The Last Stand: Saving the Coastal Prairie - Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]


Uploaded by TexasParksWildlife on 13.01.2011

Transcript:
(sounds of Eastern Meadowlark)
>> THE WIDE OPEN COASTAL
PRAIRIES OF TEXAS ARE NOW
AS RARE AS A RAINBOW.
NO LONGER DO HUGE FLOCKS
OF GEESE AND WATERFOWL
FLY OVERHEAD.
MANY ARE GONE AS THEIR PRECIOUS
WETLANDS ARE NOW SUBURBS.
(Helicopter)
>> ALMOST EXTINCT IS THE
ATTWATERS PRAIRIE CHICKEN.
THE BOOMS OF THE BIRD
DROWNED OUT,
AS THE PRAIRIE IS PLOWED
FOR PEOPLE.
DESPITE ALL THAT,
THERE IS A SHIFT...
>> PUT A LITTLE MORE
WATER IN THERE.
>> PEOPLE ARE WORKING
TO REVERSE THE TREND.
>> THAT'S ONE BUCKET WORTH.
>> TO RESURRECT THIS HISTORIC
HABITAT THAT'S ON THE BRINK...
(Flames crackle)
AS THIS IS THE COASTAL
PRAIRIES LAST STAND.
>> WHAT DO WE NOT WANT THIS TO
BECOME, AND THE SHORT ANSWER
IS WE DON'T WANT THIS TO
BECOME A SUBDIVISION.
>> WES NEWMAN WORKS FOR THE
KATY PRAIRIE CONSERVANCY.
THEY HAVE ONE OF THE LARGEST
TRACTS OF UNDEVELOPED
COASTAL PRAIRIE LEFT.
HISTORICALLY THE COASTAL
PRAIRIE COVERED NINE MILLION
ACRES EXTENDING ALONG THE
COASTS OF LOUISIANA AND TEXAS
AND FURTHER INLAND
SOME 75 MILES.
BUT HOUSTON AND OTHER
CITIES CONTINUE TO EXPAND
AND EAT UP MORE AND MORE
OF THE PRAIRIE LANDSCAPE.
NOW LESS THAN A TENTH OF A
PERCENT OF PRISTINE COASTAL
TALL GRASS PRAIRIE REMAINS.
>> I MEAN IF YOU JUST DON'T
SAY ANYTHING FOR A SECOND...
CAN YOU HEAR THAT?
AND YOU COME OUT HERE
AND EXPERIENCE TRUE QUIET
AND TRUE SOUNDS OF NATURE,
THAT'S AN EXPERIENCE THAT'S
HARD TO FIND THESE DAYS.
>> IT'S NOW WINTER ON
THE KATY PRAIRIE.
>> WE'VE GOT PERFECT BURNING
CONDITIONS TODAY.
>> AND TO PROTECT AND RESTORE
THIS PRAIRIE...
THEY'RE BURNING IT.
>> RIGHT NOW WERE STARTIN OUT,
WERE SETTING OUR BACK FIRES.
>> WHEN WE GET READY, GET READY
CAUSE IT'S GONNA BURN.
WALKING THE LINE!
(Flames crackle)
>> THESE 500 ACRES ARE OVERGROWN
WITH SOME NASTY INVASIVE TREES
AND SHRUBS, THAT CROWD OUT
THE NATIVE GRASSES.
>> WHAT THE WOODIES WILL
EVENTUALLY DO IS BASICALLY CHOKE
OUT THE GRASS AND TAKE OVER.
FOR QUAIL OR A GROUND NESTING
BIRDS, NEOTROPICALS, THAT KINDA
THING, IT'S NOT NECESSARILY
THE BEST HABITAT.
(Radio chatter)
>> PRETTY SIZABLE CHUNK OF LAND,
WHAT VEGETATION IS HERE IT'S
BEEN IN NEED OF SOME PRESCRIBED
FIRE FOR QUITE A WHILE.
HOPEFULLY THIS WILL BE
THE FIRST OF MANY.
>> BECAUSE WE'VE TAKEN FIRE OUT
OF THE NATURAL ECOSYSTEM THAT'S
PART OF THE REASON THESE WOODIE
SPECIES HAVE GOTTEN SUCH A HOLD.
