FEBRUARY 2012 EVENTS
WESTSIDE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SAY "SAVE OUR FOREST!"
On February 13, 2012, the WOLF E-NEWS reported: "Three Westside freshmen Maddie Daniell, Samantha Miller and Zoe Sheshtawy have had their voices heard. When they learned that the trees along Buffalo Bayou from Highway 6 to the Beltway were being threatened in order to build detention basins, they took action!
The girls are working with the assistance of Ms. Klein and the Ecology Club to get the word out about the threat to the Anthills Trail and the "Bowl", two very popular parts of the presently multi-use Terry Hershey Park along Buffalo Bayou. The students have been interviewed on radio and television and are collecting Westside student signatures for a petition. They intend to put the petition into the Charting Buffalo public record during the last public meeting on February 27th downtown. The most recent word is the County is looking at other possible options because of the public outcry in part due to the hard work of these young ladies. Although they are only freshmen in high school, they are already influencing the local political system!"
Be sure and also read the separate "February - Charting Buffalo" to get information from the meeting, access to the Charting Buffalo Draft and information regarding input for the public record.
BAYOU PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION
BAYOU ADVENTURE RACE
The Bayou Preservation Association (BPA) teamed up with several other groups to hold the first "Adventure Race" on Buffalo Bayou. The event was put off by one day due to storm conditions, but the water levels were just right on Sunday for adding a little extra excitement to the kayaking leg of the race.
The 5K run took place to the north of Buffalo Bayou and the 3K paddle leg was from Langham Creek to just west of the Dairy Ashford bridge (the water was too high to use the take out under the bridge). The 10k bike leg was curtailed due to high water in some locations along the Anthills (mountain bikers are strongly discouraged from riding the Anthills until the trails are dry following a rainstorm so as to prevent needless and damaging erosion - a GHORBA ride scheduled for the very same day was canceled for this reason), but a route both north and south of the bayou challenged the racers all the way back to Memorial Mews. The best overall time was 1:28:51.
BPA's Kathy Lord said they want to hold more adventure races with the next one likely incorporating Cypress Creek.
More photographs and information are available on the official BPA Bayou Adventure Race website. Read more about BPA below the series of photographs.
The BPA was organized during the mid-1960s, when two of its most well known leaders, George Mitchell and Terry Hershey, emerged in the fight to preserve and protect Buffalo Bayou.
The BPA site provides the following: "Although BBPA began as a "NIMBY" (not in my back yard) organization, by 1969, members realized that their concerns for Buffalo Bayou applied to all of Houston and Harris County's watershed, so the organization expanded its scope and re-tooled its name to Bayou Preservation Association (BPA). As a "NIABY" (not in anybody's back yard) group, BPA emerged as an organization devoted to watershed oversight and information dissemination. Promoting community education and participation in watershed management decisions was a major focus of BPA activities."
The BPA states that its mission is to "protect and restore the richness and diversity of our waterways through activism, advocacy, collaboration and education"(emphasis in original).
Part of BPA's advocacy includes support for regional detention basins.
Whether or not the BPA will actually join in publicly supporting the development of the Clodine Waterhole Regional Detention Basin and Nature Preserve, the Turkey Creek Basin and the 12505 Memorial Basin to prevent the destruction of the Terry Hershey Park Forest (as has the Sierra Club, or speak out for preserving the Forest as has Houston Audubon) remains to be seen.
You can learn more about the BPA by visiting its website and gain a sense of who they are by watching their "cool video" about the paddling trails.
Read the entire 2002 interview of one of the most well known BPA founders and active participants, Terry Hershey, conducted by the Texas Legacy Project.
"It was '66 when I came back - and I was in Houston and Ernie Fay was picking me up, Jake was out of town that weekend, and he said, well, they've started. And I said, who's started what. And he said, they've started clearing Buffalo Bayou. And I said, why? I didn't live on it, but I knew it. He said, I don't know, they're just clearing it. And so the next day, Mary Kelsey and Isabelle Steenland and I got in the car to go up and see what was going on and found nine acres being cleared and they were layering the trees with rubber tires and burning them. Very stinky, you know, residential area. And so, I went back and called my County Commissioner the next day, who was Squatty Lyons, I didn't know about County Commissioners. And he said, Oh, Miss Hershey, some big government people coming in and telling us little folks what to do and I said, what big government people? And she--he said, oh, that Corps of Engineers. And, I said, well, why does it say Harris County Flood Control all over the trucks? And he said, I'm busy, I don't have time to talk to you and hung up. And it made me mad and I stayed mad for thirty years."
