Good News: More Land Preserved on the Katy Prairie Northwest of Houston

Land Protected Near Cypress Creek

Katy Prairie Conservancy Acquires 636-acre Tract Off Pattison Road

January 15, 2020

By Shawn Arrajj, Community Impact

Officials with the Katy Prairie Conservancy announced Jan. 14 the organization has acquired 636 acres off Pattison Road in the heart of the Katy Prairie.

The conservancy is a nonprofit land trust that works to protect and restore prairie acreage by both acquiring land and working with area landowners through voluntary conservation easements. The KPC already owns about 18,000 acres in Harris and Waller counties that officials said serves as a home to hundreds of species of wildlife as well as native grasses and wildflowers.

The 636 acres, located east of Pattison Road between Hebert and Morrison roads, is located within a part of the prairie that KPC officials described as “of highest priority for conservation.”

“Protecting this area is of great urgency as these lands are heavily utilized by migratory birds such as the sandhill crane and the long-billed curlew,” officials said in a Jan. 14 press release. “If these lands are lost to development, birds will have nowhere to stop for the night and could disappear from Houston forever.”

Read the rest of this report in the Houston Cy-Fair Community Impact Newspaper.

 

The Katy Prairie Conservancy has acquired 636 acres of land referred to as the Pattison Tract. Image courtesy the Katy Prairie Conservancy and Community Impact Newspaper.

 

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

 

Jan. 12, 2020

Bats fishing. Boys and butterflies. Girls on glaciers.

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival, North America’s largest environmental film festival, returns to Houston’s historic River Oaks Theater Jan. 28 and 29.

The touring festival of short films is always exciting and enlightening, providing Houstonians with eye-opening insights into new places, new adventures, and new research and ideas.

The festival features ten short films, with different films shown each night from 7 to 9 p.m.

Here’s how to buy tickets.

The popular event is sponsored for the sixth straight year by the Citizens Environmental Coalition, founded almost fifty years ago by a group of women active in environmental causes and quality of life issues. Among them was Terry Hershey, who helped save Buffalo Bayou from being channelized and lined with concrete like White Oak and Brays bayous.

The festival was started almost forty years ago by activists in California determined to protect the South Yuba River. It is now the focus of nearly 250 events around the country.

Watch the 2020 film festival trailer.

 

Image from the Wild and Scenic Film Festival courtesy of CEC

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A Frosty Reception on Buffalo Bayou

The Bend in Winter

 

Jan. 12, 2020

The grass sparkled with a rare sugary frosting as we walked across the picnic grounds of Memorial Park towards the woods of Buffalo Bayou. It was late December. Jim Olive was in town, and we were headed to photograph that bend in the bayou we’d been documenting throughout the seasons for almost six years now.

The pale morning sun slanted through the trees, highlighting the field of frost. It was below average cold, starting out in the 30s. We’d had to look for mittens and woolly stuff.

Trails Not Trails. Laws Not Laws.

Whoops! What’s this? We stopped. Our path into the woods was blocked. Wire-fenced off and a big green sign posted in English and Spanish: “This is Not a trail. Do not enter! Destroying public property is a prohibited by Title 19, Chapter 191, of the Government Code of Texas.”

 

Sign and fence on an “unofficial” trail in Memorial Park, Dec. 19, 2019

 

Hmm. Well, it turns out this is Not a law either. More about that later.

To continue, we continued. The clanking, grinding sounds of heavy machinery rang through the wintry woods. Next we found that the soaring loblolly pine snag, long dead, had been cut down. It had been standing tall for years, slowly decaying, providing habitat and sustenance for wildlife. We counted the rings. At least 70-80 years old. The massive felled log lay across the trail that was Not a trail, blocking our path. The name “Jesus” carved into its side years ago was still faintly visible. We went around.

Read the rest of this post.