The Harris County Toll Road Authority’s proposed Segment E of the Grand Parkway would stretch a little over 15 miles from Interstate 10 to US 290 — cutting right through the Katy Prairie. Casey Cutler is with the Galveston District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. He says projects that impact the nation’s waters, like this one, must be issued a permit from the Corps before construction can start.
“The ultimate goal nationwide for the Corps of Engineers is to create an environment of sustainable development.”
The Authority’s current proposal would impact wetlands on the Katy Prairie. But it plans on compensating for any damage by cultivating and enhancing wetlands at another location — the Greens Bayou Mitigation Bank in northeast Harris County. But environmental groups don’t like the idea; they want the damage to be offset by improvements to the Katy Prairie itself. Mary-Anne Piacentini is the Director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy.
“The proponents of the Grand Parkway should ensure that they restore, enhance, improve or protect some of those same ecological resources on the other part of the Katy Prairie.”
Piacentini says the Conservancy is not for or against the project; it just wants to ensure the prairie will be fairly compensated for any damage the project may cause. There is also concern among local groups that the construction of Segment E will lead to new development in the area, which they fear will impact even more of the local habitat. The deadline for public comment is tomorrow.
Image from The Grand Parkway Association.