Japhet Creek

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

Sunday, January 23, 2005

experts meeting, neighborhood meeting and urban forester

We had the meeting of the experts on creek restoration on Friday Jan. 22nd. In attendance were Scott Barnes (dir. of conservation) and Anne Olson (president) (Buffalo Bayou Partnership), Eric Ruckstuhl (Bayou Preservation Association), Steve Hupp (Harris County Pollution Control), Bobby K Wilson (civil engineer), Karen Dorris ( nursery owner),
Thomas McWharter (Greater Houston Preservation Alliance), Eileen Hatcher (co-founder Japhet Civic Association), Nancy Sorenson (Last Organic Outpost). We spoke about the general goals of the project and surveyed some of the critical parts of the creek: the headwaters on Clinton, the Emile bridge and the section that runs under the train tressel. We also hiked along the train tracks north of Clinton and saw another section of the creek that contains a foot and a half wide pipe which presumably ends in the box culvert on Clinton. The pipe was surrounded with years of styrofoam, plastic bottles and other trash. Eric indicated that cleaning up that area should be a top priority because it all flows into the creek from there. This portion of the creek was within sight distance of a 5th Ward Redevelopment housing site and we talked some about getting them involved in this aspect of the cleanup and maintenance.

At the end of the meeting, we spoke informally about what some of the next steps might be. Scott recommended a Habitat Analysis and water testing. Jim mentioned talking with the Proler company about donating some heavy equipment and storage for the trash pulled out of the creek. Anne spoke about contacting the 5th Ward Redevelopment Co and the Public Land Trust for potential partnerships and the creation of green space or parks. Eric and Steve taked about getting together to talk about the scope and time table for the cleanup phase.

On other fronts:

Jim is planning a neighborhood meeting on Feb. 4th in the evening. We'll talk about the project to neighbors and other interested parties and encourage volunteering for the project.

Jim has also spoken with TJ Marks who is an urban forester about walking through the creek and making recommendations for tree planting sites and species at the appropriate juncture in the project.

Jim and I are also investigating whether some of our contact on various board with the last name Japhet are related to the Japhets that the creek is named after.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Contact Info

I wanted to get these online as more people become involved in the project.

Jim Ohmart
Japhet Civic Association President
JMOhmart@aol.com (713) 674-2528

Brian Herod
JCA project coordinator
713-480-6303 m

Scott Barnes
Buffalo Bayou Partnership
832-687-5848 M 713-752-0314 O

Erik Ruckstuhl
Bayou Preservation Association
713-298-3021 m

Steve Hupp
Harris County Pollution Control
713) 920-2831

Anne Olson
president, Buffalo Bayou Preservation Association

Friday, January 14, 2005

Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Bayou Preservation Society

I talked with Scott Barnes from the Bayou Preservation Society about the creek. He said that they could conduct an inventory of the organisms currently in the creek. He suggested it because they've seen sightings of beavers from the mouth of the creek. The beavers had young and he wanted to make sure that we were aware of any dams so that the workers hauling away the trash wouldn't disturb them. He said that the exec director of BBP, Anne Olsen, had talked to him this same day about exploring making that section of the creek one of their next projects. He also said that after the trash was hauled out that the next phase of the project could be an inventory of the canopy and making recommendations to increase the diversity of the flora and fauna. He said that he'd attend the meeting on Jan. 21st.

I also spoke with Eric Ruckstuhl from the Bayou Preservation Association. He said that this project would be a good candidate for forming a second team for the Harris county Pollution Control. He said that he'd attend the meeting on Jan. 21st as well.

Overall, it's looking like the first phase will involve cleaning the creek of trash. The next step will involve creating paths along a section of the creek with a way of getting across the creek. Afterwards, the next step is working to restore the stream current through earth moving, daylighting, and plantings along the banks. These steps will help to attract the wildlife to the area.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Harris County Pollution Control

I spoke with Steve Hupp 713) 920-2831 at the Harris County Pollution Control. He said that his group is working on White Oak Bayou as well as Buffalo Bayou west of the loop. They go in and remove and recycle the large trash within these regions and will even remove exotic species of plants. He said one of the keys to success was maintenance efforts on the part of the neighborhoods where they do the cleanups otherwise, the watersheds revert back to their original state. The inmates they work with are ones that are about to be released for minor drug and alcohol offenses. Unarmed guard accompany the inmates at all times. He said that he could meet at the creek the week of Jan. 17th. I have Thursday morning and most of Friday clear that week.

Next steps:

send out survey to community
plan for workdays
coordinate with Harris County Pollution Control if we decide to go that way.