Katy Prairie

Sandhill cranes are one of many bird species found on the Katy Prairie. With a ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program grant, the Katy Prairie Conservancy will be able to significantly improve habitat for bird populations, some of which are in decline. 

HOUSTON (Covering Katy News) – Katy Prairie Conservancy was one of nine organizations to receive a grant through the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program, a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, ConocoPhillips, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This program aims to support key efforts in restoring critical habitats for at-risk bird species and answering important questions about their migration routes.

Totaling $997,000, the grants will provide significant conservation benefit to migratory and resident birds and their habitats. The grant to Katy Prairie Conservancy is $94,630, to be used for “Enhancing Grassland Conservation for Wildlife Habitat” on the Katy Prairie.

With a goal of conserving and recovering populations of imperiled birds, the partnership supports work to improve the quality and connectivity of breeding, stopover and wintering habitats, and accelerate innovations for understanding bird population dynamics. The Katy Prairie, part of Texas’s coastal prairie, is already recognized as a Global Important Bird Area by Audubon and is a significant stopover zone in the Central Flyway for migratory birds.

“We are honored to receive this substantial grant through the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Progam that will continue the Conservancy’s important work in preserving, protecting, and improving prairie habitat for our bird populations,” says Wesley Newman, Conservation Director for Katy Prairie Conservancy. “The Katy Prairie is home to more than 300 bird species and has long been known as a birding hotspot among Gulf Coast birders and naturalists.”

The grant funds will allow KPC to create and enhance grassland habitat, augment landscape connectivity for wildlife migration, and ensure the health of the landscape by aiding with regional flood control on the Katy Prairie. The project will bring 200 acres under improved management and restore 145 acres of grassland to benefit multiple declining bird species of concern.

Just west of Houston, KPC’s preserve system of nearly 18,000 acres is a protected haven of tall-grass prairies, ranch lands, farmlands, wetlands, forests, and riparian zones. This variety provides vital habitat for a highly diverse group of birds, including numerous grassland species such as long-billed curlew, Henslow’s sparrow and Northern bobwhite — plus raptors, water birds, and other upland species.

For more information about the Katy Prairie Conservancy and how to get involved, please visit www.katyprairie.org.

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