County Commissioners Vote Yay

Approval to Go Forward with Contracts to Destroy Riparian Forest for Bayou Detention

Nov. 14, 2017

On the Radio

Excellent commentary from environmental lawyer Jim Blackburn on the vote by Harris County Commissioners today (Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017) to go forward with contracts for detention basins in public forest alongside the channel of Buffalo Bayou. Save Buffalo Bayou is quoted also.

Note that the KUHF reporter describes the issue as Not in My Backyard. No one on the Save Buffalo Bayou board or advisory board lives anywhere near this proposed project. This series of detention basins (not just one) will be built in a public park, public forest, riparian forest in west Houston. Creating only a modest amount of holding capacity (280 acre feet), they will not hold back water flowing into the bayou but will temporarily peel off water that is already in the bayou, and will have to be continually maintained and scraped of sediment.

Detention is important and vital. Bigger, wider floodplains are important. That means buyouts.

New motto: Stop Raindrops Where They Fall!

Public tax dollars should be spent where they will create the most benefit. Flood management policy should be focused on detaining stormwater before it enters our streams. The flood control district had the choice years ago of building bigger, more useful detention basins elsewhere. They chose not to do that.

Listen to the broadcast on Houston Matters, KUHF 88.7


And On the Tee Vee

KHOU reporter Adam Bennett’s report on the flood control proposal to remove trees on the forested public banks of Buffalo Bayou in Terry Hershey Park. The controversial plan, long in the works, is to create a series of basins to temporarily hold water overflowing from the bayou. Save Buffalo Bayou thinks the time to stop stormwater is before it gets into our streams. Forest provides valuable detention. Removing it makes no sense.

What would Terry do?

Watch the report on KHOU Channel 11.


And In The Houston Chronicle

Flood control “improvements” will definitely destroy public forest along Buffalo Bayou in Terry Hershey Park. They’ve pulled an existing, long-opposed plan off the shelf to look like they are doing something, anything, about reducing flood damages. This won’t help. We are not in favor of trees because they look pretty. We’re in favor of trees because they help reduce flooding.

The Chronicle’s Mihir Zaveri’s report on the issue and the vote:

Commissioners Court on Tuesday voted unanimously to let the Harris County Flood Control District sketch out what exactly a study of that segment of the bayou would examine.

The Court would have to vote again to green light the actual study, which could recommend flood reduction measures, such as clearing trees and installing detention ponds.

Susan Chadwick, executive director of the nonprofit Save Buffalo Bayou, opposed the flood control district’s study, stating that residents in the area had been fighting for years to keep the forests’ natural aesthetic.

Read the rest of this story in the Houston Chronicle.

3 thoughts on “County Commissioners Vote Yay”

  1. Dedo says:

    Really? You choose trees over people? Suggest you get out of your safe dry homes and take a walk through those neighborhoods that were flooded and see the impact that having your home and contents destroyed by flood waters has on the families. Maybe you should consider hugging people instead of trees.

    1. People need trees. There is no choice of people or trees. Trees did not cause flooding of homes. Too much water in our streams causes flooding of homes. Homes built in the natural floodplain of our bayous and streams causes flooding of homes. Trees and vegetation help slow the rain running off the houses built in the floodplain that causes flooding in the streams.

      These detention basins would not stop the rain from running off into the bayou. They are designed to temporarily sideline a small amount of flow in the bayou after the bayou is already flooded with stormwater. They would not have saved anyone’s home during Harvey.

      We need to focus our tax dollars on solutions that are most cost-effective and practical. And neighborhoods and homeowners that flooded might want to look at what they can do to slow rain runoff to reduce flooding. Stopping stormwater before it gets into the bayou is current best management practice in flood management.

      Many of the people active with Save Our Forest in the neighborhoods along Terry Hershey Park were badly flooded. They know what it’s like. They are not blaming it on trees.

  2. James Langley says:

    Another Solution

    Don’t damage BB with additional civil engineering.

    The USACE should drain Barker/Addicks to the west and south by constructing a “big ditch” to the Gulf. Better to disrupt farmland than to widen, deepen and straighten BB. This would open the counties west of Harris to development without the need to drain everything through the Bayou and Downtown Houston. Crossing the Brazos and San Bernard rivers would also provide a secondary path for those often flooding rivers.

    James Langley
    Langley Associates LLC

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