For Immediate Release
June 16, 2014
Opponents of $6 million project to bulldoze the wild banks of Buffalo Bayou to address Houston City Council Tuesday, June 17
Project is a pointless waste of money and will cause irreversible loss of natural flood, erosion, and sediment control, wildlife habitat, and hundreds of trees in middle of city.
Houston, TX, June 16, 2014—Opponents of a bizarre plan to destroy Buffalo Bayou in order to “restore” it will urge Mayor Annise Parker and members of city council to withdraw their support for the costly project.
The project will raze hundreds of trees and all the vegetation from nearly 1.5 miles of some of the only natural bayou left in the center of Houston. Speakers will argue that the plan will destroy a unique natural treasure. Houston is one of the only large cities in the country with such a wilderness resource available to the public in its center.
The City of Houston is spending $2 million for a project to scrape, excavate, and rechannel Buffalo Bayou as it flows through the Hogg Bird Sanctuary and past Memorial Park on the north and the River Oaks County Club golf course on the south. Harris County and the country club are each contributing $2 million also, although the club owns half of the project area.
Speakers will argue at the council’s open meeting on Tuesday afternoon that the project has no environmental benefit, contrary to the claims of the Harris County Flood Control District, which has applied to the Army Corps of Engineers for a permit. The Corps is currently accepting public comments on the permit application until June 30.
The Houston City Council open meeting begins on Tuesday, June 17, at 1:30 p.m., in the Council Chamber on the second floor of City Hall, 901 Bagby, Houston 77002.
Opponents will describe the importance and function of a riparian forest to the ecology of the bayou, to erosion, flood, and sediment control, and to water quality. They will address the historic significance of the project area, which has rare geologic features such as sandstone rock ledges, natural springs, and high bluffs thousands of years old. The location is a State Antiquities Landmark and one of the few remaining sites of a World War I military training camp.
The 2004 Conservation Master Plan for Memorial Park described the bayou as stable and a valuable environmental and educational resource and recommended that the bayou be left alone, a recommendation that will also be brought to the attention of the council.
In addition, speakers will argue that the invasive and costly technique proposed is controversial, unproven, and often fails and washes out. In a 2009 videotaped interview, Dave Rosgen, the author of the so-called “Natural Channel Design” method proposed, described the section of Buffalo Bayou to be destroyed as a “living, functional river system,” “wonderful,” “natural,” “functioning,” and “stable.”
Opponents will offer alternatives to the highly destructive proposal, called the Memorial Park Demonstration Project.
Save Buffalo Bayou is a coalition of individuals and organizations including the Sierra Club and the Endangered Species Media Project.
For more information, contact info@SaveBuffaloBayou.org