Japhet Creek

A journal of the restoration project for Japhet Creek in north Houston, TX.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Oct. 23rd Restoration Day

We had another fabulous day of weather for the last restoration day at Japhet Creek. Nine volunteers pulled out 17 bags of trash and unearthed 16 tires. We also planted a chile pequin plant next to the bald cypresses from last week. Both will provide habitat and food for the wild life in the area. As we were working last week, I thought about legacy. The work that we're all engaged in with the creek will not only help the habitat of local animals, but will create a legacy that young people now can enjoy in the future. A time will come when people stopping by the creek will never know that had been a dumping ground for decades.

Joe Icet from the Last Organic Outpost and I had spoken about the relationship between the creek and the gardens. He referred to a web site Wild Farm Alliance which examines the positive impact on commercial farming from wild areas. The creek and garden may be experiencing some of that effect. As late as September, people along the creek reported seeing fire flies. This activity is somewhat rare so late in the year. As I speculated on it with a friend, it may be that creek provides some of the moist and cool habitat for the larva and the garden attracts a greater variety of insects which the firefly larva feed upon. This last September was one of the hottest in recorded history for Texas which might also have to do with the lengthened season for fireflies.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sept. 17th restoration day

We had a great time at the Sept. 17th restoration day. The crews hauled up over 55 bags of trash and several large tires that had been haunting the creek bed for years. Thanks to the following organizations for participating in this restoration day: Scot Barnes with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Jada England from Green Mountain Energy, students from University of St. Thomas,
and students from the Seaborne ChalleNGe Corps. These groups along with many individuals helped to make this day a success.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

REI presentations

Tonight, I finished the second of my presentations at REI. Their outreach coordinator, Christian McNeil, had asked me to tell their members and visitors about the restoration. A handful of folks showed up to the presentation and asked mostly about the historical features of the creek and surrounding neighborhood. Christian said that they'd publicize our workdays and possibly formally sponsor it as a REI workday.

We're planning on scheduling two workdays per month in Sept., Oct. and Nov. With that amount of time, we should make some good headway on cleaning out much of the light trash in the area. We're also working with the owner of the rice mill across the street from Japhet to use his facilities for a fundraising event and volunteer appreciation event. More details as they arise.

Monday, July 11, 2005

revegetation of washout area

The washout area has been slowly becoming revegetated. In the winter and early fall, we planted seeds and a few plants in hoping to control some of the erosion. Now, the area is becoming revegetated. Wildflowers such as Clasping Coneflower, Goldenwave , Scarlet Sage, and a handful of sunflowers. The short grasses that spread in the fall have begun to die back and the tall grasses are beginning to sprout and seed. Unfortunately, I don't know the names of grasses as well as wildflowers. The virginia sweetspire died probably due to the dry June that we had, but the False Indigo is thriving, probably because its native riparian background. Even one of the inland seaoats has survived long enough to send out seeds.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Great News!

Scott called from Buffalo Bayou Partnership www.buffalobayou.org/ and left a message yesterday. Ann had received a letter from Mayor White telling her that the plan to box culvert and cover Japhet Creek has been permanently removed from the budget. No word on whether any of the $1.2 million would be redirected for the clean up. We would appreciate e-mail suggesting this being sent to the mayor or city council members www.cityofhouston.gov/ . Don't forget to thank them for saving the creek.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

April 9th Workday

We had another successful workday on April 9th. The fifteen volunteers cleared out over 35 bags of trash and about 500 pounds of scrap metal. Alan Atkinson from Bayou Vistas donated his backhoe and operators and pulled out about 50 tires from the banks of the creek near the bridge. Thanks to all for your help in making this project happen.

Our next work day is Sat. May 7th from 8 am to 1 pm. Bring rubber boots or old shoes, a long sleeve shirt and gloves. We'll have some gloves, goggles and some mosquito spray. Enjoy a day of community and meet some new friends while we help to clean one of the only natural tributaries north of Buffalo Bayou. If you can't help down in the creek, we're always in need of people to help with registration or cook hotdogs at the end of the day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Work Day Success!

The first workday completed successfully. We had over 15 volunteers who gave their Saturday mornings to help clean up Japhet. Together we hauled out approximately 80 bags of trash and over 1000 pounds of scrap iron. We cleaned around the Emile Stree bridge and about a hundred feet from the Clinton box culvert. Volunteers had fun while talking with interesting folks and munching on hotdogs and chips at day's end. Although much of the heavy items remain such as large slabs of concrete, tires and scrap metal, the cleanup efforts have had a visible effect. On Monday, Alan Atkinson donated the use of his backhoe and two workers to haul away the many tires near the Emile St. Bridge. Through their work, over 250 tires will make their way to a recycling plant and out of the habitat of birds, turtle, frogs, and rabbits.

Special thanks to Jimmy Pryor and Sunbody Hats for donating large nylon bags for hauling massive amounts of chip bags, plastic bottles, and scrap clothing. A huge thanks to Alan Atkinson of Bayou Vista, Ltd for the donation of his backhoe and the labor of his workers for two days. Over the course of three days, they pulled over 250 tires from the banks of Japhet Creek near the Emile Street bridge.