Comments to Harris County Commissioners Court, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018

Regarding the removal of forest for the creation of detention ponds on Buffalo Bayou in Terry Hershey Park.


My name is Susan Chadwick. I am the executive director of Save Buffalo Bayou. And I am here mainly to remind you that we are watching, that we expect you do to the right thing.

We are opposed to the removal of trees on Buffalo Bayou or anywhere else. No thoughtful city does that. I am a native Houstonian. I grew up in this city and I understand it. And I think that in the past the people that have been running this place haven’t respected this city as a place. And it shows. We are suffering the consequences.

Trees, gardens, parks. We didn’t need that. That was just decoration. Ravines, creeks, bayous. We didn’t need those either. Fill ‘em in, cover them up, strip, pave over and develop everything.

Recently I have been traveling and passing through cities in the Midwest, places in Minnesota and Iowa, visiting the Mississippi headwaters and old towns founded like most were – like Houston was — on major rivers. And sometimes passing through you can sense and see the intelligence of a place, the level of public consensus about the right thing to do. Swales, rain gardens, native grasses everywhere. Amazingly the right thing to do generally translates into a softer, more beautiful, more functional city.

It’s easy and common to go for big construction projects in a situation like this. It looks good. Spreads the public money around. Right now there’s a lot of talk here about widening our bayous, making our streams into bigger drainage ditches. I would remind you that this will only result in more flooding, just as building bigger highways only results in more traffic congestion.

The Corps of Engineers recently has proposed a study to understand patterns of rainfall and drainage in the region. They did the same thing after Katrina in Louisiana. We are in favor of this study. We think it will help us make smart decisions to solve our problems and build a better place.

I’d like to add that I am kind of amazed that it costs $13 million to remove the sediment from some 10-20 miles of channel.

Thank you.