Monday, September 26, 2011

Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Project Receives a Grant from TogetherGreen

The Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Project has received another grant which results in complete funding of the budget for the native prairie restoration project which will bring the central tract of Commons Ford Park back to its former tall grass glory. The grant is from TogetherGreen, a joint venture between the National Audubon Society and Toyota. The Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Organization was awarded a grant of $15,000 which will be used to pay a portion of the seed costs. Initial planting is scheduled for the winter of 2011/2012.

TogetherGreen was launched in 2008 in order to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders, and offer volunteer opportunities that will significantly benefit the environment. The Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Organization is involved in this project with numerous partners including Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Native Prairies Association of Texas, Austin Parks Foundation and Travis Audubon Society. The grant is awarded in recognition of the long-term beneficial effects which the restoration will have on endangered and threatened grassland bird species.

Recently, Stu Wilson, long time Travis Audubon Society member and active birder, as well as co-founder of the Organization, attended the Innovation Grants Training Workshop at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Conference topics included how to keep a project well funded and ways in which to evaluate the success of the project. We are happy to announce that our project seems to be right on track!

Now that the funds are secured, it is time to get down and dirty (quite literally) with the prairie restoration process. The first herbicide treatment of the invasive grasses was done in July. Before planting can commence, we will apply one more herbicide treatment and disc the 40 acre tract in order to break up the sod and destroy any remaining invasive roots.

Thanks so much to TogetherGreen, National Audubon, and Toyota for this grant. Without the generosity of organizations like this, our dreams of restoring Commons Ford Prairie would be much harder, even impossible, to achieve.

To find out more about TogetherGreen, visit them at their website.