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Crosstimbers

[please see the region's landscape video]

The Crosstimbers is an 11.5-million acre belt of landscape extending from the Oklahoma border southward 160 miles across the upper Trinity and Brazos watersheds. The Crosstimbers landscape is mixed, featuring alternating swaths of post oak, hackberry, ashe juniper and cedar elm woodlands and tall-grass prairies of bluestems, gramas, and Indiangrass, broken by bottomland forests of pecan, cottonwood, sycamore and bur oak.

Industry in this area includes cotton, sorghum, livestock, oil and gas extraction, lignite mining, and diversified commerce. The major towns in the Crosstimbers include Athens, Bryan-College Station, Fort Worth, Glen Rose, Mineral Wells, Seguin, Stephenville, and Sulphur Springs.

Significant protected areas in the Crosstimbers include the Aquilla State Wildlife Management Area (6100 acres), Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge (11,320 acres), Lake Mineral Wells State Park (2843 acres), and the Ray Roberts Lake State Park and Wildlife Management Area (21,020 acres).

Conservation challenges for the region include air quality problems, ranging from ozone level exceedances in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, to toxic emissions from cement kilns in the Midlothian area.

Sprawl in the Metroplex is a problem as well, with a 1970-90 consumption of 372 square miles of open land, giving it a rank of 7th among all major US cities. The region also faces the need to protect some of the last remnants of tallgrass prairie in Texas, less than 1% of which is left from pre-Western settlement times. The region also has the opportunity to conserve some of the oldest first-growth forests in the state: the post oak woodlands.

In addition, water use in this region is a challenge: the average Fort Worth resident uses 214 gallons per day, together with Dallas, the highest in the state, and well above residents of El Paso (159 gallons per day) or San Antonio (147 gallons per day). There are concerns that reservoirs, such as the 70,000-acre Marvin Nichols reservoir on the Sulphur River, may be built to slake this thirst before more cost-effective and environmentally friendly conservation can take hold.

For more information about the Crosstimbers region, please refer to:

Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Downwinders at Risk

Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge

Miller Springs Nature Center

Prairies and Timbers Audubon Society

Seguin Outdoor Learning Center

Sierra Club, Crosstimbers Regional Group

 


 
Conservation History Association of Texas
Texas Legacy Project


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2007