Katy Prairie Conservancy recognized as Global important bird area
More than 300 species of birds live on protected KPC Lands
Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC) diverse preserve system – home to more than 300 different types of birds – has earned designation as a Global Important Bird Area (IBA).
Long known as a birding hotspot among Gulf Coast birders and naturalists, Katy Prairie Conservancy’s 20,000 acres of protected lands are home to several species of global conservation concern.
Just outside our nation’s fourth largest city, KPC’s preserve system is a protected haven of tallgrass prairies, ranchlands, 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.
“Designation of KPC lands as a Global IBA is scientific recognition of how important our lands are as habitat for birds and other wildlife,” explained Bob Honig, Secretary of KPC’s Board of Directors. “It puts KPC on the map as an important contributor to global bird conservation.” Conservation efforts at IBAs will allow land stewards such as KPC to enhance biodiversity and mitigate the effects that habitat loss and degradation have on birds and other species.
A longtime KPC goal, the achievement required a concerted effort from both Conservancy staff and volunteers. Data gathered on KPC’s lands from the annual Christmas Bird Count, eBird and personal birding records of volunteers were used in this community effort to document the importance of these lands and ultimately elevate the preserve system to Global IBA status.
In the United States the National Audubon Society administers the IBA program which “recognizes that coupled with global warming, habitat loss and fragmentation are the most serious threats facing populations of birds across America and around the world.” Audubon Texas, Director of Conservation, Iliana Peña added, “The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a shining example of how local grassroots conservation efforts support conservation on a global scale. Their work ensures that struggling grassland species continue to find critical habitat along their migration route even amid an ever expanding urban footprint.”
The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all. For more information on KPC’s mission to save the Katy Prairie, visit katyprairie.org or call 713-523-6135.
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