Prairie and Woodland Restoration Clinic
A prairie and woodland restoration workshop was held by the Fayette Prairie Chapter on October 29, 2021 at the Weimar Civic Center. It was a full-day workshop led by experts from Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. A series of talks in the morning was followed by a field trip to a local property that is currently undergoing restoration. There were approximately 40 attendees from Fayette and other nearby counties.
Restoring Native Grasslands on Private Lands
Tim Siegmund from Texas Parks and Wildlife presented a talk on restoring native grasslands on private lands, covering topics such as chemical and mechanical site preparation, and seeding mixes, rates, and methods. He also discussed maintenance after planting such as control of undesirable vegetation, how different soils affect planning and results, and what is the characteristic native vegetation of prairies and woodlands in southeast Texas.
Prescribed Burns in Grassland Restoration
Bobby Eichler from Texas Parks and Wildlife discussed the role of prescribed burns in grassland restoration. His talk covered the historical role of fire in prairie development and how prescribed burns benefit restoration and resource management. He also discussed how to plan and execute a successful and safe burn.
Equipment in Grassland Restoration
Chris Janak from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service described the various types of equipment used for tree and brush removal, herbicide spraying, seeding (hand-held to large no-till drill tractors), and maintenance.
Cattle Grazing in Grassland Maintenance
Megan Clayton from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service discussed the historical role of grazing in prairie development and managing grazing for optimum grass regrowth and yield.
Financial Assistance Programs for Restoration
Will Newman, the Farm Bill Coordinator for Texas Parks and Wildlife, discussed the various programs that can provide technical and financial assistance for prairie and woodland resource restoration. His talk covered the role of public investment for resource conservation on private lands, cost-sharing and technical assistance, choosing programs, and how to apply.
Field Trip to Local Restoration Property
In the afternoon, the three Texas Parks and Wildlife experts led a field trip to a local property that had restoration activities ongoing in both prairie and woodland. Participants were able to see the results and stages of various restoration techniques, including a recent prescribed burn area, understand how soil type and terrain, and sun/shade affect which native plants will flourish in a particular area.