Clear Lake - Ecological Services
Southwest Region
"Conserving the Nature of America"

Last updated: May 8, 2012

Coastal Prairie

Texas Coastal Prairie

Texas Coastal Prairie in Brazoria County ( Photo by David Rosen)

The Coastal Prairies of the Texas coast once spanned from Kenedy County, north to the Louisiana border and comprised over 6.5 million acres. Today, it estimated that less than 65,000 acres remain, and the remnant tracts are rapidly being degraded or destroyed. These vast and open grasslands made quite an impression on early European settlers:

"After passing through the forest, I had my first view of a Texas prairie. An unbroken, level, grassy plain extended for miles before us, on which a few islands of trees and shrubs were scattered in irregular order"

  • Dr. Ferdinand Roemer, somewhere near Houston Texas, January 1846. From Roemer's Texas.

Indeed, Dr. Roemer’s words upon his departure from Texas were prophetic:

"During my stay [in Texas] of more than a year, I have developed interest and love for the beautiful land of meadows which faces a bright future ... May its wide, green prairies become the home of a large and happy population"

Others spoke of prairie vistas that are hard for us to imagine today:

"The next day [leaving Lynchburg] going east we traversed a broad and beautiful prairie, where we could perceive no sign of a path, and where for miles there was not a tree to be seen, unless at a great distance"

  • Unknown traveler, 1831. From The Explorers' Texas; The lands and waters.

Staff with the Clear Lake Ecological Services Field Office are currently involved in forming partnerships with other resource agencies and private interests aimed at conserving the last, large remaining tracts of Coastal Prairie. We are also collaborating with the Texas Nature Conservancy on plant species inventories of several large, pristine coastal prairie remnants.

To learn more about coastal prairie visit The Katy Prairie Conservancy.   

Coreopsis and Mimosa Flowers (Photo by David Rosen)
Coreopsis and Mimosa Flowers
(Photo by David Rosen)


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