Saving a Natural Treasure: The College Park Prairie
by Flo Hannah, Urban Sanctuaries Manager, Houston Aububon
Good news! An amazing prairie remnant has been found in Deer Park. It is called the College Park Prairie, named after an adjacent elementary school. This is a 52-acre 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.
A willing seller and a brief window of time to raise funds are providing a rare opportunity to potentially acquire this extraordinary property, the largest known high-quality prairie remnant for sale in Harris County. Houston Audubon is not currently accepting donations but is partnering with Houston Wilderness and the Coastal Prairie Partnership to find acquisition funds from corporations and environmental agencies.
Coastal prairie is the “rarest of the rare” of North America’s ecosystems (D. Ladd, TNC). 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. The vast local prairies of Harris County once teemed with grassland birds and supported countless other wildlife species. Except for the abundance of prairie-associated names, little remains of that rich heritage…