Section Awards

Outstanding Achievement
2009 Recipient:  Coastal Prairie Conservation Initiative


The Coastal Prairie Conservation Initiative is a collaboration of private landowners, conservation organizations and government agencies with shared vision. This area encompasses over 600,000 acres in Refugio, Goliad, Aransas and Calhoun counties. Nearly all of this acreage is privately owned and actively engaged in cattle ranching.

No one person, no one agency or group has the horsepower to accomplish such large scale prairie restoration. But, by forging partnerships and sharing the load, the CPCI has made strong headway in accomplishing their goal.

The groups involved in this initiative include: The Nature Conservancy, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, NRCS, private consultants, and of course, private landowners.

The initiative began its work with extensive efforts to inform and educate landowners about the benefits of prairie restoration, how prairie restoration can be accomplished, and the assistance that is available.

The results have been impressive. To date, over 128,000 acres are under formal conservation agreements, which represents about 20% of the prairie. These plans generally include sustainable grazing management, brush control, prescribed burning, as well as infrastructure practices such as fencing and water development. A combination of technical and financial assistance is offered to cooperating ranchers to help them accomplish what is needed.

The re-introduction of fire is a major emphasis of the initiative. The Nature Conservancy Fire Crew has invested extra effort to train ranchers, VFD's and the Coastal Bend Prescribed Burning Association.

With the aggressive application of brush management, prescribed burning and grazing management, the process of restoration is taking place. Big bluestem, Indiangrass, Switchgrass, Florida paspalum, little bluestem begin to re-establish along with prairie forbs. As prairies are restored, willing landowners have the opportunity to work with USFWS for the release of captive reared APC. So far, about 300 prairie chickens have been released into restored prairie areas.

The CPCI is a resounding success story and the TSSRM wishes to recognize you with this Outstanding Achievement Award.

Stephen Diebel, rancher and Chairman, Coastal Prairie Coalition of GLCI
Wade Harrell and Ray Guse, The Nature Conservancy
John DeLeon and Tim Anderson, USFWS
Brent Ortego, TPWD
Mark Moseley and Tim Reinke, NRCS and GLCI
Clifford Carter, Private Consultant


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