MAY 2012 EVENTS
HOUSTON SIERRA CLUB
On May 5th, Houston Regional Group Sierra Club Conservation Chair Evelyn L. Merz sent a position statement on behalf of her organization to the Harris County Flood Control District, Mayor Parker and Judge Emmett.
Sierra Club Letter - May 5, 2012
"The Houston Sierra Club believes that flood management design should favor options that maximize flood control benefits while minimizing environmental degradation. Therefore, we oppose the removal of riparian forest along Buffalo Bayou as proposed for Reach One of the Charting Buffalo study to provide linear detention, whether the detention is constructed by the Harris County Flood Control District or the City of Houston."
Evelyn Merz hiking toward one of the large trees in the Briar Forest
The Sierra Club goes on to state: "The removal of the forested areas in Reach One would only provide a minimal increase in acre-feet of storage capacity while maximizing environmental damage through destruction of some of the last vestiges of forest habitat along upper Buffalo Bayou."
See photographs from Oliver Hershey's and the Sierra Club's hike through the forest in the February portion of "On the Bayou". Take a virtual tour of The Terry Hershey Park Forest on the Southern Banks of Buffalo Bayou.
LATE NIGHT HIKES IN THE "BRIAR FOREST"
The Briar Forest "Night Stalkers" have made two hikes so far in May. The first during the Perigee "Super Moon" and the latest to capture the sounds of the forest wetlands after dark. Images and videos from the latest hike are below. With some of the videos, you will not be able to see much beyond some brief images in red light, but what you should pay attention to are the sounds being made by the amphibians in the forest wetlands.
Video - Walking into the Forest
Video - How do you deal with the difficult terrain at night?
Video - Which way do we go?
Video - I'm going the other way...
Video - Some slightly different sounds from cold-blooded tetra pods
Video - It's a Megascops
Video - Some final sounds in the forest
MAY HIGH RELEASE and Sudden Drawdown
The Briar Forest Super Neighborhood gained approximately 3 inches of badly needed rain in early May and the same storm dropped abundant rainfall on the Barker Reservoir and Longpoint Slough area. The photographs and videos below show four gates open to help empty Barker in accordance with the Interim Action Plan (see the March portion of "On the Bayou"), the water in the reservoir as of May 14th and charts indicating the controlled release (and storm spike). One gate was closed while we were present, possibly due to the storm over the White Oak Bayou area.
Guests from the City of Houston Public Works & Engineering Department and the Mayor's Office came to our May meeting to share information regarding the path forward for capital improvement projects and maintenance funding as well as an outline for the role of the Street & Drainage Division in our community's upkeep. Deputy Director Eric K. Dargan delivered the presentation for Street and Drainage, a copy of which may be reviewed by clicking here
. In addition, the Rebuild Houston 5+5 approach was discussed and a copy of the Draft plan may be reviewed by referring to the following map link
. Further information regarding Rebuild Houston funding is found at this website
One mounting concern for the funding of Rebuild Houston is the potential threat posed by the METRO General Mobility Program
. This will become a hot button issue in the months leading up to November. Should the METRO initiative succeed, one of the funding sources for Rebuild Houston will be cut off and would have to be made up elsewhere.
Mark Kirschke spoke on behalf of District G and updated what Council Member Pennington shared in April regarding his work with Congressman Culberson on the Clodine Regional Detention Basin. Akin Gump is currently drafting the legislation to provide to Congressman Culberson to aid in obtaining the federal funding for the effort. Once the legislation is complete, BFSNC will move as quickly as possible to provide a draft through "On the Bayou".
The Congressman reached out to the BFSNC to request assistance in soliciting resident support for his work to reform the earmark process so he and other Congressman can better represent the interests of their constituents on matters such as funding for regional detention basins. Once we have drafted the necessary suggested language for resident input, we will be contacting residents.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Greg Daniell shared the work he had been doing to put together the "On the Bayou" pages, solicited input for the various pages displayed and stated he hoped it would be on-line by the fourth week of May. This will be an ongoing effort and regular input and suggested content is welcome and appreciated.
Mr. Kirschke provided updates for all of the CIP projects taking place or set to take place in BFSN. Copies of documents related to specific CIP projects (including maps for the M-250 storm water project) are listed and linked below. NOTE: Those of you living in areas where M-250 construction takes place should pay close attention to the completed areas and keep track of any locations where water pools and does not properly drain, or where problems exist with concrete, etc. The City, at no additional cost to taxpayers, has the ability to make the contractor correct any problems for up to one year after they have substantially completed the project. If you see any problems with the completed work on your street, please contact 311. Mr. Kirschke also encourages residents to participate in the FY13 Budget Workshop and offer ideas and suggestions for spending cuts or modifications.
The Briar Forest at Ashford Parkway stormwater issues are STILL not being considered in the 5+5 Plan. Kirkwood reconstruction is only being looked at from Westheimer to Briar Forest and the stretch from Briar Forest to Buffalo Bayou is being excluded. If you have not filed your on-line CIP requests, please go to the March portion of "On the Bayou" and refer to the directions and suggestions under the CIP meeting information. Get those 311s in the system!
RED BULL IN THE BOWL
The Red Bull company sponsors race teams and events and one of its groups of BMX riders came through Houston this month as part of the promotional "Red Bull Ride & Seek 2012". The team made its way to the trails and their ride in the "Bowl" can be found in episode 2 beginning around 1:45. The Anthills Trail officially runs from Eldridge to Wilcrest.
"Accidental wildlife hotspot becomes battleground"
See the news story here.
See the news story covering the rally here.
Houston Chronicle story here.
GO TO JANUARY