MARCH 2012 EVENTS
Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary and Houston Audubon
Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary is located within the Memorial Super Neighborhood
March 14, 2012 Houston Audubon Letter to Director Talbott
"We are vehemently opposed to widening and deepening Rummel Creek within the sanctuary. This study is identified as a collaborative study but it certainly is not. We do not feel that real collaboration took place with our representative on the steering committee. This treatment fosters distrust for anything further that may take place in your planning process.
Furthermore, in light of our mission to protect habitat, not only are we opposed to any widening and deepening of Rummel Creek and damaging a certain amount of habitat, we are also opposed to plans which damage the habitat on the south side of Buffalo Bayou between Wilcrest and Beltway 8. Together with Edith L. Moore Sanctuary, this area also provides a corridor of habitat for birds and wildlife which is necessary for our increasingly urban neighborhoods. The two areas together form a continuous valuable green space needed for birds and wildlife."
Edith L. Moore - on the banks of Rummel Creek - Video
Chainsaws - The Sound of Drought - Video
District G Council Member Oliver Pennington
Hike in the Terry Hershey Park Forest on the Southern Banks
March 18, 2012
Council Member Pennington joined with leaders of Save Our Forest, Landrum Wise, George Crosby and Michael Huffmaster, and the Presidents of the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood Council and the Greater Houston Off Road Biking Association to tour the forest areas between Wilcrest and Beltway 8 and portions of the Anthills Trail east of the Robin Loop. He also returned two weeks later to help clean the banks as part of Trash Bash.
The Council Member met with Congressman Culberson in February to discuss the Clodine Regional Detention Basin. As a result of CM Pennington's encouragement and requests, the City of Houston's legal and lobbying arm in Washington D.C., Akin Gump, is drafting legislation for the Congressman to use to gain federal funding for the Clodine Regional Detention Basin. CM Pennington's letter to Harris County Flood Control and his e-mail to the Mayor and other council members are linked further below.
Letter - Council Member Pennington to the Harris County Flood Control District (October 31, 2011)
E-mail - Council Member Pennington to Mayor Parker and fellow Council Members (November 7, 2011)
PRE-CIP MEDIA COVERAGE
Prior to the March 19, 2012 District G CIP meeting, the Presidents of the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood Council and the Greater Houston Off Road Biking Association had the opportunity to speak with reporters from local news media. Both stressed the need for the City of Houston to site its detention using options available through Charting Buffalo in areas other than those where dense forest is located. The Clodine Regional Detention Basin is covered in the April portion of "On the Bayou" (Meeting with Congressman Culberson) and two other cost effective and superior options are exhibited below (along with links to pdf versions). Both Presidents stressed the need for mitigating dangerous flood waters, but called for making a responsible and positive investment with a far better long term impact.
KTRK-TV ABC 13 - March 19, 2012 Interview
KUHF - 88.7 FM - March 19, 2012 Interview
The Alternatives (options from Charting Buffalo) for CIP M-261 Presented to the Media
12505 Memorial Basin
TURKEY CREEK BASIN
District G hosted Capital Improvements Plan Meeting
District G residents turned out in large numbers for the March 19th meeting to listen to the Mayor and city directors discuss capital planning and financing. The city's M-261 project (otherwise known as the Buffalo Bayou Detention Basin) became the central topic dominating most of the discussion. A video of the entire meeting is available through the link below. The Briar Forest Super Neighborhood Council's Letter to the Mayor and Suggestions for CIP On-line Input are also linked below. Please keep in mind that your participation in the input process is still requested! If you have not sent your CIP 311 On-line requests, please do so before the mid part of June. BFSN residents have recorded over 200 transaction numbers for the requests on our message board and we would like to see another 200 (to keep these topics fresh in the minds of our city leaders). In addition to the other documents, the letter stating Commissioner Radack's opinion referenced by BFSNC President Daniell during his CIP presentation is linked below.
The Super Neighborhood Presidents' remarks begin approximately 39 minutes into Part 1. First up is Greg Segersketter from the Memorial Super Neighborhood, then Judy Thompson from Eldridge West Oaks and finally Greg Daniell from the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood. Soon thereafter, residents from District G and leaders from Save Our Forest take their turn expressing their opinions on matters mostly concerning drainage and the proposed city detention basins.
DISTRICT G CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PLAN MEETING - VIDEO
"Many years ago my father Jake Hershey and his wife Terry, my step-mother, had a vision for Memorial neighborhoods and for Buffalo Bayou and it was to protect and preserve habitat and open space that existed along that waterway. I would say they gave much of their lives and their active civic energies to that end.
As Jake Hershey's daughter, I would like to urge that we not tear down any forests in the watershed for any purpose. Surely, there is a way to divert and to contain water without doing such wholesale damage to habitat. There is precious little of it left. When I came back here to live from Austin in the mid-80s, I was so delighted to find the bayou as a green space that was precious to me because I had three dogs. We found rabbits and we found all kinds of squirrels and we found wonderful herons and this was in the stretch between Sabine and Shepherd. Well, there have been many so-called improvements along that stretch and there is almost no habitat left.
