Restoring the Cultural Landscape at Palo Alto
Despite the largely undeveloped nature of Palo Alto, 20th Century activities have altered the physical environment and continue to harm the historic character of the battlefield. The primary concern is the continuing encroachment of native woody and cacti species on the historic gulf cordgrass prairie. This is a result of altered hydrology at the park, past land management practices, and the lack of a proactive vegetation management program.
Putting a Plan in Place
In FY 2014, the park finalized the Integrated Vegetation Management Plan and Environmental Assessment, including a signed Finding of No Significant Impacts for the NPS preferred alternative. The NPS's preferred alternative was the selected action because it best met the project objectives:
Palo Alto Battlefield can now implement a vegetation management program utilizing a full range of treatments to restore and maintain the park’s cultural landscape. These treatments include the following measures:
In brief, the park plans to remove the invasive woody and cacti vegetation from historic grassland prairie and reintroduce gulf cordgrass. The park will use prescribed fire to promote the development of the cordgrass and keep the woody and cacti plant species at bay.
Last updated: December 11, 2018