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PronghornAntelope_80or100Years_Tarrant_Billy_AlpineTX_21August2023_Reel4168.mp3

Billy Tarrant [00:00:00] So many of our grasslands have been invaded by, you know, mesquite, creosote, tarbush, these invasive species of brush, that no longer make it good pronghorn habitat...

Billy Tarrant [00:00:11] That's kind of what I do now is facilitate a lot of different large-scale opportunities for landowners to partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife, Rio Grande Joint Venture, these other conservation agencies, organizations and along with our landowner partners - voluntary, incentive-based conservation, because that's, you know, they, ranchers want less brush, too. And we want to restore those grasslands to what they were a couple of hundred years ago. It's an opportunity, kind of a win-win.

Billy Tarrant [00:00:34] And when you throw in the mix there as well, wintering grassland birds, which are in serious decline across the country, all the way from Canada to Mexico. And these grasslands are vital habitat for wintering grassland birds that are in significant decline.

Billy Tarrant [00:00:50] And so, it really helps. It's a win-win on a lot of different levels, and very gratifying work. You know, turning brushland back into grassland is pretty cool.

Billy Tarrant [00:01:00] Depending upon the situation, we use tebutherion, Spike. We use that on creosote, tarbush, whitebrush, where it's acted as invasive as well.

Billy Tarrant [00:01:10] On mesquite, ... throughout most of the grasslands out here, we have a different subspecies of mesquite that's a little different than what you have over most of Texas. It's a little tougher to kill than regular mesquite. It's western honey mesquite, or Torrey mesquite. Torreyana is the subspecies name.

Billy Tarrant [00:01:27] And you can use herbicide on that, like Sendero, but you've got to be doing it at exactly the right time. The recipe has to be just about perfect as far as soil, temperature, and color of leaves, and where the plant is.

Billy Tarrant [00:01:38] But especially on mesquite, if you treat it, and you're successful and have a successful kill, you're still not back to where you need to be from a pronghorn or wintering grassland bird's standpoint, because you just have skeletons standing out there now. And then we'll actually go back and roller-chop those skeletons and knock them down, with landowner support...

Billy Tarrant [00:01:58] And we do grub as well. We grub, not typically bulldozer, but like a excavator. That may be the best approach if the mesquite is not in the best situation to be treated, or if we're looking at juniper, cedar, removal as well. We may end up using an excavator, but it just depends upon the situation, where we're at, and helping that landowner meet their conservation goals, as well as providing increased habitat for wildlife...

Billy Tarrant [00:02:22] Really open it up, and it's pretty cool that you can see those pronghorn in there, like days later. But they hadn't been in there. And we got the data to show that they didn't go into those woody, that brush: they didn't use that stuff at all.

Billy Tarrant [00:02:35] Not what they're about. They're about being able to see a long ways and see predators, etc. They don't like being closed in.

Billy Tarrant [00:02:40] But the second we knock it down, suddenly they're back in there, maybe for the first time in 80, 100 years, you know.

Billy Tarrant [00:02:46] So, it's pretty cool.