JANUARY 2012 EVENTS
FUNDRAISER FOR SAVE OUR FOREST
In early January, well over two hundred Save Our Forest supporters participated in the first fundraiser for the organization. Supporters enjoyed a BBQ dinner catered by Goode Company BBQ and "Original Coney Dogs" generously donated by James Coney Island. As the evening progressed, supporters ventured down and took a seat in the forest next to one of the original Buffalo Bayou meanders cut off by channelization. Here, they were entertained for several hours by the "Texas Troubadour" Shake Russell (named Entertainer of the Year in the Texas Music Awards - 2004, 2008, 2011) and his band. By the end of the evening, supporters provided enough funds for Save Our Forest to launch an initial legal action should it become necessary. To see the forest, please click here.
JANUARY 9TH RAIN EVENT
Heavy rains across Fort Bend County and over Longpoint Slough contributed heavily to the approximately 1,200 cubic feet per second flow under the Highway 6 bridge at Buffalo Bayou on January 9, 2012. In Fort Bend County, Longpoint Slough feeds directly into the man made Clodine Ditch which then flows north on the outside of the Barker Dam until it meets with Buffalo Bayou just west of Highway 6. This uncontrolled waterway spills enormous amounts of storm water into Buffalo Bayou and seriously diminishes the waterway's capacity to accept runoff from outfalls in Houston. Please see the Keep the Forest in Briar Forest presentation (the presentation's two videos are linked below on this page) for a series of comparisons illustrating the impact of the Clodine Ditch on Buffalo Bayou's flow and height during major rain events. A regional detention basin catching just forty-five percent of the storm water from Fort Bend County before it reaches the Clodine Ditch will have an enormous positive and direct impact on our area.
Below are images from the January 9th storm indicating the amount of storm water flowing from the uncontrolled Clodine and Barker Ditches. The gates to the reservoir were closed, but the ditches kept pumping water into the Bayou up to 1,200 cfs during and after the storm.
When the Army Corps of Engineers conducts its high releases in accordance with the Interim Action Plan (discussed elsewhere in "On the Bayou"), the Corps normally keeps the cfs under Hwy 6 below 1,000 cfs. If a storm threatens the area, they shut down their gates entirely so that the flow under the bridge becomes virtually non-existent. This approach is taken so as to increase the capacity of Buffalo Bayou to accept water from outfalls in Houston.
Quite obviously, 1,200 cfs impacts Buffalo Bayou capacity. By capturing forty-five percent of the Fort Bend storm water before it enters the Clodine Ditch, Harris County estimates the cfs under Hwy 6 can be cut in half during a 1% event (page 92, October Draft - Charting Buffalo). To say this is not important to our immediate area is the same as making the absolutely ludicrous assertion the Barker and Addicks Reservoirs mean nothing to us or downtown Houston during a major rain event.
For comparison with a massive storm, one which registered as a 1% rainfall event at two USGS stations in the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood area (see the Harris County Flood Control District Final Report), watch the two videos below shot at the Clodine Ditch and Buffalo Bayou convergence several hours after the peak on April 28, 2009.
April 28, 2009 - State Hwy 6 to the Barker Dam
April 28, 2009 - State Hwy 6 to the Barker Dam 2
The photograph below shows what Buffalo Bayou looks like at State Hwy 6 when the Clodine Ditch is not pumping massive amounts of uncontrolled water into Buffalo Bayou and the Barker Dam gates are closed. The colored lines designate the high water marks on four separate occasions, including the April 28, 2009 storm.
DIALOG WITH CONGRESSMAN CULBERSON
Late in January, Congressman Culberson reached out to the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood Council to discuss constituent concerns regarding Charting Buffalo and the City's Buffalo Bayou Detention Basin being received in his Houston office. The BFSNC President shared the Council's position and provided information relating to the City of Houston plans and the inter-relationship with Charting Buffalo.
A number of points were expressed including our Council's awareness of the need to reduce the threat of floods to people and property, with many residents having personally experienced flood damage. Consequently, our Council is not absolutely opposed to Charting Buffalo or blind to the offset requirement needing to be met by the City of Houston as it seeks to upgrade storm water systems in neighborhoods like Yorkshire.
However, it was clearly stated our Council is firmly opposed to the placement of the City of Houston detention basin (CIP M-261) in the forests of Terry Hershey Park. In addition, it was clearly stated our Council is firmly opposed to specific options within Charting Buffalo it views as harmful to the long term interests of our overall community.
The BFSNC President expressed the Council's strong support for Charting Buffalo's Clodine Ditch Regional Detention Basin option as well as options for sub-regional detention basins away from Buffalo Bayou and pocket basins in areas without forest. These options would make it possible for Harris County Flood Control to meet its stated objective for Reach One and allow the City to meet its offset requirements for storm water upgrades in the Memorial and TIRZ 17 areas, without jeopardizing the Terry Hershey Park Forest.
As a result of the discussion, a meeting was scheduled for late February to discuss the issues raised during the dialog. In February, the meeting was shifted to a later date and is discussed in the April portion of "On the Bayou". Fortunately, District G Council Member Oliver Pennington was able to meet with Congressman Culberson in late February and took the opportunity to solicit the Congressman's support for the Clodine Regional Detention Basin and to offer assistance in Washington D.C. in the process necessary to obtain funding.
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