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REBUILD

HOUSTON’S

HEARTLAND A VOLUNTEER SEED COLLECTING INITIATIVE TO SUPPORT PRAIRIE RESTORATION ON THE UPPER TEXAS COAST REBUILDING OUR HEARTLAND The Prairie is our Heartland - yet it is in big trouble. We need your help to rebuild this treasure for Texans and wildlife.

Heartland heart·land (härt l nd ). n. A central region, especially one that is politically, economically, or militarily vital to a nation, region, or culture.

rodeos, absorbed

develop the resources necessary to restore or even reconstruct prairies.

LESS THAN

1%

the coastal prairie, which has fed us, given us cultural touchstones like cowboys and

save the best of what’s left and to

Furthermore, if we want the prairie to once again be a prominent and

We are at a crossroads in prairie conservation. After decades of decline our heartland,

If we are to protect our prairie in a rapidly developing world, we will have to

valuable landscape in our region, we will need to pioneer new ways of

O F O UR PR AIR IE

embedding prairies in the heart of our cities,

REMAINS IN PRISTINE

suburbs, and towns.

floodwaters, provided sporting opportunities, and

CONDITION

helped forge our self-reliant Texas character - is in danger of vanishing from our area forever. Yet, there is hope.New efforts to save, restore, and teach about our prairies are making a difference.

Your work as a volunteer seed collector is essential to this project’s success. With several new

Home,home on the Range At one time the majority of the Greater Houston-Galveston area was blanketed by the coastal prairie. The Katy Prairie was a diverse part of this grassland wilderness.

prairie plantings in development, the next 18 months are critical. Together we will preserve and restore this unique natural resource for generations to come.

Can we take the next step? Giant Swallowtail

PROJECT PARTNERS

Photo by Gene Luhn

1]


REBUILD HOUSTON’S HEARTLAND

W H O WO U L D I B E C O L L E C T I N G S E E D S F O R A N Y WAY ? Volunteers will be working one seed collecting teams to collect resources for three Houston-area projects. Together these projects will help restore pocket prairies to prominent locations in Houston, provide starter seeds for efforts to grow large quantities of seed for landscape-level prairie restoration, and give families and individuals an opportunity to grow prairie plants at home.

1. Houston Urban Prairie Initiative

An ambitious project to reconstruct two highly visible prairies along Buffalo Bayou and in the Texas Medical Center.

2. Coastal Prairie Seed Increase Project A project to produce prairie seeds on a large scale for prairie restorations on private and public lands.

3. The Great Grow Out + Texas Master Naturalist Grow Out

A conservation program which empowers volunteer seed growers to grow plants at home or school for restoration projects at schools, parks, or Katy Prairie preserves. Seeds will also be used by Texas Master Naturalists to grow out plants for state parks and local nature centers.

WHO WILL COORDINATE SEED COLLECTION? SEED COLLECTIONS MANAGER - SCOTT BARNES • Under contract for 6 hours weekly • Job is to coordinate, update, focus, and assist seed collecting teams. • Will be heavily assisted by Katy Prairie Conservancy, TNC, Texas Master Naturalists, etc.

TMN -Gulf Coast/ NPSOT Houston/ NPAT Houston Team Leader E-mail: Lan Shen + Katy Emde

Katy Prairie Team Leaders Email: Jaime González + Scott Barnes

Nature Conservancy Team 1 (Upper Coast) Leader Email: Aaron Tjelmeland

Nature Conservancy Team 2 (Mid-Coast) Leader E-mail: Kirk Feurbacher

FOR COASTAL PRAIRIE SEED INCREASE PROGRAM ONLY Seeds mailed directly by collectors to Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center, 3409 N FM 1355, Kingsville, TX 78363-2704 using special provided envelopes.

