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UH Coastal Center

Home of the Texas Institute for Coastal Prairie Research and Education

2024 Coastal Prairies Restoration Practitioners Forum

April 17–18, 2024
Anahuac, Texas

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Program Overview

The University of Houston Coastal Center and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are co-hosting the third annual Coastal Prairies Restoration Practitioners Forum on April 17–18, 2024, in Anahuac, Texas. After the successful 2023 forum in Goliad — highlighted by the dancing Attwater’s prairie chicken — we are moving to the eastern Texas Gulf Coast Prairie. However, we will be addressing topics that will apply to any practitioner in the coastal prairie universe.

Fort Anahuac Park The lengths of the sessions are structured to allow presenters time for an in-depth discussion with attendees in the auditorium and in the field. The topics are chosen to be useful to decision-makers who are working to restore coastal prairie ecosystems.

All indoor presentations will be at the American Legion Hall in Anahuac, Texas, located at 1704 S. Main St. There will be two field site visits:

Registration will be capped at 50 people so we can ensure successful interaction between presenters, attendees, and to facilitate effective field tours.

Meeting Location

Indoor sessions will be held at the Anahuac American Legion Hall (see map here) located in Fort Anahuac Park in Anahuac, TX. The street address is 1704 S. Main St, Anahuac, TX 77514, south of Interstate 10 and east of the Trinity River. Take Exit 810 from I-10 and turn south onto FM 563. Follow FM 563 about 6 miles into Anahuac. Then turn west onto Miller Street/SH 61 and continue to S. Main, where you will turn south. The American Legion Hall will be about a mile away facing the road. Look for the Howitzer artillery landmark in front of the building. Although there is limited parking in front of the American Legion Hall, there is plenty immediately across the street south of the building next to the playing fields.

Detailed directions for the field visits will be sent to registrants and will also be available at the American Legion Hall, from which both site visits will depart.


Although hotel and lodging accommodations are limited in Anahuac, the nearby town of Winnie (18–20 miles) has numerous hotel options. Options include:

Please read hotel reviews carefully as your experience or acceptable facilities may vary by location. We encourage all attendees to book hotel rooms as soon as possible because lodging demand can suddenly increase during the mid-April time frame as bird migration goes into full swing. Each hotel contacted mentioned they can sell out quickly if a “fallout” event is reported, and prices rise to max rates as a result. Please be mindful of that and book as soon as you can confirm your availability for attendance.


The registration fee of $50.00/person includes registration for both days of the forum, field site visits, Wednesday social and dinner, Thursday lunch, and break refreshments.

Register Now

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Day 1 at American Legion Hall in Anahuac, TX and Site Visit to J.J. Mayes Wildlife Trace at Wallisville Lake Project

11:00 AM–NOON
REGISTRATION and Beverages and Snacks
Attendees can bring lunch and eat overlooking the bay.

First Session

NOON–1:00 PM
Soil Carbon Measurement and Monitoring as a Tool of Restoration Progress
Matt Stahmann, Ry Thompson, and Hunter Thompson of Resource Environmental Solutions

1:00–2:00 PM
The Strengths and Shortcomings of Floral Quality in Prairie Ecology
Larry Allain, Plant Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey (Retired), Lafayette, LA
(Presentation is preparatory to Thursday afternoon Floristic Quality Assessment field exercise.)

2:00–2:15 PM
No-Cost Restoration and Ag Advisory Assistance to Landowners
Schyler Rhea, Conservationist, Wildlife Habitat Federation

2:15–2:30 PM
BREAK for Refreshments

Second Session

2:30–3:30 PM
Candy Abshier WMA Coastal Prairie Restoration Case Study
Phillip Pauling, Wildlife Biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

3:30–4:30 PM
Challenges of Managing a Wetlands and Coastal Prairie Matrix
Andrew Sipocz, Regional Natural Resources Coordinator, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

4:30–5:00 PM
Running Off McCartney Rose
Trey Barron, Wildlife Diversity Biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Dinner & Tour

5:00–6:00 PM
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo or Salad, Chicken-Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Toast, Dessert, Tea
(A Vegetarian option can be selected during registration.)

6:00 PM
Departure and Site Visit to J.J. Mayes Wildlife Trace at the Wallisville Lake Project

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Day 2 at American Legion Hall in Anahuac, TX and Visit to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge Pintail Unit Restoration Site

First Session

8:00–8:30 AM
REGISTRATION and Coffee, Juice, and Pastries

8:30–9:30 AM
Consequences of Changing the Grazing Protocols at Chocolate Bayou Coastal Prairie in Brazoria County
Ricci Simmons, Conservation Stewardship Manager, Galveston Bay Foundation

9:30–10:30 AM
Using Drone Technology to Assist Coastal Prairie Restoration
Dr. Humberto Perotto, Associate Professor, Department of Rangeland, Wildlife, and Fisheries Management, Texas A&M University

10:30–10:45 AM
BREAK for Refreshments

Second Session

10:45–11:45 AM
Road to Restoration at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
Kristin Fritz, Anahuac NWR Refuge Manager

11:45 AM–NOON
Closing Remarks and Wrap-Up

Sandwich Lunch and Leave for Site Visit to Pintail Unit of Anahuac NWR
Guided by Kristin Fritz, Refuge Manager
Field exercise led by Larry Allain and Jason Singhurst to calculate Floristic Quality Index using Coefficients of Conservatism

Hosted by the University of Houston Coastal Center (Evelyn L. Merz) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (Tim Siegmund)


If you have questions about the 2024 Coastal Prairie Restoration Practitioners Forum, please contact either of the organizers below:

Evelyn L. Merz
Program Director
UH Coastal Center

Tim Siegmund
Private Lands Program Leader
TPWD - Wildlife Division