Revised plan to destroy Buffalo Bayou announced: Public has till June 5th to comment

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 12.17.08 AM                                                                                                                                                                                  Photo by Jim Olive

May 5, 2015

Updated May 15, 2015.

Today, May 5, 2015, the US Army Corps of Engineers posted a new public notice announcing a revised permit application from the Harris County Flood Control District to destroy nearly 1.5 miles of one of the last natural stretches of Buffalo Bayou in Houston. The flood control project, called the Memorial Park Demonstration Project, is in a historic natural area with high cliffs and sandstone formations hundreds of thousands of years old.

Comments must be submitted by June 5, 2015.

The Flood Control District’s first application was announced in a public notice last April, and public comments were received through June 30. The comments were overwhelmingly negative. The revisions to the permit application are in response to those comments.

The Corps is now soliciting comments from the public, governmental agencies and officials, and other interested parties in advance of making a determination about the permit application.  The Corps requests that comments be limited to the clarifications and updates made by the Flood Control District to the Memorial Park Demonstration Project plans, monitoring plan and planting plan, as well as the District’s responses to comments received by the Corps and made by the Corps. The summary of updates and clarifications are contained in the following document under the “Response to Comments” tab on the Corps’ website:

http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Portals/26/docs/regulatory/PN%20May/Response.201201007Rev.pdf

You can read the revised plan here.

Houston and Harris County taxpayers are funding $4 million of this destructive “restoration” project, which would shorten, reroute, dredge, and channelize the bayou, eliminating a healthy riparian zone and rebuilding it using “natural, stable, channel design” methods prone to failure. The River Oaks Country Club, which owns the entire south bank of the “restoration” project, is paying $2 million. Riparian zones are crucial to the cleanliness of our waters, and are generally protected by policies and programs of our state and federal governments.

The north bank of the project is mostly Memorial Park and the Hogg Bird Sanctuary, with some private property in between.

All comments and requests for additional information should reference file number, SWG-2012-01007, and should be submitted by June 5 to:

Dwayne Johnson

Regulatory Branch, CESWG-RD-P

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

P.O. Box 1229

Galveston, Texas 77553-1229

409-766-6353 Phone

409-766-6301 Fax

swg_public_notice@usace.army.mil

And send a copy of your comments to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The TCEQ, which asked critical questions about the project in its comments to the Corps, must certify that the project complies with state water quality standards.

Lili Murphy
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Water Standards Team
401 Coordinator, MC-150P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087

lili.murphy@tceq.texas.gov and
401certs@tceq.texas.gov

 

18 thoughts on “Revised plan to destroy Buffalo Bayou announced: Public has till June 5th to comment”

  1. Paul Rich says:

    I think we should leave as much of the bayou in it’s natural state as possible. Use the money to restore/improve stretches of the bayou that have already been destroyed or modified for commercial uses (i.e. east of downtown). I think with careful planning we can still connect different recreational areas along the bayou without degrading the natural look and/or function of the waterway. We need to look more closely at the concept of creating bike and hike trails that lay more lightly upon the land and most likely would resemble something more like an elevated deck upon piers. If and when “improvements” move westward from Allen Parkway through River Oaks, Tanglewood, and Memorial neighborhoods controlling people from trespassing into residential backyards will also need to be addressed. This is an opportunity to create something very unique and set an example of good land/waterfront stewardship that respects nature as it’s watchword and guiding light.

  2. Anne Hawken Brock says:

    Please do not due this to the park my grandfather bought for the city, There is not a complelling reason, I love playing on those bluffs some 60 years ago,. There are plenty of things that need doing. Send the corp up here to Austin, The state sees a hill and runs,

  3. Ella Lareau says:

    I oppose this plan. This last remaining natural area of the bayou needs to be preserved in its current state. The Corps of Engineers, City of Houston, and River Oaks Country Club need to invest their money where it will actually do some good rather than destroy this natural habitat. Use it to create some type of irrigation system throughout Memorial Park, for example, so that we don’t lose trees in the next drought period. Use it to bulldoze the concrete liners in so many of our bayous. But please do not destroy the bayou.

  4. Laura Gunn says:

    Please leave the bayou ALONE… Houston is notorious for destroying history and this is just another example of ignorance and greed.
    The bayou is a treasure and should not be ‘managed’ for a few wealthy individuals.
    Thank you.

  5. Juli Peeples says:

    i oppose this plan. Save our green space and give our future residents a place to escape to nature.

  6. Elisabeth Smith says:

    I oppose this plan as well. If for no other reason than the CofE, the CofH and ROCC need to step back and look at this from an ecological and historical standpoint. Please don’t rush to do the usual thing that’s done here in the Petro-Metro, destroy and rebuild. Please consider conserving this natural stretch of habitat.