North Country Team (Montgomery Co., etc.) Leader E-mail: Glenn Merkord

FOR ALL OTHER PROJECTS Seeds dried 3 days at home and then placed into labeled paper sacks. Deliver seed bags to KPC Home office @ 3015 Richmond Ave., Suite 230, Houston, TX 77098

2]

Wildlife Habitat Federation Team (West of Houston) Leader E-mail: Jim Willis


WHICH SPECIES WILL BE COLLECTED? Common Name

Scientific Name

Cibalo Prairies

MD Anderson

on Buffalo Bayou Prairie

CP Seed Increase

Volunteer Grow

Program

Out Efforts

GRASSES Brown-seed Paspalum

Paspalum plicatulum

Yellow Indiangrass

Sorghastrum nutans

✓+

Big Bluestem

Andropogon gerardii

✓+

Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium

✓+

Seacoast Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium

var. littorale Switchgrass

Panicum virgatum

Florida Paspalum

Paspalum floridanum

Sideoats Grama

Bouteloua curtipendula

Red Lovegrass

Eragrostis secundiflora

✓+

Eastern Gamagrass

Tripsacum dactyloides

Knot-root Bristlegrass

Setaria geniculata

Virginia Wildrye

Elymus virginicus

Silver Bluestem

Bothriochloa

saccharoides Little Barley

Hordeum pusillum

Winter Bentgrass

Agrostis hyemalis

Texas Coneflower

Rudbeckia texana

✓+

Illinois Bundleflower

Desmanthus illinoensis

White Prairie Clover

Dalea candida

Maximilian Sunflower

Helianthus maximilianii

✓+

Swamp Sunflower

Helianthus angustifolius

✓+

WILDFLOWERS

Roundhead Prairie Clover Dalea multiflora Plains Coreopsis

Coreopsis tinctoria

Horsemint spp.

Monarda punctata,

✓+

citrodora, and fistulosa Liatris spp.

Liatris pychnostayca and acidota

American Basketflower

Centaurea americana

✓?

Prairie Agalis

Agalinis heterophylla

Rough Coneflower

Rudbeckia grandiflora

Rosinweed

Silphium spp.

Green Millkweed

Ascelpias viridis

✓+

Rattlesnake Master

Eryngium yuccifolium

✓+

Prairie Parsley

Polytaenia nuttallii

Seaside Goldenrod

Solidago sempervirens

✓+

✓+ = Likely to be added by M.D. Anderson ground crews after initial August 2012 hydroseeding

3]


WHEN DO I COLLECT EACH SPECIES? Common Name

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

GRASSES Brown-seed Paspalum Yellow Indiangrass Big Bluestem Little Bluestem Seacoast Bluestem Switchgrass Florida Paspalum Sideoats Grama Red Lovegrass Eastern Gamagrass Knot-root Bristlegrass Virginia Wildrye Silver Bluestem Little Barley Winter Bentgrass Common Name WILDFLOWERS Texas Coneflower American Basket-flower Illinois Bundleflower White Prairie Clover Maximilian Sunflower Swamp Sunflower Roundhead Prairie Clover Plains Coreopsis Horsemint spp. Liatris spp. Prairie Agalis Rough Coneflower Rosinweed Green Millkweed Rattlesnake Master Prairie Parsley Seaside Goldenrod

4]


REBUILD HOUSTON’S HEARTLAND H O U S T O N

U R B A N

P R A I R I E

I N I T I A T I V E

Cibalo Prairies on Buffalo Bayou Houston’s Largest Urban Prairie Takes Shape Near Downtown SEED COLLECTING WINDOW: Summer 2012 through early fall 2013. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Through the establishment of a strong public‐private partnership led by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), the City of Houston and Harris County Flood Control District, with catalyst funding from Houston’s

Kinder Foundation, a major enhancement project is underway to improve aesthetic and recreational opportunities along the Shepherd to Sabine segment of Buffalo Bayou while simultaneously regaining the waterway’s flood conveyance capacity and environmental qualities. One key feature of this transformation will be the creation of the Cibalo Prairies totaling 11+ acres. These plantings, formally known as meadows, will be a string of pocket prairies showcasing coastal prairie species and will greatly increase the general public’s access to native grasslands in the urban context. This will be the largest urban prairie planting inside the 610 Loop - creating wonderful wild bird and butterfly habitat, giving Houstonians a link to their history, and providing a rich aesthetic tapestry along the banks of Houston’s signature waterway. Common Nighthawk Photo by Greg Lavaty

FOOD FACTORY Common Night Hawks and Brazilian Freetail Bats, from the Waugh Street bat colony, will likely use these prairies as prime hunting grounds each summer.

