Japhet Creek

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Community Assets Survey

Japhet Creek Restoration Project Skills Survey

The Japhet Creek Restoration coordinating team is group that's working to restore and preserve the stretch of Japhet Creek that passes through the Emile bridge and the railroad tressil. We're accomplishing these goals by creating paths to the creek, clearing out the trash, creating a structure to bridge the communities on both banks of the creek, increasing the diversity of the plant life and controlling erosion.

Part I -- Skills Information

We are interested in all your skills and abilities. They may have been learned through experience in the home or with your family. They may be skills you've learned at church or in the community. They may also be skills you have learned on the job.


Caring for the Elderly ________

Caring for the Mentally Ill ________

Caring for the Sick ________

Caring for the Physically Disabled or Developmentally Disabled ________

What kind of care did you provide?

Bathing ________

Feeding ________

Preparing Special Diets ________

Exercising and Escorting ________

Grooming ________

Dressing ________

Making the Person Feel at Ease ________


Typing (words per minute) ________

Operating Adding Machine/Calculator ________

Filing Alphabetically/Numerically ________

Taking Phone Messages ________

Writing Business Letters (not typing) ________

Receiving Phone Orders ________

Operating Switchboard ________

Keeping Track of Supplies ________

Shorthand or Speedwriting ________

Bookkeeping ________

Entering Information into Computer ________

Word Processing ________

Construction and Repair

Painting ________

Porch Construction or Repair ________

Tearing Down Buildings ________

Knocking Out Walls ________

Wall Papering ________

Furniture Repairs ________

Repairing Locks ________

Building Garages ________

Bathroom Modernization ________

Building Room Additions ________

Tile Work ________

Installing Drywall & Taping ________

Plumbing Repairs ________

Electrical Repairs ________

Bricklaying & Masonry ________

Cabinetmaking ________

Kitchen Modernization ________

Furniture Making ________

Installing Insulation ________

Plastering ________

Soldering & Welding ________

Concrete Work (sidewalks) ________

Installing Floor Coverings ________

Repairing Chimneys ________

Heating/Cooling System Installation ________

Putting on Siding ________

Tuckpointing ________

Cleaning Chimneys (chimney sweep) ________

Installing Windows ________

Building Swimming Pools ________

Carpentry Skills ________

Roofing Repair or Installation ________


Window Washing ________

Floor Waxing or Mopping ________

Washing and Cleaning Carpets/Rugs ________

Routing Clogged Drains ________

Using a Handtruck in a Business ________

Caulking ________

General Household Cleaning ________

Fixing Leaky Faucets ________

Mowing Lawns ________

Planting & Caring for Gardens ________

Pruning Trees & Shrubbery ________

Cleaning/Maintaining Swimming Pools ________

Floor Sanding or Stripping ________

Wood Stripping/Refinishing ________


Catering ________

Serving Food to Large Numbers of People (over 10) ________

Preparing Meals for Large Numbers of People (over 10) ________

Clearing/Setting Tables for Large Numbers of People (over 10) ________

Washing Dishes for Large Numbers of People (over 10) ________

Operating Commercial Food Preparation Equipment ________

Bartending ________

Meatcutting ________

Baking ________

Child Care

Caring for Babies (under 1 year) ________

Caring for Children (1 to 6) ________

Caring for Children (7 to 13) ________

Taking Children on Field Trips ________


Driving a Car ________

Driving a Van ________

Driving a Bus ________

Driving a Taxi ________

Driving a Tractor Trailer ________

Driving a Commercial Truck ________

Driving a Vehicle/Delivering Goods ________

Hauling ________

Operating Farm Equipment ________

Driving an Ambulance ________

Operating Equipment & Repairing Machinery

Repairing Radios, TVs, VCRs, Tape Recorders ________

Repairing Other Small Appliances ________

Repairing Automobiles ________

Repairing Trucks/Buses ________

Repairing Auto/Truck/Bus Bodies ________

Using a Forklift ________

Repairing Large Household Equipment (e.g., refrigerator) ________

Repairing Heating & Air Conditioning System ________

Operating a Dump Truck ________

Fixing Washers/Dryers ________

Repairing Elevators ________

Operating a Crane ________

Assembling Items ________


Writing Reports ________

Filling out Forms ________

Planning Work for Other People ________

Directing the Work of Other People ________

Making a Budget ________

Keeping Records of All Your Activities ________

Interviewing People ________


Operating a Cash Register ________

Selling Products Wholesale or for Manufacturer (If yes, which products?) ________

