February 01, 2010
Flood Control District Honored with 2010 Arbor Day Award
Recognizing the Harris County Flood Control District’s efforts to bring mature trees to Hermann Park after Hurricane Ike uprooted hundreds of pines in 2008, Trees for Houston has awarded the District the 2010 Arbor Day Award.
A Unique Opportunity
While the Flood Control District regularly works to save trees that otherwise would be disrupted by bayou widening and stormwater detention projects, it typically relocates them to other rights-of-way along channels and detention basins. About 300 felled trees in Hermann Park, however, prompted the Flood Control District last March to relocate 72 oak, elm and cypress trees to the 445-acre city park. The trees were carefully spaded from a segment along Brays Bayou between Almeda Road and Ardmore Street that was to be widened as part of the $450 million Brays Bayou Flood Damage Reduction Project (Project Brays).
A Significant Flood Damage Reduction Project
Project Brays consists of widening the bayou from its mouth at the Houston Ship Channel to Fondren Road and from Old Westheimer Road to Highway 6; excavating four regional detention basins with a total combined capacity of seven “Astrodomes” of stormwater storage; and replacing or modifying 32 bridges. This project is the largest undertaking by the Harris County Flood Control District. The project’s federal partner is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Doing the Right Thing
The Flood Control District typically plants new trees once projects are completed, but it also strives to preserve trees when possible. The District performs tree rescues when its projects put large, desirable trees in harm’s way. These trees are typically moved near their original locations outside a construction zone, or sometimes to areas farther away.
Trees for Houston is a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 with a mission to plant, promote and protect trees all over the greater Houston area.
A Hundred Thousand Trees?
Since 2001, the District has planted roughly 100,000 trees on project sites countywide. In fact, the District has planted so many trees it exhausted its local supply and had to launch its own tree nursery. There, the District currently growing about 6,600 trees, many of which are hard to find, including bald cypress and water tupelo - water-loving trees that can thrive in wet conditions. The tree nursery can accommodate more than 20,000 trees, if needed. Typically, the District plants native trees including loblolly pines, river birch, cherry laurels, sycamores and many types of oak.