Brazilian Free-tailed Bat Photo by Merlin Tuttle

INITIATIVE BENEFICIARIES

5]


REBUILD HOUSTON’S HEARTLAND H O U S T O N

U R B A N

P R A I R I E

I N I T I A T I V E

M.D. Anderson Prairie Heal the People. Heal the Land. SEED COLLECTING WINDOW: May 2012 through December 2013. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: M.D. Anderson is planting two acres of prairie at the corner of Holcombe and Fannin in the heart of the world-famous Texas Medical Center. This planting will stand in the site of a recently demolished building for 3-5 years, educating people from around the world about our prairie. Before rebuilding on the site, plants will be redistributed to local public and private schools and City of Houston parks. Signage at this site will be delivered in many languages to connect with the highly diverse population that visits, works, and are undergoes treatment at M.D. Anderson, one of the world’s premier cancer hospitals.

American Goldfinch Photo by Greg Lavaty

SEED SEEKERS Expect to see birds like this American Goldfinch visiting this new prairie in search of seeds from swamp sunflowers and other plants each winter.

INITIATIVE BENEFICIARIES

+ Schools and Local Parks

6]


A KPC citizen-conservation project for schools, scouts, garden clubs, churches, families, and individuals.

WANT TO SAVE THE PLANET? START AT HOME! A KPC citizen-conservation project for schools, scouts, garden clubs, churches, families, and individuals. Why is the Great Grow Out needed?

Volunteers are also highly encouraged to

Animals need plants - but not just any

keep some plants for their own use - hey,

plants. Our native wildlife does best when

it's part of the fun!

given plants that they’ve been in partnerships with for thousands of years -

KPC provides volunteers with the seeds

native plants. The best way of helping

and the know how; volunteer growers

wildlife then is to make sure that there are plenty of native grasses,

provide the water, soil, I’m a

pots, and time.

Monarch...

wildflowers, trees, and

How can you get

shrubs around for them

involved?

to eat, get much needed

(1) Volunteers first visit

water, and find shelter.

page and select which

...and I need Prairie Blazing Star! Photos by Carolyn Fannon

home improvement

the Great Grow Out

Along the way they stop to feed on the nectar of flowers and lay eggs on milkweed plants. Their bright orange color warns birds and other predators that they are poisonous!

Unfortunately, few native plants are sold at local

AMAZING MIGRATOR Monarch butterflies are amazing animals. Each year they travel (migrate), over several generations, thousands of miles between their winter home in Mexico and their summer homes in the United States and Canada.

stores and that’s where you come in! Great Grow

ABOUT PRAIRIE BLAZING STAR OR LIATRIS Flying takes a lot of energy! Whether you are a monarch, a swallowtail butterfly, a bee, SEEDS or a hummingbird you need flowers that provide high amounts of sugars. Fortunately blazing stars (also known as Liatris) provide rich nectar which is high in sugar. The beautiful purple flowers make this prairie native easy to spot for prairie insects and make a very enjoyable flower for gardens and as cut flowers.

Out volunteers grow and nurture native plants at their homes so that they can be used in restoration projects on the Katy Prairie, at local pocket prariies, and even at schools who are enrolled in our Prairie Builders School initiative. You

seeds they would like to grow based on the appearance of the plant and which animal(s) uses the plant. (2) Seeds are sent to

growers by Jaime Gonzålez (3) Volunteers use online instructions to

HOME ON THE RANGE At one time the majority of the Greater Houston-Galveston area was blanketed by the prairie. The Katy Prairie was a wonderful diverse part of this grassland wilderness.

grow out the plants (4) Several months later plants are returned to KPC for planting.

decide which location you want to grow for.

INITIATIVE BENEFICIARIES

+ Public & Private Schools [7]


DID YOU KNOW THAT THE GREAT GROW OUT IS A YEAR-ROUND ACTIVITY?

