Katy Prairie Conservancy Strategic Conservation Prioritization

Siglo Group was commissioned by the Katy Prairie Conservancy to support their mission of protecting a sustainable portion of the Katy Prairie for the benefit of its wildlife and all Texans forever. To meet this goal, Siglo Group conducted an analysis and stakeholder engagement to identify conservation priorities in the Katy Prairie associated with water, ecological, and cultural resources through the use of geographic information systems.

The study assessed 454,196 acres on the western edge of the Houston Metropolitan Area. Building on best conservation planning practices, including those used in other areas such as the San Antonio Edwards Aquifer Protection Program, the conservation planning process for this project was designed to identify the unique threats and conservation resources of the study area, while incorporating the needs and desires of KPC management and stakeholders. Stakeholders participated in two working meetings and a final docement review. The initial meeting introduced stakeholders to the process and allowed for their input on conservation resources to be used in the planning process. The second meeting showed the outcomes of different conservation resource configurations and gathered input on preferred conservation areas from stakeholders. KPC staff participated in all aspects of the project and gave direction on the process at all key stages. KPC requested four final conservation scenarios, each focusing on different resource sets— ecological, floodplain, parcel size, and “balanced”.

Within the study area, 62 parcels totaling 24,177 acres were identified as highest priority for conservation and an additional 135 parcels totaling 51,416 acres were identified as high priority. Using this tool, KPC can focus its efforts to protect lands that provide the greatest number of services for both the human and natural communities of the Katy Prairie area, while working towards their mission of protecting this unique ecosystem for all Texans.