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Native Habitat Restoration In The Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Anthony D. Falk *Masters candidate, Texas A&M University Kingsville, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Kingsville, TX. 78363

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native habitat restoration in the lower rio grande valley texas

Native Habitat Restoration In The Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Anthony D. Falk *Masters candidate, Texas A&M University Kingsville, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Kingsville, TX. 78363

Forrest Smith Coordinator, South Texas Natives, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Kingsville, TX. 78363 

Timothy Fulbright Regents Professor, Texas A&M University Kingsville, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Kingsville, TX. 78363

Stephen Benn Urban Biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife 154B Lakeview Dr. Weslaco, TX. 78596

introduction
Introduction
  • Millions of acres lost to non-native species annually
    • Detrimental to wildlife
  • With the costs of productive wildlife habitat ↑ there is an ↑ in the need for restoration
slide3
Goal
  • Planting a diverse mix of locally adapted native species would produce a native prairie
    • Prevent invasion from non-native species
  • Areas that were seeded would have higher species diversity and more suitable bunch grass clumps for nesting
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
  • agricultural production
methods
Methods
  • 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
vegetation sampling
Vegetation Sampling
  • 20 cm X 50 cm frame
  • 1m belted transects
  • Estimate suitable bunch grass clumps
  • ≥25.4cm x ≥25.4cm
statistical analysis
Statistical Analysis
  • Experiment is a Randomized Complete block design with 4 blocks
  • Analyzed using repeated measures analysis SAS 9.1
  • α ≤0.05
  • Independent variable
    • Treatment and Time
  • 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
results1
Results
  • Mean of 3,457suitable bunchgrass clumps/ha in seeded treatments
  • 0 in control and prepared treatments
discussion
Discussion
  • Without seed any disturbance will end up as a non-native community
  • Little native seed bank
    • Nothing left to fill the void
    • Can not compete
  • Creates simplified plant community
discussion1
Discussion
  • Planting a diverse mix of native species prevents non-native species from establishing
  • A diverse mix competes with non-natives
    • Provides good early competition
    • Provides year round competition
    • Potentially fills all available
slide17

Falls within the published limits for quality nesting habitat

    • ≥730 nest clumps/ha
  • Prepared and controls treatments have higher non-native species cover
  • Only one part of the quail equation
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Are able to get native species established
  • Increase the species richness
  • Planting appears to prevent invasion
  • Able to produce suitable nesting habitat
for the future
For The Future
  • Continued monitoring of this project
  • Adding management
    • Herbicide
    • Grazing
    • Burning
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • South Texas Natives
  • South Texas Chapter Quail Unlimited
  • Everyone that helped with data collection
  • Coauthors and committee members