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April 9, 2007
Energy Company Teams With TPWD, Others To Reforest San Jacinto Battlegrounds Historical Landscape
LA PORTE, Texas — Ongoing efforts to restore the marsh at San Jacinto Battlegrounds State Historic Site took another step forward recently with the planting some 3,000 native hardwood trees along the shoreline and on Goat Island.
On March 3, more than 80 Shell/Motiva employees and their families joined with other volunteers to plant loblolly pines, bald cypress, red maples and several species of oaks along one mile of recently restored San Jacinto. Joining in the mass planting, made possible by a $150,000 donation from the energy company, were volunteers from the Port of Houston Authority, James Simmons Group, Cahagan and Bryant Engineers, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff and park hosts. The grant also will help fund the construction of a marsh viewing platform and prairie restoration.
The tree planting is part of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s larger effort to restore the landscape of the San Jacinto park to conditions present at the time the Texan army defeated the encamped Mexican army on April 21, 1836.
The area once enjoyed diverse and complex ecological systems of native tall grass prairie, tidal marsh and bottomland forests, but cattle grazing, timber harvesting, fire suppression and dredging and other construction have dramatically altered the landscape in the last century. The park’s shoreline and Goat Island had been submerged under the river’s waters by subsidence and erosion. Sand and clay dug from the nearby Houston Ship Channel were used to restore these landmarks and the planted trees will reestablish the forest that was once present.
The revegetation project comes on the 100th anniversary of San Jacinto’s acquisition by the State of Texas as the first state park. The historic site southeast of Houston, which includes the San Jacinto monument, battleground and Battleship TEXAS, is one of 112 Texas state parks and historic sites operated by TPWD.
Over the past few years, interpretive panels, a boardwalk and revegetation efforts have begun to return the Park’s prairie, marsh, and forestland to the way it once looked when Mexican troops routed by Texan Gen. Sam Houston’s volunteer army fled to try to escape the onslaught.
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