It’s Not Dead Yet

Flood Control Still Pushing Costly, Destructive “Stabilization” Project on Buffalo Bayou

July 31, 2016

It’s a pointless, wasteful, ill-conceived, and maybe illegal project to rip up and raze trees and plants and wildlife habitat, dig up the banks, plug up tributaries, dredge and reroute the channel along one of the last natural stretches of Buffalo Bayou in Houston. This is a dreamy stretch of the river in the middle of the city, filled with beaver, otter, alligators, fish and flying creatures, and even edible plants.  It flows for more than a mile past our great public Memorial Park, a natural detention area and significant geologic site that features very old high bluffs and sandstone formations. All of which would be obliterated.

And after almost three years of adamant public opposition, the Harris County Flood Control District is still promoting the project, which will cost the taxpayers at least $4 million plus, not including future costs of maintenance and repair.

It’s mystifying why they want to do this, why they think it would even work, why they don’t realize that the bayou would wash it away or that it would simply all slump away, as has happened in Buffalo Bayou Park downstream, where taxpayers are footing the ever-mounting bill for constantly repairing the banks dug up and stripped of trees and vegetation by Flood Control.

Do They Not Have More Urgent Problems?

Surely, the flood control district has more urgent problems that require our hard-earned tax money. Harris County is one of the most flooded places in the country. And this project, billed as a “stabilization” and “bank restoration” program, will do nothing to address flooding and could even make it worse. The county should focus on the hundreds of miles of channelized bayous and streams unwisely covered in now-aging concrete that should be restored to something more natural and beneficial.

The project, called the Memorial Park Demonstration Project, was first proposed in 2010 by the Bayou Preservation Association under then board chair, Kevin Shanley, landscape architect and principal with SWA Group, the firm responsible for the ugly, obtrusive bridges, collapsing sidewalks, poorly-functioning dog park and non-functioning faux Hill Country fountain and stream in Buffalo Bayou Park.

Read the rest of this post.

Excavate fill

This map prepared by the Harris County Flood Control District shows the areas to be excavated (yellow) and filled (orange) in the proposed Memorial Park Demonstration Project. Note also the rerouting of the channel. Memorial Park and the Hogg Bird Sanctuary, including a tributary, are on the north, with houses in between. The entire south bank is River Oaks Country Club golf course.

2 thoughts on “It’s Not Dead Yet”

  1. Eric Huntley Johnson says:

    The problem is IMO the Wealth people on the side of the River Oaks County Club want this to happen. When was this golf course placed in this area that all should have stayed open as a marsh. Now with the Worst Flood in Houston’s History happening as I type this comment. Everyone in the Houston area of Texas is paying the price of over development. This flood doesn’t care if you’re Rich or Poor. And being Houston is only 50 feet over sea level and the over development that has happen since 1993. Houston needs to rethink everything on what to do for the future rains. I say get rid of this country club and some of the buildings and houses that have taken over. Mother Nature has already done this from the rains from Harvey so this maybe a blessing. Do not let anyone in the Buffalo Bayou rebuild what is lost to Mother Nature should be a final warning that shouldn’t be poo pooed.

    1. Thanks, Eric. Actually, if the country club hadn’t cut down so many trees — including recently with the redesign of the golf course — the area would serve as a valuable green space for slowing, absorbing, and spreading rainwater and runoff. The club, along with most country clubs in the state, receives a property tax break as an open space.

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