texas coastal prairie
Draining the wetlands, saving the native prairies
by Sue Mayfield Geiger

Flocks of herons, egrets, and pink-feathered roseate spoonbills
are gone. The bullfrogs and dragonflies have disappeared.

Coded gates front a mass of affluent subdivisions with tony
names—the entrance to perfectly manicured lawns and mega mansions.

The U.S. government was supposed to protect the wetlands
But savvy developers found a way around it.

According to history, the clay soil once formed a bed of a well-known
river here—a river that 30,000 years ago left flourishing marshes.

Hundreds of acres are now home to massive concrete streets, brick and
mortar, stucco: pristine landscapes maintained by lawn service      companies

add to the noise pollution replacing the hum of the bees, chirping of      songbirds.
Nary a sight of a soaring red-tailed hawk or bald eagle

and no sign of the blue Swallowtails that once pollenated the purple corn
flowers searching in vain for a patch of prairie.

Yet, behold! Several miles down the road, one of the most endangered      ecosystems,
containing 51-acres of tallgrass prairie, is now home to 300 native      species of plants and animals.

Pocket gophers, three-toed box turtles, Eastern meadowlarks,
     black-bellied tree ducks, red-
winged blackbirds, black-shouldered kite, and many more are thriving.

Spared from a 250-home subdivision, just hours before deadline, a land      conservancy raised
enough money to buy the land.

PHOTO: Native coastal prairie preserve in Brazoria County, Texas. Photo by Pinke.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Less than one percent of the original nine million acres of coastal prairie of Texas and Louisiana remains. Yet, with organizations like the Native Prairies Association of Texas and their volunteers, more than 5,000 acres of native Texas prairie, including 1,340 acres of endangered tallgrass prairie, have been saved.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue Mayfield Geiger is a writer, singer, and model living on the Texas Gulf Coast. When not writing about home décor, fashion, or a new restaurant opening, she reads and writes poetry. Her literary publications include Grayson Books, RiverLit, Dos Gatos Press, The Binnacle (U of Maine), Of Burgers and Barrooms (Main Street Rag), Red Wolf Journal, Waco WordFest Anthology, Perfume River Poetry, THEMA, Silver Birch PressPoetry and Places, and most recently Odes and Elegies: Eco poetry from the Gulf Coast, available on Amazon. Visit her on Instagram @LovieSue and @Beyond70ish or smgwriter.com.