I recently discovered the Briar Forest - gorgeous hardwood forest - it's just amazing and I would never have dreamed this existed inside your neighborhood. I couldn't possibly urge you in stronger terms not to let it be lost as the other part - the Sabine to Shepherd stretch has been basically lost as a natural environment."
See photographs from Olive Hershey's winter hike through the Terry Hershey Park forest - the "Briar Forest" - on the Southern Banks in the February portion of "On the Bayou". Also see the "Briar Forest" photo essay by clicking here. You will find by scrolling through the numerous photographs that the "Briar Forest" is one of our city's last great natural environments in an urban setting.
"Everybody talks about Memorial Park. It is 1500 acres. It's a great park...the jewel of the crown for the city park system. Well, out here on the Westside there are 500 acres in a linear park and it is OUR Memorial Park. It is what we want to preserve. I can't imagine that after what the Mayor referred to as the worst drought in Houston history...and it was...that anyone would float the idea now of going into Memorial Park and cutting down trees for detention basins. IT WOULD NOT FLY, but again, we're on the Westside and this is our Memorial Park and we want to preserve it."
MAYOR ANNISE PARKER:
"We have heard you and as I said we heard the very same eloquent speeches months ago. Charting Buffalo has not been completed and there is a delta beyond which I know I won’t go. And I want you to think about how much we are willing to spend, not just the people in this room but the 2.1 million Houstonians who pay taxes, for detention that affects a relatively small area. Yes, I think I can go out and make the case to Houstonians that we will pay a million dollars more to move it, two million dollars more to move it, three, maybe four, maybe five, but there is a delta beyond which I am not willing to go make that argument to the taxpayers of Houston and we have to figure out what that is and have that conversation about it and I look forward to that reasoned conversation in the future."
We are well aware of the possibilities of the Clodine Ditch. The challenge as you rightly pointed out is that it is entirely outside the city limits of Houston. It is of course possible to spend city tax dollars outside our city limits in appropriate ways...but it does require a lot of coordination and a lot of cooperation and the other government entities since it is outside all the jurisdictional boundaries of Houston. So we are going to, as I said earlier, examine every opportunity to find alternatives and I am willing to say here today as I said earlier, I am willing to pay a premium to save the forest, but there is a limit and we are trying to determine what the true cost is."
BFSNC CIP LETTER TO THE MAYOR
BFSNC CIP LETTER - ATTACHMENTS
BFSNC SUGGESTIONS AND DIRECTIONS FOR CIP 311 ON-LINE
LETTER FROM PRECINCT 3 COMMISSIONER STEVE RADACK
See the separate TRASH BASH PAGE with the story and many photographs
for the TERRY HERSHEY PARK site
Barker and Addicks Dams - High Release
Aside from the photographs of the Barker Dam release (taken during the high release in January) the photographs and videos below are taken from two locations (next to the Dairy Ashford bridge and the Jake Hershey bridge in Terry Hershey Park) during the high release period in March and during the subsequent low release period in early May. The considerable cubic feet per second flow (reaching nearly 2000 cfs on several occasions in March at the Dairy Ashford bridge gage) was almost entirely a result of water flowing through the gates of the Barker and Addicks Dams and was not due to runoff from any recent rain event. The reasoning behind the Army Corps of Engineers decision to make such large scale releases of water is explained in their plans linked below. In reading the Interim Plan, you will find that the Corps is authorized to release up to 4,000 cfs (measured at the Piney Point USGS gage).
Interim Reservoir Control Action Plan
Below are two charts generated by the United State Geologic Service which has measuring stations at several points along Buffalo Bayou including the Dairy Ashford ("Buffalo Bayou nr Addicks") location in the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood. The first chart shows the cubic feet per second flow of water underneath the bridge. The second chart indicates the height of the bayou (measured from sea level) under the bridge. The bottom of the channel is 45.73' above sea level and the top of the bank is 74.30' above sea level at the Dairy Ashford location. The highest the bayou has reached at the Dairy Ashford location was 71.80' (1% flood event) during March 4, 1992. During the April 28, 2009 flood, the bayou reached 70.50' and over 4,500 CFS at the Dairy Ashford location.
By looking closely at the charts, you will see the spikes indicating a rain event and the associated increase in CFS and stream height. You will also see the drop following each short term spike and then the subsequent extended period of increased CFS and stream height. These long periods of high CFS and stream height are the result of the controlled release from the Barker and Addicks Reservoirs as provided for in the 2010 Interim Action Plan.
Below are four more USGS charts for the specific month of March providing data covering the two controlled releases lasting a total of 13 days. The rationale for these controlled floods is discussed in the Interim Action Plan, but the results of the high releases are not addressed - stream bank erosion and poor water quality. An example of the damage caused by the extended controlled floods is covered further in the April portion of "On the Bayou."
VIDEO - On the banks below the Dairy Ashford Bridge
in Terry Hershey Park - High Release - March
Video - On the banks below Dairy Ashford Bridge
in Terry Hershey Park - Low Release - May
VIDEO - On the banks below the Jake Hershey Bridge
in Terry Hershey Park - High Release - March
Video - On the banks below Jake Hershey Bridge
in Terry Hershey Park - Low Release - May
GO TO APRIL