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2nd Annual Conservation Field Tour

Free Conservation Field Tour to Highlight Native Grass Restoration and Prescribed Burning in Bastrop County

When: Nov 18th, 2016

Time: Registration at 8:30, Program 9 am - noon

Location: Peach Creek Farm, 435 Peach Creek Road, Rosanky, TX78953.

 Bastrop, Texas, October 19, 2016—The Bastrop Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) invite landowners to attend the second annual Bastrop County Conservation Field Tour on November 18th.

This year’s field tour will highlight the native grassland restoration efforts of Dr. Gerald Baugh at his Rosanky property. “Interest in native prairie restoration is gaining steam as more landowners want to prioritize wildlife habitat or are looking for low-input alternatives to high maintenance introduced grasses like coastal bermudagrass,” said Hilary Bravenec, District Conservationist with the USDA NRCS.

Dr. Baugh was an early adopter in the native prairie movement, beginning his first restoration efforts by hand planting and seeding native grasses over 20 years ago. He renewed efforts in 2013 and has since planted nearly 100 acres to native tall grasses like little bluestem, indiangrass, big bluestem and switchgrass that once blanketed the Great Plains of the central United States, including this area of Texas. Now, some of the grass stands over 5’ tall, reminiscent of early pioneers’ claims of stirrup-high grass.

“Native prairie restoration is a noble goal, but unfortunately, it takes a lot more effort to restore it than to destroy it, especially after years of farming or the introduction of aggressive exotic species,” says Bravenec. “Native grass establishment requires planning, money, energy and luck, and it doesn’t happen overnight.” The field tour will go over the techniques that Dr. Baugh used as well as general information about native grass planting.

 Native prairies evolved under a regime of grazing, drought and fire. “Because fire has always been an essential part of the ecosystem, prescribed burning can be an extremely effective tool for restoring native prairies, improving plant and soil health, and reducing the risk of damaging wildfires,” says Jason Morris, NRCS Rangeland Management Specialist in Bastrop County. Dr. Baugh is planning a prescribed burn for this winter and the field tour will discuss burn planning and preparation to safely implement a prescribed burn.

 The tour will be held Friday, November 18th at Peach Creek Farm, 435 Peach Creek Road, Rosanky, TX. Registration will begin at 8:30 am and the tour will be from 9:00 am to noon. RSVP by Nov 16th at (512) 321-2489 ext. 3 or Attendance is free of charge and refreshments will be provided by the Bastrop County SWCD. The tour will include short walks over grass and uneven terrain. Please contact two weeks prior to the tour with any special needs for hearing or visually impaired.

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