Collect Seeds Volunteers collect seeds in late summer through fall at local prairies.

Planting Day!

1 Seed Packing Pizza Parties

Volunteers are invited to participate in a big

KPC organizes a series of seed

planting day on a KPC

packing pizza parties (gotta

preserve, public park, or

have food!) where we

6

2

typically pack 2,000 seed packets per party.

local school.

Gulf Fritillary on Passionflower Photo by Wally Ward

5

3

Distribute Seeds Volunteer growers

request seeds for growing

Return Plants

at home by contacting Jaime

Volunteers return

from March - September.

plants to KPC once the roots of

GonzĂĽlez. Seeds are distributed

4

their plants are starting to poke out of their 4� pots or 1 gallon pots.

Grow Seeds at Home or School Volunteers grow plants at home or at school for several months using online instructions.

DID YOU KNOW? The Katy Prairie Conservancy has protected nearly 18,000 acres of prairie lands since 1996!

katyprairie.org/GGO.html [8]


COLLECTING + PREPARING SEEDS ALL PROJECTS EXCEPT COASTAL PRAIRIE SEED INCREASE PROJECTS

Collect Seeds Volunteers join a seed collecting team and collect seeds late spring through fall at local wild prairies.

1

2

Clean + Dry Seeds Volunteers take seeds home, remove rough debris and chaff, and dry seed for 3 days on pieces of newspaper that have been laid flat on the floor

Green Treefrog on Rough Coneflower Photo by Carolyn Fannon

4 Return to KPC Home Office

3

Team leader or individual delivers or mails seed to Katy Prairie Conservancy Home Office: Katy Prairie Conservancy 3015 Richmond Ave., Suite 230 Houston, TX 77025

Pack in Paper Sacks Seed collector labels paper sacks with the following four pieces of information: 1. Collection date 2. Collection location 3. Species name 4. Collector’s name Seed collect fills seeds into appropriately labeled paper sack

[9]


REBUILD HOUSTON’S HEARTLAND COASTAL

PRAIRIE

SEED

INCREASE

PROJECT

Coastal Prairie Seed Increase Program It’s Time to Think Big! SEED COLLECTING WINDOW: Summer 2012 through December 2013. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The most pressing challenge for restoring large tracts of coastal prairie in Houston and its environs is the availability of locally adapted seeds which can be grown in large quantities. An effort is underway to collect 15 species from all of the counties of the upper Texas coast. Seeds will be scientifically assessed for grow out potential and will eventually be released to commercial growers who will provide seeds to conservation groups and ranchers. We will collect a mixture of late succession species like Little Bluestem, and early successional species like Lovegrass. This will ensure that feature restoration will be able to follow a normal process of succession and will immediately see some measure of visual success. By early summer 2012, the entire upper Texas coast collecting area will be parceled up to specific groups. Volunteers will be asked to collect the 15 candidate species in one of those areas. We are also asking folks collecting for this effort to collect for the Urban Prairie Initiative and Great Grow Out while they are out in the field. INITIATIVE BENEFICIARIES

+ Private Landowners

[10]


REBUILD HOUSTON’S HEARTLAND COASTAL

PRAIRIE

SEED

INCREASE

PROJECT

COLLECTING + PREPARING SEEDS COASTAL PRAIRIE SEED INCREASE PROJECT ONLY

Collect Seeds Volunteers join a seed collecting team and collect seeds

1

late spring through fall at local wild prairies.

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2 Clean + Dry Seeds

Mail to NRCS in Kingsville

Volunteers take seeds home, remove rough

Volunteers fill out all

debris and chaff, and dry

appropriate

seed for 3 days on

information on NRCS

pieces of newspaper that

envelope, pack seeds,

have been laid flat on the

and mail to Kika de la

floor.