(Flames crackle)
TEN-FOUR I THINK WERE IN GOOD
SHAPE I THINK WE'VE GOTTEN
EVERYTHING DOWN WIND PRETTY
WELL BURNED.
>> I'M TIRED IT'S BEEN A LONG
DAY, AND THIS I'LL OPEN IT UP
MAKE SOME GOOD QUAIL HABITAT,
GOOD MODEL DUCK HABITAT,
GOOD EVERYTHING HABITAT.
>> WHILE THIS SECTION OF THE
KATY PRAIRIE IS IN GOOD HANDS,
DOWN IN LA PORTE THERE'S
A PATCH OF PRAIRIE GRASS
THAT NEEDS SOME HELP.
>> OK, RIGHT HERE?
>> ACTUALLY MAYBE WE SHOULD
DO IT IN THREE PIECES.
>> MEET MASTER NATURALISTS
TOM SOLOMON AND JIM DURON.
>> WAIT A MINUTE THAT'S
ONE CHUNK ISN'T IT?
>> CONSIDER THESE TWO
PRAIRIE PATRIOTS.
>> THERE!
>> THEY ARE HERE TO SAVE SOME
TEXAS COASTAL PRAIRIE PLANTS.
>> THIS IS BIG BLUE STEM IS THE
MAIN DRIVER OF WHAT WE'RE AFTER,
IT'S THE RAREST OF THE BIG
BLUE STEM, SWITCH GRASS,
EASTERN GAMMA, YELLOW INDIAN
AND LITTLE BLUE.
>> THIS PRAIRIE FIELD HOLDS SOME
OF THOSE RARE GRASS SPECIES.
AND IT'S SOON GOING TO
BE A PARKING LOT.
>> WE WERE TOLD IT'S GOING TO BE
PAVED, AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED
IT'S A TREMENDOUS LOSS,
AND WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO
SAVE AS MUCH OF IT AS WE CAN
AND WE'RE GOING TO WORK
OUR BUTT OFF TO DO THAT.
>> WE'VE PULLED OUT PROBABLY
100 TO 200 TUBS OF GRASS
ALREADY AND WE STILL HAVE
ANOTHER 150 TUBS TO GO HERE.
>> I DON'T THINK THAT WE'LL
EVER GET BACK TO WHAT WE
HAD 100 YEARS AGO.
YA KNOW THE FIRST THING THAT'S
GOT TO HAPPEN YOU'VE GOT TO
PUT THE PLANTS IN THE GROUND.
>> TOM AND HIS TEAM WORK TO
GET MORE OF THOSE GRASSES IN
THE GROUND BY BREAKING APART
THESE HUGE MOUNDS OF MIXED
UP GRASSES.
>> WE USE SAWS, KNIVES,
ANYTHING WHATSOEVER.
WHAT WERE REALLY GOING AFTER
IS THIS RIGHT HERE, THIS IS
THE BIG BLUE STEM PLANT.
YOU CAN TELL THAT THIS IS
BIG BLUE STEM RIGHT HERE BY
THE PURPLE REDDISH COLOR
AT THE BASE.
>> AFTER ALL THE GRASS GETS
DIVVIED UP, HUNDREDS OF POTS
SIT READY TO BE PLANTED.
>> BUT YOU CAN SEE THAT THEY
ARE REALLY DOING SUPER GOOD!
>> THOSE POTTED PLANTS HAVE
HELPED RESTORE PRAIRIES AT
STATE PARKS LIKE SHELDON LAKE,
BRAZOS BEND, SAN JACINTO
AND GALVESTON ISLAND.
AND OFTEN THE WORKS DONE THANKS
TO THE GENERATION THAT HAS A
CHANCE TO TURN THINGS AROUND.
>> TODAY WE WILL HAVE ABOUT
A HUNDRED STUDENTS.
(Shovel clanks)
>> THESE SOPHOMORES AND SENIORS
FROM CHAVEZ HIGH SCHOOL ARE
HERE AT HERMANN PARK
(Kid saws and breathes heavy)
TO DO SOME PRAIRIE RESTORATION.
