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Rural Interstates, Highways, and Roads in the Prairies and Lakes Region

Of course, the big freeways are in the big cities. But any true road enthusiast also likes to take a look at the rural roads and the surrounding landscape. I'll slowly add photos to this section
The Prairies and Lakes Region includes the following counties:
     
Austin Falls Lamar
Bastrop Fannin Lavaca
Bell Fayette Limestone
Bosque Franklin McLennan
Brazos Freestone Milam
Burleson Gonzales Montague
Caldwell Grayson Navarro
Collin Grimes Parker
Colorado Hamilton Rains
Comanche Henderson Red River
Cooke Hill Robertson
Coryell Hood Rock Wall
Dallas Hopkins Somerviulle
Delta Hunt Tarrant
Denton Johnson Van Zandt
Dewitt Kaufman Washington
Ellis Lee Wise
Erath    

Features of the Prairies and Lakes Region

Topography and
Characteristics
Major Cities / Rainfall / Elevation

Common & Rare
Vegetation

Common & Rare
Wildlife

Size:

Oak Woods and Prairies:19,500  sq mi.

Blackland Prairies: 25,500 sq mi.

Av. Rainfall: 28-40 in./yr

Characteristics:

The Oak Woods and Prairies region is a transitional area for many plants and animals, whose ranges extend northward into the Great Plains or eastward into the forests. This region, sometimes called the Cross-Timbers, was named by early settlers, who found belts of oak forest crossing strips of prairie grassland.

Average annual rainfall averages 28-40 inches per year. May or June usually brings a peak in monthly rainfall. Upland soils are light colored, acidic sandy loam or sands. Bottomland soils may be light brown to dark gray and acidic with textures ranging from sandy loams to clays. The landscape of the region is gently rolling to hilly and elevations range from 300 to 800 feet above sea level.

The region can be described as oak savannah, where patches of oak woodland are interspersed with grassland. Cattle ranching the major agricultural industry in the Oak Woods and Prairies. Introduced grasses such as bermudagrass are grazed along with forage crops and native grasslands.

The Blackland Prairies region is named for the deep, fertile black soils that characterize the area. Blackland Prairie soils once supported a tallgrass prairie dominated by tall-growing grasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem, indiangrass, and switchgrass. Because of the fertile soils, much of the original prairie has been plowed to produce food and forage crops.

The average annual rainfall ranges from 28-40 inches. May is the peak rainfall month for the northern end of the region; however, the south-central part has a fairly uniform rainfall distribution throughout the year. Typically, soils are uniformly dark-colored alkaline clays, often referred to as "black gumbo", interspersed with some gray acidic sandy loams. The landscape is gently rolling to nearly level, and elevations range from 300 to 800 feet above sea level. Crop production and cattle ranching are the primary agricultural industries.

Albany-25.53 in / 1,429 ft

Brownwood- 29.69 in / 1,342 ft

Burnet- 32.02 in / 1,319 ft

Carrollton- 34.20 in / 470 ft

Comanche-36.33 in / 1,358 ft

Cresson- 31.64 in / 1,047 ft

Gatesville- 32.88 in / 795 ft

Glen Rose 33.12 in / 680 ft

Marlin-36.75 in / 383 ft

Mexia-40.33 in / 534 ft

Mineola-36.85 in / 414 ft

Mineral Wells-32.15 in/ 925 ft

Seguin-21.52 in / 520 ft

 

Pecan
Black hickory
Black walnut
Sycamore
Burr oak
Eastern cottonwood
Post oak
Persimmon
Wax myrtle
Buckeye
Mexican plum
Sugarberry
Green ash
Red oak
Flameleaf sumac
Green hawthorne
Black cherry
American elderberry
Bald cypress
Buttonbush

Rare Plants and Habitat
Large-fruited sand verbena:
Openings within oak woodlands on deep sands

Navasota ladies-tresses:
Openings and drainages in post oak woodlands

Tall grass prairie plant community has become rare in the Blacklands Prairie

Plains pocket gopher
Beaver
Racoon
Porcupine
Texas kangaroo rat
Hispid cotton rat
Ornate box turtle
Green-winged teal
Bobwhite quail
Red-shouldered hawk
Scissortail flycatcher
White-tailed deer
Brazilian freetail bat
Ringtail
Nine-banded armadillo
Texas horned lizard
Eastern hognose snake
Tarantula
Golden cheeked warbler
Black-capped vireo
Northern mockingbird
Guadalupe bass

Rare Animals and Habitat
Houston toad:
Pine/oak woodland or savannah on deep, sandy soils

"Features" information from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

 
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All information is unofficial and "AS IS" with no guarantees for accuracy. All schematics are preliminary except as noted.