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Native Habitat Restoration in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas Tony Falk 1 , Dr. Timothy E. Fulbright 1 , Forrest S. Smith 2 , Dr. Alfonso Ortega-Santos 1 , &Steve Benn 3. Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M Kingsville, Kingsville, TX 78363

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Native Habitat Restoration in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas Tony Falk1,Dr. Timothy E. Fulbright1, Forrest S. Smith2, Dr. Alfonso Ortega-Santos1, &Steve Benn3

Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M Kingsville, Kingsville, TX 78363

South Texas Natives, Kingsville, TX 78363

Texas Parks and Wildlife, Weslaco, TX 78596

introduction
Introduction
  • Less than 1% of the native prairie left(McGraw, J. B. 1987)
  • Restoration has been going on since the early 1900’s
  • Means of restoration
    • Allowing to go fallow
    • Addition of seed
  • Little work done in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas
introduction1
Introduction
  • 3 reasons restoration has been unsuccessful in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas
  • No Native seed bank(Holl, K. D. et al. 2000)
    • Changes in disturbance regimes
    • Agricultural production
  • No locally adapted native seed (McGraw, J. B. 1987)
  • Many different Non-native Species to compete with (Masters, R. A. et al. 1996)
goals
Goals
  • Establish a diverse native prairie that would be resistant to invasion from non-native species
  • Increase the species diversity of the area
site description
Site Description
  • Temperature averages 23 C
  • 65 cm rain annually however highly variable
  • Harlingen Clay
  • South Texas Plains ecoregion
  • Previously managed for White wing dove and Bobwhite quail
treatments
Treatments
  • Control
    • Nothing done
treatments1
Treatments
  • Control
    • Nothing done
  • Prepared
    • trees removed, mowed, disked, moldboard plowed, disked, leveled
treatments2
Treatments
  • Control
    • Nothing done
  • Prepared
    • trees removed, mowed, disked, moldboard plowed, disked, leveled
  • Prepared and seeded
    • trees removed, mowed, disked, moldboard plowed, disked, leveled, seeded with a Truax™ seed drill and a tube spreader
seed mix
Seed mix
  • Seed mix made up of 31 locally adapted
    • Seeded according to NRCS rangeland guidelines
  • 8:2 ratio of grasses to forbs
  • Even distribution of succesional groups
  • Developed to completely repopulate seed bank
  • All land preparation and seeding was completed in March 2008
statistical analysis
Statistical Analysis
  • Analyzed using repeated measures analysis SAS 9.1
  • α ≤0.05
  • Independent variable
    • Treatment
  • Dependent variable
    • Cover
results
Results
  • Establishment of 83% planted species
  • Several species have increased
    • Slender Grama (Bouteloua repens)
    • Plain Bristle Grass (Setaria spp.)
  • Establishment of several species that were ≤1% of the seed mix
discussion
discussion
  • Without seed any disturbance will end up as a non-native community
  • Little native seed bank (Smith Forrest 2009)
    • Nothing left to fill the void
    • Can not compete
  • Creates simplified plant community (Randall, J. M. 1996)
discussion1
Discussion
  • Planting a diverse mix of native species prevents non-native species from establishing (Blumenthal, et al. 2003)
  • A diverse mix competes with non-natives
    • Provides good early competition
    • Provides year round competition
    • Potentially fills all available niches (Bakker, J. and S. Wilson 2004)
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Are able to establish natives
  • Increase the species diversity of an area through seeding
  • Able to reduce the spread of non-natives through the addition of seed
  • This project fits into NRCS programs
    • WHIP, CRP, GRP
for the future
For The Future
  • Continued monitoring of this project (Fulbright, T. et al. 2006)
  • Adding management (Wilson, S. D. and M. Pärtel 2003)
    • Herbicide
    • Grazing
    • Burning
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • South Texas Natives
  • Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Center
  • South Texas Chapter Quail Unlimited
  • Coauthors and committee members
  • Everyone that helped with data collection
works citied
Works Citied
  • Bakker, J. and S. Wilson (2004). "Using ecological restoration to constrain biological invasion." Journal of applied Ecology.
  • Blumenthal, D., N. Jordan, et al. (2003). "Weed control as a rationale for restoration: the example of tallgrass prairie." Conservation Ecology 7(1): 6.
  • Fulbright, T. E., J. A. Ortega-Santos, et al. (2006). "Establishing Vegetation on Migrating Inland Sand Dunes in Texas." Rangeland Ecology & Management 59(5): 549-556.
  • Haase, R. (1990). "Community Composition and Soil Properties in Northern Bolivian Savanna Vegetation." Journal of Vegetation Science 1(3): 345-352.
  • Holl, K. D., H. N. Steele, et al. (2000). "Seed Banks of Maritime Chaparral and Abandoned Roads: Potential for Vegetation Recovery." Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 127(3): 207-220.
  • Masters, R. A., S. J. Nissen, et al. (1996). "Imidazolinone Herbicides Improve Restoration of Great Plains Grasslands." Weed Technology 10(2): 392-403.
  • McGraw, J. B. (1987). "Experimental Ecology of Dryas octopetala Ecotypes. IV. Fitness Response to Reciprocal Transplanting in Ecotypes with Differing Plasticity." Oecologia 73(3): 465-468.
  • Simmons, M. T., S. Windhager, et al. (2007). "Selective and Non-Selective Control of Invasive Plants: The Short-Term Effects of Growing-Season Prescribed Fire, Herbicide, and Mowing in Two Texas Prairies." Restoration Ecology 15(4): 662-669.
  • Smith, Forrest. Coordinator South Texas Natives. Personal communication 6/2009.
  • Randall, J. M. (1996). "Weed Control for the Preservation of Biological Diversity." Weed Science Society of America 10: 370-383.
  • Wilson, S. D. and M. Pärtel (2003). "Extirpation or Coexistence? Management of a Persistent Introduced Grass in a Prairie Restoration." Restoration Ecology 11(4): 410.