Register Your Prairie

Pat Merkord presenting NPAT’s prairie registration sign to Daphne Prairie owner BF Hicks.

Registering your property with NPAT as a Native Texas Prairie Heritage Property recognizes an allegiance between NPAT and the landowner – both are dedicated to protecting the legacy of the original native prairies and grasslands.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?  NPAT’s program is available to owners of all Texas prairies: tallgrass, mixed grass, short grass, savannahs, pocket prairies, wetland prairies, and desert grasslands, including “Remnant” and “Restoration” properties. 

This endeavor creates a working relationship based on mutual intentions and support in order to protect the land. NPAT’s ultimate desire would be to work with the landowner toward the goal of designating the land as a conservation easement in the future.

Remnant and Restoration properties as described by Missouri Prairie Foundation:
Remnant: An original, native natural community (e.g., prairie or forest) that has survived on a site to the present day (e.g., a prairie that has never been plowed), but was once part of a larger, original landscape.
Restoration: A native ecosystem that has been taken over to some degree by another plant community and is managed to restore pre-settlement vegetation. Restorations sometimes involve supplementation with seeds from plants that may have grown on the site in the past. Restorations usually involve removing invasive plant species.

3-Phase Process: 
1) the landowner completes NPAT’s heritage registration form accounting for and describing property-specific data; i.e., the native grasses and forbs, percentage of ground cover/ invasive vegetation, past use and history as well as describing the current use and type(s) of management in place.  
2) A nominal registration fee payable to NPAT is submitted with the completed form.  See below.
3) The landowner receives: 
-a sign to post on the land, designating it as a registered Native Texas Prairie. 
-a certificate suitable for framing, 
-recognition via listing in the Native Texas Prairie Heritage Registry, 
-recognition at NPAT’s annual conference and in NPAT’s newsletter, 
-a complimentary 1-yr subscription to NPATs newsletter; and 
-information on caring for and protecting native grassland.

How does it differ from a Conservation Easement?

1) The heritage registry is NOT a legal agreement, but recognition (via the sign) that the landowner has registered commitment to protect the natural heritage of the property through managing native prairie and grassland.  
2) The heritage registry is not a permanent agreement, it does not run with the title, nor does it confer tax benefits to the landowner.

A Conservation Easement is a legal agreement placed by a LANDOWNER with a land trust restricting future uses of a piece of property.  It is entered into to ensure the property’s management will preserve natural features, wildlife habitat, open space historic sites, scenery, traditional land uses, or other values, making sure current uses and conditions of a piece of land are not greatly altered in the future. 
Native Prairies Association of Texas accepts donations of conservation easements specifically to protect prairies.  These are permanent and run with the title; meaning land can be sold or inherited, but future owners must follow the terms of the conservation easement.  They conserve prairies while maintaining private ownership and meet practical needs of the landowner while supporting conservation of their prairie.  Learn more about conservation easements.

Native Texas Prairie Heritage Registration Form

If you have a remnant or restored prairie that you would like to register, please download the Native Texas Prairie Heritage form below:

NPAT is proud to work alongside responsible landowners who have made the effort to register their heritage properties in this program!

Each registered landowner displays the NPAT sign on their property which recognizes the efforts made to protect our natural heritage.

Their motivation is inspiring and contagious; we hope to introduce more landowners to this and other conservation opportunities!

The landowners share a dedication which was collectively expressed by one of them who said, “I will be glad to help spread the word on value & importance of our prairies!”

We are grateful to have the permission to share recent input from registered heritage prairies landowners in these Texas counties:

• Fayette County        • Franklin County              • Harris County
• Milam County          • Montgomery County        • Wilson County

Here are a few statements from landowners describing their motivation to register their prairie:
• “Preserving native prairies is very important; registering seemed a way to do that, advertising registry & the fact that native prairies are to be preserved, educating ourselves and making existence of our prairie known to NPAT and other scientists and conservationists.” 
• “I believe in the work to save prairies from extinction. Being in the registry sends a message as more people sign on to manage their land for grassland that is native and supports native species of all kinds, both plant and animal.  Strength in numbers!”
• “The efforts of focusing on heritage and original prairie lands has sparked an overall interest in conservation.”
• “Concerned about urban expansion throughout US without concern for consequences to wildlife or environment.  I believe and hope NPAT will help make citizens and developers aware of the problems.”
• “We want the interested public to be aware of the restored prairie and use it for educational, research, and wildlife viewing purposes.” 
• “I have an overall interest in conservation.”

Landowners’ experiences since they have registered their prairies:
• “It is hard work, but a pleasure to see the results of our efforts.”
• “We are proud to manage this property & enjoy interacting with partners who maintain rare prairie species and assist each other’s efforts.  This site serves as an important outdoor laboratory & training site for advanced high school & college students. We have had successes with group tours and hope Houston NPAT and CPP, etc. will arrange more in the future.”
• “It’s definitely coming along.  I observed new big bluestem occurring from seed for the first time this year (or possibly seeding out from transplants).  The bird count is growing.  We’ve cut and treated brush as a real concerted effort since last summer regularly, almost every week.  The open grass areas are almost finished with brush piles replacing the (mostly) bumelia, mesquite, and Roosevelt weed.  I plan to selectively edit in the area that has trees and brush now (upland, not riparian) after we finish in the grass.  There are glades and copses there.”
• “We see lots of bee and butterfly activity as well as bird use. We try to remove invasives but haven’t gotten good control of grasses particularly. We add native plants to the prairie as seedlings, transplants from prairie sources, and by seeding.”

Landowners received responses to the sign displayed on their prairie: 
• “Neighbors have complimented us and wanted to learn more about native plants.” 
• “The sign validated respect for the land and my efforts as a landowner.” 
• “Have had no inquiries about the signs, but there has been interest by neighbors and the public in general about what we are doing.  We have received comments about the variety and quality of wildlife observed on our ‘heritage’ land, particularly quail.”
• “A TPWD officer commented, “Oh, your place is registered with NPAT,” when he came to visit.