The University of Houston Coastal Center is home of the Texas Institute for Coastal Prairie Research and Education; a 925-acre facility located in La Marque, TX. Evelyn L. Merz, who previously served as a volunteer, has been the program director of the UH Coastal Center since October 2019. Their habitat restoration work at UHCC is ongoing and long-term. They’re restoring and maintaining native coastal tallgrass coastal prairies through the reduction of invasive plant species. They use a combination of mowing, herbicide treatment, and prescription burning for control.
On October 7, the fire crews did an all-day prescribed burn of coarse woody mulch that was generated by the physical removal of dense thicket growing along the edge of the Aumann Prairie. There were 10 volunteers from the La Marque and Hitchcock Fire Department, and two volunteers from the Galveston Bay Area Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists. The burn will hasten the decomposition of the woody mulch and help reduce re-sprouting of invasive species. All work is done at the La Marque UHCC. Work with hand tools and herbicide are done at various locations within the 925 acres. So far, prescription burning has been on the 100-acre Aumann Prairie, our best example of coastal tallgrass prairie. The Houston ToolBank supplied the 8 x 8 shade tent we used to organize breakfast and lunch for the fire crew. This event was a complete success. Thank you Houston ToolBank!