Paul Mathews Prairie
Location: Hunt County
Region: Blackland Prairie
Size: 100 acres
Ownership: Owned by NPAT. Conservation easement held by The Nature Conservancy.
The Paul Mathews Prairie is a rare remnant prairie of the Blackland Prairie near Floyd, TX in Hunt County. The Blackland Prairie Ecoregion once covered millions of acres in Texas and reached into the central United States. Today, very little of this habitat remains. Conserving this type of imperiled ecosystem is at the core of NPAT’s mission as an accredited land trust.
The Paul Mathews Prairie is a very unique and extremely valuable remnant prairie that was once part of that larger, original landscape. It is an original, native grassland community that has survived on a site to the present day; it has never been plowed. It is densely grassed, heavily forbed, and riddled with deep gilgai impressions!
In contrast, a restored prairie is a native ecosystem that has been taken over to some degree by another plant community and is being managed to restore the land to its state “pre-settlement vegetation state” (that is, pre-1850’s).
Paul Mathews and His Prairie
- In the early 1900s, Paul Mathews’ family lived in the area, so Paul enjoyed many days ON the prairie! In 1969, he accomplished his dream: he purchased ‘Paul’s Prairie.’ Now he could protect it! The prairie was in the hands of a true conservationist.
- He placed a conservation easement on the prairie in the 1980s with The Nature Conservancy. It was one of the earliest in the state.
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department awarded Mr. Mathews the distinguished Lone Star Land Steward Award in 1998 “Celebrating Excellence in Private Land Conservation. The annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards recognizes and honors private landowners in Texas for their contributions to natural resource conservation and management.”
- He maintained the prairie until his death in 2005. It was then sold to Dr. Jim Conrad, who kept it until 2017. Dr. Conrad then sold it to NPAT for a very generous price. NPAT is so grateful to Mr. Mathews, Dr. Conrad and the other donors who made this purchase possible.
- Read more about Paul Mathews, his prairie and how the purchase came about:
“Paul was a man of great Christian faith, and he told me the prairie was exactly as God had made it. To him, it was a sacred place, and owning it imparted on him a sacred obligation. He wanted it preserved so that future generations could see what God hath wrought.” Read more about Jim Eidson’s recollections of Paul and his prairie:
- Birdwatching Daily Publication on Birdwatching on Paul Mathews Prairie
- UT Austin’s Department of Integrative Biology, College of Natural Sciences found 20 native bee species on the prairie. You’ll want to open this .pdf document for sure and observe photos and siting details!
- Mathews Prairie Plant list pdf, 2017