Ecology & Early HistoryThe Headwaters Sanctuary is primarily a riparian forest, meaning it is near a river or creek and supports plants adapted to periodic flooding. This forest is fairly young as most trees are only 25 to 30 years old. Much of this land has been cleared repeatedly in the last 70 years (see aerial photos below). Even so, very old live oak trees exist at the west and south edges of the sanctuary on slopes less suitable for pasture or cropland. As this forest matures, the mix of plant species will change slightly. The dominance of hackberry and cedar elm is about what we would expect in a forest of this age. Over time, slower-maturing trees will gain a foothold, and species like pecan, Texas oak, Texas persimmon, and walnut will flourish. See a list of plants documented in the sanctuary.
Because we are surrounded by dense development and busy roads, the sanctuary does not support wide-ranging mammals like deer (though they do like to visit). We are home to smaller critters such as raccoons, skunks, possums, mice, and foxes. We are a haven for birds, too. Wrens, warblers, kingfishers, cardinals, hawks, and owls are common. Waterbirds like wood ducks, egrets, and herons can be found when the water is high. See our bird list.