OLIVE HERSHEY and the SIERRA CLUB
Winter Hike in the Terry Hershey Park Forest on the Southern Banks
Olive Hershey (seated third from left in photograph below) joined with members of the Sierra Club and leaders of Save Our Forest for a cold weather hike in the "Briar Forest". Her comments about the forest can be read and her speech at the CIP meeting seen as part of the CIP segment in the March portion of "On the Bayou". Sierra Club's Brandt Mannchen (seated first on the left) provided Harris County Flood Control with a very lengthy critique of Charting Buffalo. A link to his letter is provided further below.
Save Our Forest leaders Landrum Wise and Michael Huffmaster and BFSNC President Greg Daniell also met with the local chapter of the Sierra Club during its April general session to discuss Charting Buffalo and the options for regional and sub-regional detention.
On May 5th, Houston Regional Group Sierra Club Conservation Chair Evelyn L. Merz (seated fourth from left in the photo) sent a position statement on behalf of her organization to the Harris County Flood Control District, Mayor Parker and Judge Emmett. The Sierra Club letter is linked for your review in the May portion of "On the Bayou".
Brandt Mannchen - Letter to Harris County Flood Control District - Charting Buffalo - April 1, 2012
Southern Banks Flora and Fauna
Brandt Mannchen, Landrum Wise and Greg Johnston (along with some additions by Greg Daniell) have developed a list of flora and fauna observed in the Southern Banks portion of the Terry Hershey Park Forest.
FLORA - Loblolly Pine, Water Oak, Willow Oak, Live Oak, Southern Red Oak, Cedar, Cedar Elm, American Elm, American Hornbeam, Green Ash, White Ash, Elderberry, Rusty Blackhaw, River Birch, Bald Cypress, Arrowwood Viburnum, Box Elder, Hackberry, Yaupon, Rough-leaf Dogwood, Red Buckeye, Eastern Redbud, Southern Magnolia, Mexican Plum, Salvia Coccinia, Palmetto, Cherry Laurel, American Sycamore, Eastern Cottonwood, Southern Dewberry, Wild Onion, Yellow and Pink Blooming Wood Sorrel, Cana Lily, Clematis Vine, Indigo Bush, White and Purple Violets, Trumpet Vine, Greenbriar, Green Dragon, Caroline Moonseed, Black-Eyed Susan and Muscadine.
FAUNA - Mammals and marsupials which have been sighted in the area include Raccoons, Armadillos, Coyotes, Opossums, Rabbits, Gray Squirrels, Fox Squirrels, River Otters ("pod" present in Ashford during 2009 - 2010) and rare sightings of Flying Squirrels and Beaver (not Nutria). Birds sighted in the area include Horned Owls, Barred Owls, Screech Owls, Bluejays, Titmice, Chickadees, Pileated Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Red Headed Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Flickers, Brown Thrashers, Common Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Yellow Crowned Night Herons, Black Crowned Night Herons, Great White Herons, Little Blue Herons, Mississippi Kites, Wood Ducks, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Mallard Ducks, Robins, various types of Sparrows, Ravens, Red-winged Blackbirds, House Wrens, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds, Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Red-shouldered Hawks, Bald Eagles (rare sightings), Red-tailed Hawks, Coopers Hawks, Ospreys, Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Kingfishers, Whippoorwills, Great Crested Flycatchers, Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, various Warblers, various Vireos, Kinglets, and large flocks of Cedar Wax Wings (during migration). The reptiles, amphibians and snakes include Box Turtles, Red-eared Slider Turtles, Mud Turtles, Snapping Turtles, Soft-shelled Turtles, Musk Turtles, Green Tree Frogs, various smaller Tree Frogs, Leopard Frogs, Bullfrogs, Toads, Broad-headed Skinks, Five-lined Skinks, Brown Skinks, Fence Lizards, Green Anoles, Cuban Anoles, Texas Garter Snakes, Texas Rat Snakes, Coral Snakes, Ribbon Snakes, Diamondback Water Snakes, Broad-banded Water Snakes, Hog-nosed Snakes and Earth Snakes. There's a tremendous variety of insect life in the forest. More notable species include Fireflies (yes - you can still see them in good numbers in the Briar Forest), Walking Sticks, Praying Mantis, Click Beetles and numerous varieties of butterflies such as Yellow Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, Monarchs, Red Admirals and Gulf Frittilaries.
Take a virtual tour of The Terry Hershey Park Forest on the Southern Banks of Buffalo Bayou.
GO TO FEBRUARY - CHARTING BUFFALO
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