There is an lot happening this fall in the watershed, and we’d like to take a moment to share that with you. We were selected as beneficiaries of a couple of major charity golf tournaments, and will be featuring one this month and one in the next issue. Other news includes two grant renewals, new sustaining level members, a public policy wrap up, and reports on recent events and successes.
Annual Meeting Luncheon
The Coalition is hosting our 5th Annual Meeting Luncheon to update stakeholders on the state of the bayou.
Join us for a lunch with guest speaker Judge Ed Emmett as he discusses issues affecting the region and our watershed.
Location has not been determined, but you will receive updates as the event progresses. As usual, table sponsorships are available. If you know you or your company would be interested in supporting our event, please contact Candice Pauley at 281-874-2139.
5th Annual West Reach Clean-Up
On Saturday, October 5th, GBCC hosted its 5th annual West Reach Clean-up in partnership with Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), Trees for Houston and KBR. Groups from REI Willowbrook, Making A Difference Everyday (MADE), EHRA, and volunteers from CenterPoint, and our West reach committee. Forty-eight volunteers cleaned 2 miles of stream, removing 2 cubic yards of trash and planting 25 large native shrubs with the help of Trees for Houston. The event was a great success, and we will continue hosting it annually.
Prop 6 on Nov. 5th Ballot
GBCC Board Passes Resolution Supporting Prop 6
On Nov. 5th, Texans will be taking to their local polling station to cast votes on a number of propositions that would alter the state constitution. One voting item in particular is of great importance to GBCC and water organizations all over the state. Proposition 6 proposes to take $2 billion from the rainy day fund and use it to create the State Water Implementation Fund Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund Texas (SWIRFT). These two funds will be endowed with the ability to make loans to entities creating water projects outlined in the State Water Plan. Projects will focus on conservation and reuse, desalination of groundwater and seawater, and the building of new infrastructure like pipelines, reservoirs, and well fields.
There is no additional cost to taxpayers should this proposition pass, and the funds are set up to be self-perpetuating. As loans are paid back with interest, that money is able to be loaned out again for other projects.
The Coalition board of directors voted unanimously at the last board meeting to issue a statement of support for Prop 6, and we as an organization encourage you to vote, and support the proposition as well. After years of drought conditions and population growth set to be exponential, it is more crucial than ever that we address the issue of water in the state proactively. Please investigate the issues surrounding Prop 6, and vote on Nov. 5th. The links below will bring you to more information about Prop 6 and the Texas State Water Plan.
Halliburton Donates 25K to The Coalition
In early October, GBCC participated as a beneficiary of the Halliburton Annual Charity Golf Tournament. Halliburton presented us with a check for $25,000 that will benefit our water quality testing program, and provide North Reach project support. The support of Halliburton Charity Foundation, and the opportunity to spread the word and raise awareness of the Coalition cannot be valued in dollars. On the course, we were able to network with other area non-profits, talk to some amazing people, and begin what we hope is a continuing partnership for years to come.
The donation puts Halliburton Charity Foundation as our newest Sustaining Level member. We welcome them to the team, and look forward to working with them in the future.
Master Plan Project Site VisitEast Reach Committee Visits Site of Future Waste Management Preserve
The East Reach committee visited Waste Management for our August meeting. Following the meeting, a group of volunteers and Waste Management employees took a walking tour of the future site of the Waste Management Nature Preserve. This preserve will span 43 acres and include park equipment, walking trails and community access. This unique location has some impressive old growth and relatively few invasive plant species, as pointed out by Kelly Norrid with Sheldon Lake State Park. The walk through showed us a wild forest with diverse flora and fauna adjacent to a mitigation pond housing alligators. On the trek, we were able to witness a few deer grazing on the edges of the wooded area. A location with such diverse wildlife will be an excellent amenity to the Humble/Atascocita area.
Recent Grant Renewals
KBR Invests in West Reach for a Second Time
KBR has recently renewed a grant of $10,000 for West Reach projects. The original grant in 2010 was used as seed money for clean-up projects along Greens Bayou, and was leveraged over the course of three years and five events. Our clean-up events in the West Reach alone have brought 700 volunteers to the banks of Greens Bayou, cleaned over 13 miles of bayou and tributaries, and planted 125 native trees and shrubs.
This grant is KBR’s second investment in GBCC’s West Reach and is especially important now that, due to the drought, we have implemented a watering program to ensure the health of the trees planted. This program has increased cost of implementation of programs and clean-up events. However, with KBR’s generous renewal, we will continue to provide water for our trees and hosting clean-up events along the bayou.
LyondellBasell Renews Commitment to South Reach
For a second year, LyondellBasell is investing in GBCC South Reach projects with a $5,000 grant. In conjunction with grant funds, LyondellBasell used Thomas Bell Foster as their Global Care Day project, building trails, installing benches, and building a canoe launch that has since seen more than 400 paddlers with Bayou Shuttle Service alone since its installation. The funds coupled with their volunteer efforts have made Thomas Bell Foster park a beautiful location to kayak or canoe from, and their continued support will allow us to maintain trails, landscape the park, restore wetlands, and continue removing invasive species from the grounds. This park is an ongoing project, and would not be where it is today without LyondellBasell’s generous assistance.
Watershed Stewardship Training
The Houston-Galveston Area Council, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and the Texas Soil and Water Conservation Board are sponsoring two free workshops on water stewardship open to anyone interested in improving water quality in their community.
“The workshops are designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by becoming involved in local watershed protection and management activities,” said Dr. Allen Malone, AgriLife Extension agent for Harris County.
The training will focus on water quality, types of water pollution, where pollution originates, and how to improve water quality through community-driven programs.
To sign up for one of these events, visit http://tws.tamu.edu
Public Policy in D.C.
The Coalition Continues Representing the Watershed in WashingtonSince its inception post Tropical Storm Allison as a task force focused on flood mitigation solutions, the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition has been at the forefront of advocacy in Harris County. Since 2009 the organization’s Public Policy Committee has developed a strategic effort to secure funding for construction of the planned federal basin on Greens Bayou. The committee recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to continue that effort.
The basin is one of eight flood control projects planned for Greens Bayou and the only part of the overall system that will be overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal government authorized a study of flooding on Greens Bayou in 1948. The basin project was authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act bill of 1990 and Harris County Flood Control District met its local matching funds requirement by purchasing the property for the project in 1997. Since then the project has languished while waiting for construction appropriations and new start status in the federal budget. The purpose of the ongoing advocacy effort is to meet with members of Congress who serve on the Energy & Water Subcommittee of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, raise the project profile, and position it for funding.
Part of the goal of the committee was to emphasize three important facts: 1) the length of time the local community has waited for this project to be funded, 2) the investment that county citizens are putting into the larger system of flood mitigation on Greens Bayou, and 3) the critical infrastructure that would be protected by the project including Bush Intercontinental Airport, the Port of Houston and the Houston National Cemetery.
“This project is important to an overwhelming majority of the stakeholders we serve in our watershed,” said Executive Director Jill Boullion. “Certainly park and trail development is important and greatly needed but if someone’s home is in danger of flooding on a regular basis that is their highest concern. Flooding impacts property values and degrades neighborhoods. We’ll continue to advocate on the behalf of our watershed.”