Selling Products Retail (If yes, which products?) ________

Selling Services (If yes, which services?) ________

How have you sold these products or services? ________

Door to Door ________

Phone ________

Mail ________

Store ________



Singing ________

Play an Instrument (Which one?) ________


Guarding Residential Property ________

Guarding Commercial Property ________

Guarding Industrial Property ________

Armed Guard ________

Crowd Control ________

Ushering at Major Events ________

Installing Alarms or Security Systems ________

Repairing Alarms or Security Systems ________



Upholstering ________

Sewing ________

Dressmaking ________

Crocheting ________

Knitting ________

Tailoring ________

Moving Furniture or Equipment to Different Locations ________

Managing Property ________

Assisting in the Classroom ________

Hair Dressing ________

Hair Cutting ________

Phone Surveys ________

Jewelry or Watch Repair ________

Are there any other skills that you have which we haven't mentioned?

Priority Skills

When you think about your skills, what three things do you think you do best?

Which of all your skills are good enough that other people would hire you to do them?

Are there any skills you would like to teach?

What skills would you most like to learn?

Part II -- Community Skills

Have you ever organized or participated in any of the following community activities?

Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts ________

Church Fundraisers ________

Bingo ________

School-Parent Associations ________

Sports Teams ________

Camp Trips for Kids ________

Field Trips ________

Political Campaigns ________

Block Clubs ________

Community Groups ________

Rummage Sales ________

Yard Sales ________

Church Suppers ________

Community Gardens ________

Neighborhood Organization ________

Other Groups or Community Work? ________

Which of these you would be willing to participate in the future.

Part III -- Enterprising Interests and Experience

Business Interest

Have you ever considered starting a business? Yes _____No _____

If yes, what kind of business did you have in mind?

Did you plan to start it alone or with other people? Alone _____Others _____

Did you plan to operate it out of your home? Yes _____No _____

What obstacle kept you from starting the business?

Business Activity

Are you currently earning money on your own through the sale of services or products?Yes _____No _____

If yes, what are the services or products you sell?

Whom do you sell to?

How do you get customers?

What would help you improve your business?

Part IV -- Personal Information





Sex: F_____ M_______

"Reprinted with permission of John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight, pp. 19-25, from Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets, Evanston, IL: Institute for Policy Research (1993)."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Goals and Harris County Flood Control

Some initial goals for the project:

erosion control (perhaps through native grasses and trees) especially on the north side near the sewage line that's lost a lot from the fallen tree

creating paths to the creek
clearing out trash
creating bridge
increasing the diversity of the plant life

I spoke with Ralph Taylor from Harris County Flood Control. He had trouble finding it on his maps initially and wasn't originally sure that it was under their jurisdiction. He said rather than serving as a ditch that the county had created, it was probably a natural stream. When I told him a little of the history of the the creek, he sounded excited and said that preserving some of the history of the place might make use eligible for TX Parks and Wildlife Grants. He also said that Harris County Pollution Control could send out County inmates to clear out the larger pieces of metal, tires and concrete. We'd have to get into the queue, but he said it's a resource for the project. I wasn't sure how much we wanted the creek restoration project to get out and how comfortable you'd feel having inmates work on the property. The other problem would be access to the large materials. Ralph overall sounded excited about the project and it seemed that he wanted to help out more than getting the whole department involved. He is going to send a package to me with information about erosion control plants as well as contacts for Buffalo Bayou Preservation Society.

I believe one of the next steps is to get the survey out to people within the neighborhood and other interested parties so that we can start to see how people want to help out with the project. I'll work on it and post it here or send it to you email address.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Japhet Creek intro

Japhet creek winds its way from Clinton Drive to Buffalo Bayou. Along its way, it passes through an industrial complex, a neighborhood, around a scrap metal yard and finally passes underneath a sewage line and train trellis to finally integrate with Buffalo Bayou. The high banks are scattered with woodferns, greenbriar, yaupon trees, tangling vines, and Georgia cane grows along the tops of the banks. Small clumps of garlic chives grow within the grey clay soils. Ruella and papyrus also contribute to anchor the banks of the stream in place. Among the plants, discarded concrete, tires, and heavy scrap metal lay discarded. Small rivulets of stream water bubble up from a source underneath the Emile St. bridge. The bottom of the stream is mostly sandy with pebbles of gravel helping to stream the clearish brown water. The southeast bank near the scrap metal plant has a fallen tree and large amounts of erosion which have created a steep cliff of bare soil.