Archive for the ‘wetland restoration’ Category

0815130934-01 DSCN0005

During my junior year Field Biology course at the University, I had my first introduction to a basic tenet: field biology isn’t always pretty (or comfortable or clean or fun) but it will always have a purpose.  Each friday this summer, I am reminded of that tenet, and smile under rumpled straw hat, now partially colored from marker dye.

We (Cullen, myself, willing Team members and Kelly, the Park Natural Resource Ranger) have made a commitment to treating vaseygrass in the restoration areas. While I never expected to be pleased by something dying, I find myself feeling vindicated and pleased by our eradication efforts.  Vasey Grass or vaseygrass, Paspalum urvillei (http://www.texasinvasives.org/) is a South American perennial grass which was accidentally introduced near New Orleans in 1883 per the USDA 1925 Farmers Bulletin (http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1769/m1/26/). At that time, Vasey grass was considered an important secondary forage species in pastureland partially because it had spread and established well in the region, and it has a remarkable “ability to grow in wet land and survive severe drought.”  However, now this noxious bunch grass presents a serious threat to pastures and conservation lands alike, as evidenced by studies identifying appropriate management techniques to control vaseygrass (https://www.crops.org/publications/cs/abstracts/45/5/2038).

For all the reasons cited above, we have made our summer mission to eradicate what we can of this weed—given that the wetlands are dry and we can easily access all areas. To date, we have completed our treatment for all 48 acres of Phase 3, and we are currently planning our “attack” of Phase 2.  So, when the straps of the backpack sprayers bite into my shoulders, I remember that the work is what matters and keep going.  We have more acres (over 70) left to treat and thankfully we have a new 45-gallon sprayer tank fitted with two nozzles to assist our mission. I personally am looking forward to the continued eradication and am equally hopeful of its success.

(The pictures above are of Cullen Ondracek, giving the vaseygrass the evil eye during a reconn, and on a different day, spraying with herbicide)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (1925). Farmers Bulletin 1433: “Cultivated grasses of Secondary Importance”. Washington DC. U.S. Department of Agriculutre. (pg: 22-26).

Newman, Y.C. and L. E. Sollenberger. (2005) “Grazing Management and Nitrogen fertilization effects on Vaseygrass persistence in limpograss pasturelands.” Crop Science, 45(5), 2038-2043.

Read Full Post »



We invite anyone with an interest in restoring or recreating freshwater wetlands to join us October 18, 10am to 3pm, for a Wetland Field Day. The event will be held at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s regional offices on 14200 Garrett Rd at Sheldon Lake State Park in northeast Harris County.

The Field Day will showcase the project with morning presentations from TCWP and others closely involved in the restoration, followed by a visit to the wetlands in the afternoon.  The Sheldon Lake prairie wetland represents a new and unique approach to restoration, combining modern mapping and geo-positioning with traditional methods for restoring freshwater wetland systems. The Field Day is an opportunity to explore this technique with the developers and see the results on site in thriving freshwater wetlands.

The event is free and lunch will be provided, but reservations are required. For more information, see http://agrilife.org/urbannature/sheldon-lake-prairie-wetland-restoration-project/or contact Marissa Sipocz at 281-450-9674 or m-sipocz@tamu.edu

Read Full Post »


Learn about the work of the Wetland Restoration Team and receive basic plant identification training which will aid in your participation with the Team.  The course runs 5 weeks in August, 9-12am every Wednesday, at Sheldon Lake State Park in northeast Harris County. A different plant family– wetland grasses, rushes, sedges, and Sagittaria– will be the focus of each week, plus an introduction to our wetland restoration efforts of the past five years, current projects, and future projects.

For Texas Master Naturalists, the classes count toward advance training, even if the course has been taken previously.  Volunteer hours will also be received for participation in Team workdays.

Due to the popularity of the course and the limitation of the classroom size, the class is limited to 24 students.  You must register with Marissa Sipocz (m-sipocz@tamu.edu) by July 25, 2010 and receive a confirmation email to reserve a spot in the course. The fee for this course is $20. For more information on the course, including a carpool from our Clear Lake office, please see the online flyer.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts