Archive for the ‘native plants’ Category


Smiles from Jerry Dollinger of the Gulf Coast chapter, Chris Kneupper of the Cradle of Texas chapter, and Ray Rottman and Nancy Saint of the Galveston Bay Area chapter of Texas Master Naturalists light up a cloudy summer day.

The wetland plant nursery at Exploration Green conservation area is up and running! We held our first volunteer morning on Thursday, September 4, with the able assistance of the Texas Master Naturalists. We loved the cooler overcast weather, even if it meant waiting out a 20 minute tropical downpour. About a hundred sprigs each of Maidencane (Panicum hemitomon)and Marsh hay cordgrass (Spartina patens) were potted up and added to the nursery ponds you can see in the background here.

The nursery will provide plants for the stormwater-cleansing wetlands planned for Exploration Green. These stormwater wetlands will be a model for naturally managing water pollution in our region.
Thursday mornings in the nursery will be a regular event and will be open to all interested volunteers in October. Contact Mary Carol Edwards for more information.

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The stormwater wetland at Exploration Green in Clear Lake City will require about 30,000 native plants for the park’s first phase. Fortunately, we can grow our own! For that, we need a nursery. Here are some views of the wetland plant nursery as it is being built.


Framing out the tanks. There are ten total, and each tank will have three compartments.



A bed of sand in each tank keeps the bottoms level.



The heavy duty pond liners are going in today.

Although excavation for the lake in Phase 1 hasn’t started yet, the planning has been in full swing for months.  We’ll be collecting and growing plants in the nursery so that all the plants have been propagated and grown by the time we need them.

Watch for an invitation to the Open House when the wetland nursery is complete in August!

For more on Exploration Green park, check out the website.


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Texas floating wetland planting

We’ve got a second video on the floating wetlands project, just released by the Communications Department at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

All our projects should get such great media coverage! Enjoy.



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A video about the floating wetlands project at Clear Creek I.S.D’s Education Village in League City arrived today! See it now.

It shows very well what enthusiasm the students, teachers, and volunteers have for developing a natural environment on campus, especially if it means trying something really new–like floating wetlands. The video was created by Kirk Swann, Janice Scott, and the folks in the CCISD Office of Communications. Thanks ya’ll!

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During any or all of our vegetation monitoring cycles, I always look for something new in the ponds.  Mostly, I do this because it is not a given that I will get a complete picture of the plant community in any of the “transect” points.  So, it behooves me to look around at the surrounding areas when we are tallying up each sample plot.  This last cycle reminded me of the blessed nature of natural “recruits”—in this case, Leersia hexandra or commonly called:  southern cutgrass.


All the lovely short green stuff in the foreground is Southern cutgrass.


The seedhead on the Leersia hexandra plant is a good giveaway as to its identity.

Phase 1 was my first introduction to the colonization potential of Leersia.  We never planted a single sprig of Leersia in  these ponds—well, never intentionally planted.  It came in with other wetland plants and proceeded to stake out its zone—the 0-3” range.  At these shallow depths, the single surviving transplants eventually multiplied and established a clear zone of vegetation.  What made this more remarkable was that the establishment of this hardy native meant the aggressive exotics (e.g. Deep rooted sedge) were thwarted.  (Get ‘er done, Leersia!!!)

Needless to say, after observing this community dynamic, I incorporated Leersia actively into Phase 2 and 3 of the wetland restoration at Sheldon Lake SP.  And will continue to use it (and its cousins like Panicum dichotoflorum) in future phases of the project and other similar projects. But for now, I was happy to see it proliferating on the inside edge of pond 11.

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