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Texas - Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center

Serving the southern portion of the State of Texas

Established: 1981
Size: 91 acres
PMC Operation: NRCS
Land Ownership: Texas A&M University and King Ranch

Plant Materials Center staff install a constructed sand dune on South Padre IslandThe Plant Materials Center (STPMC) in Kingsville, Texas was initiated through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, the South Texas Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Soil Conservation Service. The driving force for this Center was the need for commercial plant materials adapted to the unique climate and soils of the South Texas area.

The Center serves south Texas. The major land uses are rangeland, pasture, and hay land. The Texas Gulf Coast is an internationally significant migration and wintering habitat for North American waterfowl. Oil field exploration and coastline urbanization are also land uses that require conservation plant development.

Current program emphasis is: rangeland restoration and wildlife habitat enhancement; coastal shoreline stabilization; coastal habitat restoration and enhancement; and erosion control/water quality improvement on agricultural land. The Center provides technical assistance to restore the Gulf Coast prairie and the associated salt marshes, enhance water bird habitat, revegetate areas disturbed by oil field exploration, and improve range and pasture lands of the Rio Grande Plain.

To date, the Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center has developed 24 grasses and forb plant species to assist in addressing these issues.

Highlights

RESTORING NATIVE WILDLIFE HABITAT

Providing native plants and planting strategies for restoring South Texas habitats
  • Thirteen South Texas native plant have been developed to restore South Texas habitats
  • Restoration Manual for Native Habitats of South Texas provides land managers with guidelines for seeding with native species.
  • Evaluation of Herbicides for Restoring Native Grasses in Buffelgrass-Dominated Grasslands improves restoration and diversification of rangeland.

EROSION CONTROL AND STABILIZATION

Providing plants and technologies to stabilize erosion on critical sites
  • Developed a bioengineering approach for coastal shoreline stabilization.
  • Developed a guide for the use of vegetative barriers for erosion and sediment control.
  • Species for use in seeding salt impacted rangeland developed from research on germination and seedling salt tolerance.
  • Falfurrias Germplasm big sacaton provides erosion control on salt-impacted areas and Welder and Mariah Germplasm windmillgrass controls erosion on grassways, roadsides, and other critical sites

AGRICULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY

Providing plants, technology and information for the long-term sustainability of South Texas agricultural lands
  • Native legumes evaluated for crop rotations, livestock utilization, and biofuel production.
  • Switchgrass evaluated for adaptability and improved seedling establishment in South Texas.
  • Provide outreach to underserved groups by translating the Center’s publications into Spanish to better serve the Hispanic community of South Texas.
  • Equipment Evaluation and development for Limited Resource Producers resulted in the design of an all terrain vehicle seed drill for planting small acreages.

Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center
3409 N FM 1355
Kingsville, TX 78363-2704
Telephone: 361-595-1313
Fax: 361-595-1313

Contact STPMC Staff