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EPA Administrator Cheers On Houston’s Bayou Development Projects

The head of the EPA took a tour of Buffalo Bayou Park.


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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy took a tour of Buffalo Bayou Park.

Mayor Annise Parker showed off what some consider one of Houston’s best assets. The park along Buffalo Bayou is currently being improved and the trails expanded as part of the Buffalo Bayou master plan. And then there’s the $215 million Bayou Greenways Initiative, which connects all parks along the city’s bayous.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy didn’t hide her enthusiasm for the projects.

“I think I’m here mainly to say, ‘Yahoo!’ This is just great in so many ways… This is one of the city of Houston’s most vital resources, and to have you embrace it the way that you have is very exciting.”

She also says the Buffalo Bayou revitalization is part of a trend across the country to move away from concrete channels and see water as a resource.

“That it’s best to keep it local. It’s wonderful to open it up as a flood management strategy, that also provides this wonderful opportunity for people to recreate and to sort of rejuvenate their souls by being back out in open spaces that are beautiful for them, for their health and the economic vitality of the city.”

Mayor Parker says Houston’s bayou system is the city’s best defense against natural disasters.

“Only through a strong, vibrant natural landscape can we combat natural disasters like major hurricanes, our annual flooding and issues of water pollution. Water quality is a key concern in Houston and along our bayous, and we continually work, as our storms become more intense, to protect our water quality from storm water runoff and then to protect homes and other property from flooding.”

She suggested to McCarthy to look to what cities like Houston are doing to improve environmental quality. That may sound like an unusual suggestion to some, considering Houston is probably more known for its bad air quality and for reliably failing to meet ozone standards.

But Parker says Houston has more to offer when it comes to water quality.

“There are different environmental issues that we must address. There’s water quality issues, air quality issues, the amount of open green space. The administrator today was focused on water quality and the city of Houston has some model programs in terms of water quality that we’re very proud of and the EPA is recognizing.”

McCarthy also praised the Buffalo Bayou project for not just revitalizing Houston but also addressing the challenges of climate change.




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