Places We Protect

Nash Prairie Preserve


A field of tall grass that meets a treeline.
Nash Prairie This 427-acre preserve is untouched by people or plow. © Jerod Foster

This unplowed 427-acre preserve offers a snapshot of Texas as it once used to be.



Roughly 70 miles southwest of Houston, lies The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) Nash Prairie Preserve. This 427-acre tract is one of the last remaining segments of coastal tallgrass prairie in Texas. Less than 200 years ago, the Great Coastal Prairie spanned six million acres between Lafayette, Louisiana and Corpus Christi, Texas; yet today, less than 1% of this system still exists. Untouched by people or plows, Nash Prairie remains a unique gem, unchanged by time.

Located in the Brazos River watershed, this gently rolling landscape was once a productive hay meadow for the historic KNG Ranch run by Houston socialite Kittie Nash Groce. As a result, the acreage was spared from development, allowing silvery-tipped switchgrass, golden bursts of Indiangrass and other native species to reclaim the land.




427 acres

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360 Degree Video Experience

Nash Prairie Preserve

Nash Prairie Preserve (5:49) Click on the video and drag your cursor to experience springtime at Nash Prairie Preserve through immersive, 360° video footage.
A lone tree grows in the middle of a grassy field.
Pristine Prairie TNC's Nash Prairie Preserve is the largest parcel of intact coastal tallgrass prairie left in Texas and Louisiana. © Jerod Foster

Why This Place Matters

This pristine prairieland lies amid the Columbia Bottomlands, a four-county expanse of wetlands, bayous and floodplains on the mid-Texas coast. The preserve harbors over 300 plant species in an area facing developmental pressures from the sprawl of nearby Houston. Among the native plants found here are several that are rare, such as coastal gayfeather, rain-lily and meadow rue, as well as at least one type of grass thought extinct in Texas since the 1800s.

These native plants provide habitat for wildlife such as the nine-banded armadillo, prairie kingsnake and Gulf fritillary butterfly, along with many other pollinators. In addition, the small-but-bold Savannah sparrow and more than 120 other types of birds, many of which are in serious decline, call Nash Prairie Preserve home. The prairie also contributes to the watershed function of the Brazos River, minimizing runoff and reducing erosion.

Photos from Nash Prairie Preserve

Discover the diverse plant life and wildlife at this coastal tallgrass prairie remnant.

A field of tall grass meets a small stand of trees.
A small bird with brown mottled feathers and a white chest sits camouflaged in tall brown grass.
A man and woman walk through tall green grass.
A field of longstem grass with feathery ends.
A sunburst shines through tall green blades of grass.
Native Seed Nash Prairie is an important source of native seed for prairie restoration projects along the Texas Gulf Coast, including the Memorial Park Land Bridge in Houston. © Jerod Foster

What TNC Is Doing

Protecting the preserve’s natural systems is critical to supporting biodiversity, as well as the local and regional communities that rely on the Brazos River. This biodiversity was rediscovered in 2003, when ranch stewards, including members of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in nearby West Columbia, conducted a survey here and found a stunning array of plant and animal life. 

The healthy, diverse array of plants at the preserve also offers a natural seed source for other prairies in need. To further conservation efforts, TNC and its partners regularly harvest native seeds here to restore prairies along the Texas Gulf Coast.


  • Visitation is limited to volunteer workdays and various special events throughout the calendar year. An appointment is needed for visits outside of these organized events. For more information, contact preserve manager Aaron Tjelmeland (atjelmeland@TNC.ORG).

  • Immerse yourself in 360° footage of a seed harvest at Nash Prairie Preserve. Click on the video and drag your cursor to watch as volunteers collect native seeds.

  • View a map of Nash Prairie Preserve.