Energy & Environment

As Houston Sprawls, New Roads Proposed For Katy Prairie

Twenty thousand acres of protected prairie in northwest Harris County could be threatened by a plan to build new “thoroughfares” according to conservation group. The county disagrees.

West Houston map
West Houston map

A new plan is under consideration by Harris County, a plan to build or expand miles of roads or “thoroughfares” in and around thousands of acres managed by the Katy Prairie Conservancy in far northwest Harris County. The land plays a crucial role in absorbing storm water and reducing flooding.

Harris County’s Engineer, John Blount, says the county is very much aware of the sensitive environment and actually have eliminated 20 miles of new roads that had been proposed to cross the protected land.

“The goal here is to eliminate all these proposed roads not only within the conservancy boundaries, the 20 miles that are within their current boundaries, and there’s additional roads that come to their boundaries that would be eliminated also,“ Blount told News 88.7.

The Katy Prairie Conservancy has a different take on the plan.

“Yes there are some roads they’re dispensing with but they are also putting in brand new major thoroughfares that they’re proposing going through east-west and north-south of our preserve system,” says the conservancy’s Mary Anne Piacentini.

She says the proposed thoroughfares would not only hurt the existing nature preserve, some would loop around it, preventing future expansion of the protected area.

County Engineer Blount says the conservancy group should be happy with the new plan: “So I’m suggesting that perhaps they don’t fully understand the changes.”

Public comment on the proposed plan will be taken by the county through this Wednesday with a revised study to be considered by the County Commissioners Court in coming months.

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Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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