Rare plants, wildlife found on undeveloped land in Deer Park

Conservationists fight to save land

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Not far from one of the most highly industrialized areas in the state lies a pristine, undeveloped piece of land that conservationists see as a hidden treasure. It's home to some extremely rare plant and wildlife.

"We've cataloged, just so far, over 300 species of plants," said Jaime Gonzalez with the Katy Prairie Conservancy.

To Gonzalez, this one of a kind 53-acre prairie in Deer Park is a masterpiece.

"This is a Van Gogh prairie right here. This is as lovely and as perfect in form as it can be," Gonzalez said. "There are monarch butterflies that come and lay eggs here. There are rare sparrows that spend the wintertime here."

But all of this is in jeopardy of going away. The landowner sees this as prime real estate and is planning to turn it into a subdivision.

Ten local conservation groups have banded together to try and save it. They can -- for a price of $4 million.

Local conservationists are so serious about buying it, they raised more than half the amount in just one week. They have $1.59 million to go and less than two days to do it.

"What we're looking for now that's so important is for the corporations to come forward. Unfortunately, we've had very little time to get the word out," said Jennifer Lorenz with the Bayou Land Conservancy.

Local residents are joining the movement as well. Jerry Hurtado is a local school teacher and believes the land is worth fighting for.

"We can bring them out here and let them observe what land looked like a thousand years ago, or just go through the historical battles that actually occurred here," Hurtado said.

Anyone who would like to help save the prairie can visit the Bayou Land Conservancy organization or call 281-576-1634.

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