The flood control district is in the process of widening Brays Bayou from southwest Houston to where it empties into the Houston Ship Channel. A number of trees along the bayou were going to be cut down, until it was learned that the Hermann Park Conservancy was in the market for trees to replace those lost to Hurricane Ike last year. Flood Control spokeswoman Heather Saucier says it was a classic light-bulb moment.
“It is a happy convergence of two things. We are coming through and widening 21 miles of Brays Bayou and, unfortunately, in order to do this and bench it out a bit, we need to uproot a lot of trees.”
83 trees in all. Saucier says the district got with the Hermann Park people and arranged to move most of the trees to the park.
“Hermann Park is more than a hundred years old. A lot of their trees have reached the end of their natural life span. And another thing a lot of people don’t realize is that during Hurricane Ike, the park lost more than 300 trees.”
So the flood control district is moving 73 trees to Hermann Park. The remaining ten trees will be moved a few miles downstream to where the bayou has already been widened. Hermann Park Conservancy Director Doreen Stoller says people who haven’t been to the park in a long time would be stunned to know how much damage the hurricane caused.
“Hurricane Ike inflicted pretty severe damage on the tree canopy in the park. We lost about 200 trees in the main part of the park, and another hundred trees on the golf course.”
Stoller says this gift from the flood control district will go a long way toward repairing that damage.
“The backside of McGovern Lake is a natural area with lots of east Texas native trees and perennial plantings. And these will be along the lake’s edge, creating a natural barrier between the lake and the tall buildings from the Medical Center.”
It’s costing about fifty-thousand dollars to move and transplant these trees, and the flood control district is absorbing that cost into the five hundred-million dollar Brays Bayou widening project.
Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.