>> ANYTHING THAT'S MARKED WITH
ORANGE PAINT I WANT YOU TO CUT
LOW AND DOWN TO THE GROUND.
SO SOME OF THESE ARE CHINESE
ELM, THEY ARE AN INVASIVE
PLANT THEY WERE BROUGHT IN
WITH THE NURSERY TRADE.
THEY CHOKE OUT THE
NATIVE PLANTS.
(Sawing tree)
>> ALL BIG ASS TREES!
>> WHEN WE ACTUALLY BRING
THEM TO A NATURAL SETTING
OR A PARK SETTING.
>> YEAH!
>> AND WE BRING THEM TO IT WITH
THE INTENT OF FOCUSING ON THOSE
PLANTS RATHER THAN JUST THROWING
A FRISBEE, THEY BEGIN TO SEE
THAT WORLD DIFFERENTLY,
AND BEGIN TO HOPEFULLY VALUE
THE NATURAL WORLD.
>> TODAY WE TOOK DOWN ALL
THE HOW DO YOU SAY IT?
THE INVASIVE SPECIES,
THE TREES THAT WEREN'T
SUPPOSED TO BE THERE.
AND RIGHT NOW WERE PLANTING UM,
GRASSES THAT BELONG HERE.
>> YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO TELL
THEM YOUR LEARNING THINGS
CAUSE THIS IS FUN.
WAIT A SECOND, TEAMWORK OHH!
THIS GIVES US THE OPPORTUNITY
TO ACTUALLY GET HANDS ON.
YOU GOT TO PUSH IT IN, I KNOW
GET THE MUDDY ON THE JORDANS.
AND I'M SORRY THIS IS WHAT
BIOLOGY IS REALLY ABOUT,
GETTING DIRTY AND GETTING OUT
IN THE WORLD AND SEEING THE
ACTUAL PLANTS AND SPECIMENS
GROWING AND ESTABLISHING
A HABITAT.
>> PUT MY SWITCH GRASS PLANT IN!
PUT A LITTLE MORE
WATER IN THERE!
>> THEY ACTUALLY LEARN TO LOOK,
THEY LEARN TO THINK ABOUT IT.
>> THERE YA GO!
>> YOU BEGIN TO WORK ON THE
STEWARDSHIP OF IT THE WHOLE
VALUE THAT MAKES THEM THINK,
WOW THIS IS WORTH
MAINTAINING OR RESTORING.
>> SUMMERTIME IS A GREAT TIME
TO EXPLORE THE INSECT LIFE ON
A PRAIRIE, GO FOR IT,
THIS IS A GOOD SPOT!
AND SO WERE OUT HERE USING
SWEEP NETS TO CATCH INSECTS!
>> NOW HE'S STRUGGLING AGAIN!
>> THAT'S REALLY THE WAY THAT
THEY START TO GET EXCITED
ABOUT A PRAIRIE.
THAT'S CALLED A GREEN
LINKS SPIDER!
SHOWING THEM REAL LIVING
BREATHING THINGS AND GIVING THEM
REAL ADVENTURES IS THE WAY TO
CAPTURE THEIR HEARTS AS WELL
AS THEIR MINDS.
>> THESE ARE THE FUTURE
PRAIRIE PATRIOTS.
FOR THE COASTAL PRAIRIE THE
KIDS OF TODAY WILL BE THE
VOICE OF PRAIRIE PRESERVATION
TOMORROW.
>> IT'S IMPORTANT TO GET THE
KIDS OUT HERE BECAUSE IF THEY
DON'T UNDERSTAND THE SYSTEM NOW
HOW CAN WE EXPECT THEM TO BUY
OFF ON PROTECTING AND PRESERVING
THIS IN THE FUTURE.
>> AWESOME, DID YOU SEE THAT,
DID YOU SEE THAT!
>> ALL RIGHT YOU GUYS READY
TRAINS LEAVING THE STATION.
LET'S GO!
>> THIS IS THEIR FUTURE,
IF THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO
SEE TALL GRASS PRAIRIES THEN
THEY HAVE TO BE INVOLVED,
BECAUSE OTHERWISE IT'S
GOING TO ALL DISAPPEAR!
(Kids voices)