    Elisabeth

  7. Irby P. Rozelle says:

    I drive over the Shepherd Bridge almost every day, and run along Allen Parkway & use Memorial Park biking and jogging trails several times a week. I do not see any reason to do anything West of Shepherd towards 610 Loop West along the Buffalo Bayou. Just keep everything along the 1.5 mile stretch the way it is, as nature intended it to be and as nature wants it to be going forward. I do not see (and have never heard of) any flood control issues that warrant this kind of tax payer money and this kind of destruction to natural habitat which cannot be replaced or replanted. There is no justification for this project. My mother always told me, “If it is not broken do not fix it.” The 1.5 mile stretch along with Buffalo Bayou between Shepherd and West Loop 610 is pretty the way it is, and Memorial Park and the Ima Hogg Bird Sanctuary will never be as pretty as it is today if the Harris County Flood Control District is allowed to change the 1.5 mile stretch along the Buffalo Bayou in any way. I hope the “revised plan to destroy the 1.5 mile stretch along the Buffalo Bayou” is terminated so that we can move our attention to solving problems that need fixing.

  8. Tay Cutchin Satterfield says:

    Please preserve as much of Bayou Bend as possible. Keep it natural !!

  9. kerry jordan says:

    what Paul Rich said is dead on. We need to preserve, protect and think outside of the box to connect our recreational areas. Arial bridges are a great idea. To use some of this money to perhaps help some of those areas already destroyed would be an excellent idea.

  10. Ramey says:

    Please don’t destroy the bayou. The trails and habitat living in the bayou area is natural for animals and other species living in that habitat. Leave it in its natural state. The bike trails and hills are reall fun and we go out 2 times a week sometimes to get out and enjoy the wildlife this bayou gives us. Please leave it.

  11. boog says:

    Anne, your grandpa had quite the oil and gas gem of a property if he had minerals. A big juicy spot to drill with all the right stuff. I doubt it will ever get drilled. I don’t think people would have it. I guess that’s something positive to be thankful for. Interesting that the Corps is involved, and that taxpayers and River Oaks are putting in the dough. How does that one work? I grew up further out on the Bayou for what it’s worth. We managed to do just fine with all the trails, great riding, horse, motor and regular bikes and people walking, and even trucks to horse stalls,etc. I don’t particularly like how the “trails” systems/stakeholders/Master Plans and the whatnot have ended up, but I guess that’s progress. I can’t bring myself to go ride the “trails” out there where it’s all fixed up. Maybe I’m wrong, and some of the good trails are there, and it’s fun to ride both paved and dirt. I lived across the street from the bird sanctuary, and we did just fine with all the trails and such. Then the Audubon folks came in and “fixed up” the whole place. Not too great on the trails and keeping it natural, but at least the place got saved. The Corps can do a lot of stuff in the name of “flood control,” so folks need to stand up and keep it real. Unfortunately, they are quite the adversary. It would be interesting to know the politics of the whole deal.

    1. Anne’s grandfather was working for the City of Houston when the City bought the park from the Hogg Brothers at cost with public funds.

  12. Edward J Kennedy says:

    Where do we submit comments? Looks like the have already begun work east of Wilcrest. What are they thinking this will achieve. This will hurt the city big time. We need to save as many green spaces as possible.

  13. SR ANDERSON says:

    This saddens me to no end. Growing up in a neighborhood on Buffalo Bayou was such a blessing for a kid. We still recall the wild life that live there, paddling canoes, and the adventures we had. Where else could you escape the city if you didn’t have transportation? Many years ago, when Camp Hudson off Memorial Drive, was destroyed and turned into apartments with a bridge through it; that was heartbreaking as well. Our neighborhood was an oasis in a sea of modernity that was, and still is the favorite place to go with our friends and families. Now, the city government wants to destroy a treasure that they don’t appreciate. They’ve done enough to ruin the bayou, leave it alone.

  14. Tom Helm says:

    From the permit application:
    Comments and requests for additional information should reference file number, SWG-2012-01007, and should be submitted to:

    Dwayne Johnson
    Regulatory Branch, CESWG-RD-P
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    P.O. Box 1229
    Galveston, Texas 77553-1229
    409-766-6353 Phone
    409-766-6301 Fax
    swg_public_notice@usace.army.mil

  15. Terry Elkins says:

    I grew up in Houston and remember this stretch of bayou well. It was peaceful and quiet, absolutely as beautiful, a pristine wilderness in the middle of urban sprawl and development, noise and pollution. I just don’t understand why all of Houston, citizens and elected members alike don’t join together to preserve this part of Houston’s history and heritage. It’s even more important now to keep this part of Houston untouched, undeveloped. What a shame it would be to loose this.

  16. Denise Broooks says:

    Please don’t destroy the natural bayou. What does it look like since the flood memorial day . I travel Allen parkway all the time. They have not completed this project. It already needs repairs. Who is making these decisions. I think this is bad for the people and the environment .

    1. Thanks, Denise. We have a report coming up about the impact of the flood in the project area as well as in the badly eroding Buffalo Bayou Park, which was also a flood control “natural stable channel design” project. But we have also to get our public comments into the Corps before June 5, so we have to ask for a little patience.

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