Garza Plant Materials Center, 3409 N FM 1355, Kingsville, TX 78363-2704

[11]


REBUILD HOUSTON’S HEARTLAND COA S TA L P R A I R I E S E E D I N C R E A S E P RO J E C T P ROTO CO L Seed collection protocol for Coastal Prairie Seed Increase Program What • • • • • • •

to bring

Gloves Drop cloths Pruning shears Boxes, buckets, or baskets Paper, burlap, or canvas bags Data forms and pencils Camera

Collection protocol • Unless otherwise requested, only seed should be collected • Make sure you can identify the species properly • Make sure seeds are ripe and ready to be collected (*see note below) • Bag seeds individually by species (unless requested to bag seeds from each parent plant sampled • • • • • •

separately) Use woven plastic, burlap or paper bags for seeds, never plastic Collect from as many plants (or clones) of a single species as possible selected randomly and evenly from throughout the site. Collect from at least 50 plants in each site (population) but never from less than 30 plants (unless that is all there is). Try to get at least 700 seed/collection site. Collect seed from each species several times throughout the seed ripening period if possible Complete collection form for each species, each site, and each date. Always GPS collection sites. Label bags with id#, to correlate with data form. Include species, location and date in case data form is lost. Store bags in dry place to continue to air dry, either in an air conditioned or heated building or a drying device of some type

Information to record • Collection date • Name of collector • Species identity • A unique number or identifier for each collection • Descriptive and precise location information including GPS, habitat, and associated species • Site conditions including soil type, aspect, slope, elevation, site wetness • Local abundance, population size and number of individuals sampled • Fruiting stage of the plants sampled, e.g. early, ripe, or late After seed collection {absolutely critical for success!} • Notify area collection leader of what you collected so they may keep records of what has been •

collected Dry seeds if necessary. Store paper bag in a dry, well-ventilated area. Storing the paper bag at room temperature until dry is sufficient for most collections. For large quantities or wet seeds, lay out on paper with as much ventilation as possible until dry. Do not store outside overnight since dew and condensation may occur.

Continued on next page...

[12]


Once dry, give seeds to area collection leader or send directly to: John Lloyd-Reilley USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center 3409 FM 1313 Kingsville, TX 78363

*Identifying ripe seeds – Seeds generally ripen 2-5 weeks after flowering. Sees are ripe when they shake in the pod, are easily removed from the plant, and/or are turning dark in color. Fertile achenes easily detach from the floral receptacle while sterile and parasitized achenes will remain within the floral involucral cup long after the healthy seed has dispersed. Seed cones containing fertile seed will generally open naturally while cones with a high percentage of sterile seed may not open at all. The quality of fertile seed produced by a plant population and individual plants can vary considerably from year to year.

COASTAL PRAIRIE SEED INCREASE PROJECT

AREA COORDINATORS

[13]


SEED COLLECTING DATA SHEET PLEASE ATTACH TO BAGS BEFORE TURNING INTO KPC Plant Genus and Species ________________________________________ Plant Family _____________________________________________________ Common Name __________________________________________________ Date of Collection _______________ Name of Team ______________ Name of Collector _______________________________________________ Collection Site GPS Coordinates ________________________________________________ Landowner _______________________________ Permission ______ Address________________________________________________________ County __________________________ Elevation __________________ Site Description Estimated Size of Site, in acres _______________________________ Estimated Number of Individual Plants _____________________ Estimated number of individuals collected _________________ Soil Type _________________________ Soil Color _________________ Associated Species ______________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Ecoregion ________________________________________________________

SEED COLLECTING DATA SHEET PLEASE ATTACH TO BAGS BEFORE TURNING INTO KPC Plant Genus and Species ________________________________________ Plant Family _____________________________________________________ Common Name __________________________________________________ Date of Collection _______________ Name of Team ______________ Name of Collector _______________________________________________ Collection Site GPS Coordinates ________________________________________________ Landowner _______________________________ Permission ______ Address________________________________________________________ County __________________________ Elevation __________________ Site Description Estimated Size of Site, in acres _______________________________ Estimated Number of Individual Plants _____________________ Estimated number of individuals collected _________________ Soil Type _________________________ Soil Color _________________ Associated Species ______________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Ecoregion ________________________________________________________ [14]

Rebuilding Houston's Heartland  

A document which outlines a large prairie seed collection effort on the upper Texas coast for 2012-2013

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