The East Texas Natural History Collection
The East Texas Natural History Collection

The Powderhorn Ranch

Robert J. "Bob" Nuelle, Jr. Robert J. "Bob" Nuelle, Jr. published this about 1 month ago

We are fortunate to have recently gained access to this amazing tract of land in Calhoun County Texas - called the Powderhorn Ranch. Through our association with Petra Hockey and Brush Freeman (longtime Calhoun County residents and the earliest folks to have talked about this moth) we have been introduced to John Karges - Associate Director of Field Science for The Nature Conservancy - LINK.

John has been instrumental in helping us gain access and has personally guided us on several trips to he ranch. We are deeply grateful -- access equals opportunity.

The Ranch:

Quoting from The Nature Conservatory website: LINK 
The Sand Castle Pond - on the Powderhorn Ranch

"Just off a quiet stretch of highway in Calhoun County, beyond a nondescript metal gate, lies a 17,000-acre mosaic of dense live oak forests, coastal prairies, salt marshes and wetlands. This tract, known as Powderhorn Ranch, is one of the largest remaining undisturbed tracts of native coastal prairie habitat left in Texas—and likely the largest conservation deal in the history of Texas.

Crucial Habitat Protection
Secured by a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and The Conservation Fund, it offerssweeping, unobstructed views of tallgrass prairies and marshland and 11 miles of tidal bay front that protect vitally important seagrass beds and mollusk reefs. Its environmental significance cannot be overstated. Federally endangered whooping cranes currently winter just 15-30 miles south of Powderhorn. With the number of wild whoopers expanding, the ranch will undoubtedly become a critical habitat for whooping cranes in the coming years.

Powderhorn's saltwater wetlands also offer important, year-round habitat for shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl. Elsewhere, extensive woodlands and freshwater wetlands provide critically important "fall-out areas" for migrating songbirds, particularly during spring migration when, exhausted from their flights across or around the Gulf of Mexico, birds use these areas to rest and refuel. The Conservancy plans to conduct extensive wildlife and plant surveys on the ranch, which will undoubtedly become a haven for bird watchers, as well as people interested in fishing, kayaking and canoeing.

Distinctive by Design
The ranch also includes a unique geologic formation called the Ingleside Barrier, which supports unique plant life such as the seacoast bluestem and Texas coastal bend live oak. And it enjoys several miles of Matagorda Bay frontage—the bays and flats along that shoreline are important nurseries for a variety of fish and shellfish, including brown shrimp, redfish, spotted sea trout and blue crab.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation funded a significant portion of this at-scale conservation project using fine money resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has played a lead role in securing that funding, and will continue to raise money to support habitat restoration and management and create a long-term endowment. As the easement-holder, the Conservancy will play a key role in restoring areas that have been overgrazed or over-run with invasive species. Full ownership of Powderhorn, which is slated to become a state park, will eventually be turned over to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "


The Powderhorn Ranch prairie lowlands surrounded by "running Oak" mottes and a large stand of Live Oak in the background.

Close-up view of the "running oak" mottes. These cover a large percentage of the property alternating with prairie areas. There are even beautiful salt marshes near Powderhorn Lake.


Aerial View of the Ranch (courtesy of Google Maps):


This is the wonderful habitat that we are working hard to understand. Someday it will be open to the public and we hope you can come down and see our moth and its magnificent environment in all its glory.



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Breaking News:

ETNHC and International Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies Announce Partnership


The East Texas Natural History Collection is proud to be the first North American Host and partner with the International Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies. The Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies  is a peer reviewed international Open Access Journal which is abstracted in various reputed databases. The Journal provides a platform with the aim of motivating students and personnel in all fields of Zoology.

The Journal publishes review and research articles in all fields of Zoology.

See Further details here:       In Print

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