adjusted to:

    1. Raise the maximum deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30% of adjusted gross income (AGI) in any year to 50%;
    2. Allow farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of AGI; and
    3. Extend the carry-forward period for a donor to take tax deductions for a voluntary conservation agreement from 5 to 15 years.

    These expanded benefits only apply to conservation easements donated before the end of 2007 (unless Congress passes another bill extending or making them permanent).

    Please contact us at contact@texasprairie.org or 512-772-4741 to learn more and discuss conservation easements.  Also learn more online on our web page and the Land Trust Alliance web site.

    Other News

    EchinaceaNew Partners and Affiliations

    NPAT has affiliated or partnered with multiple organizations with which we share common goals.  These include the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which mentioned NPAT in the latest issue of Wildflower magazine (Summer 2007) along with an short article about a small Blackland Prairie tallgrass prairie restoration at the redevelopment of the former Mueller airport in Austin.

    See the complete list of partners and affiliations on our web site.

    Please consider joining the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) to help advocate and protect Texas’ prairie heritage, native plants, and wildlife.  Learn more about Texas tallgrass prairies at the NPSOT-NPAT 2007 Joint Symposium, Oct 18-21st in Georgetown, TX.

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