Japhet Creek

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

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The erosion from the bottom of the washout area. Posted by Hello


For the last few weeks, I've been checking on the wax myrtles and yaupon hollies that Jim, Eileen, Michele and I had planted at the washout area. Until yesterday, about 6 of them had survived and though not grown much above the ground had remained green. When Michele and I went yesterday to plant some wildflower seeds, we found that the soft ground above had given way and the plants were now covered by about a foot of soft clay. We went ahead and sowed the wildflower seeds in hopes that it would provide some erosion control. The seeds were a mix from Native American Seeds , the drainfield mix which is suitable for wet environments such as this one. It contains the following wildflowers:
Clasping Coneflower
Cutleaf Daisy
Scarlet Sage
Plains Coreopsis
Illinois Bundleflower
Black-eyed Susan
Pink Evening Primrose
Maximilian Sunflower
Obedient Plant
Pitcher Sage

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

meeting with 5th Ward Super Neighborhood leader

Jim and I met today with Alvin Byrd of the 5th ward super neighborhood. He gave us advice on what to do next in stopping the creation of the box culvert along Japhet Creek. He suggested that we talk with councilman at large Gordon Quan because he had supported a lot of work in bayou restoration. Alvin also suggested that we contact Robin Blue of Keep Houston Beautiful for resources during the cleanup. He also suggested that we tap into some of the companies surrounding Japhet Neighborhood saying that they might supply cranes and heavy equipment for getting some of the larger pieces of trash out of the creek.


A warning to the turtles and fish living in Japhet Creek, to the birds and squirrels living in the trees along Japhet Creek and especially to the families living in the homes in the Japhet neighborhood...... the City of Houston wants to bulldoze the trees and shrubs, cover the creek with a concrete box culvert and fill it in with dirt. Are we going to let that happen to the last natural tributary to Buffalo Bayou? Not just "NO!!" but "HELL NO!!". Brian discovered that the Capital Improvement Budget for 2007 lists "covering with concrete culvert and filling in Japhet Creek from Clinton Drive to Buffalo Bayou" for $ 1,200,000, not including the cost of acquiring the land. It would cost so much less than that to clean it up and preserve this flowing creek for green space, recreation and habitat for wildlife. If you have any suggestions on how to stop the City and redirect a small portion of the funds, please let Brian or I know.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Neighborhood meeting and Volunteer Tour

This weekend marked several milestones in the Japhet Creek restoration. First we met with the neighbors to inform them about what had been done with the project so far. We also wanted to get their input into the project. About 8 people attended. They watched a power point presentation on Jim's computer which included pictures of Watonga Creek in northwest Houston which might serve as a model for Japhet Creek. Those in attendance had a mostly positive response to the presentation and the way that we were approaching the cleanup. Few answered the question about what they saw were sacred vs. public parts of the creek, but they left excited.

Saturday, we took a tour of the creek with people interested in getting involved with the cleanup. Eric from Bayou Preservation Association attended as well. We started at the Clinton Culvert then crossed Clinton to travel down the train tracks to the source of much of the pollution. The tour continued to the Emile St. bridge, the dead end of Ursa and finally through the Last Organic Outpost to the railroad tressl. Rebecca Reyna from councilman Adrian Garcia's office attended as well. I gave her the short tour because she didn't have the shoes or the time to make the rest of the tour. She said that she thought that the neighborhood was outside her district, but that she could lend what help that they could. She suggested investigating whether the neighborhood could be included as a historic neighborhood with the city's historic district committee. She also said that some legal means were available to control the taxes for the neighborhood as developers built around it. Her office has worked extensively with issues of gentrification.

She also talked with Joe Nelson of the Last Organic Outpost. She was interested in the potential economic impact of gardening and inquired about classes in her district. She said that she'd refer Joe to their office's economic redevelopment director.

Eric gave Jim an official letter of support from BPA. It indicated that because of the lack of public land, it would be difficult to use inmates on the project. He said that he and Scott Barnes from Buffalo Bayou Partnership would investigate using clients of Cenikor and how they might fund it. He also mentioned fund-raising efforts to raise money for supplies and plants for the effort. Because of the upcoming spring and the return of the undergrowth to the creek, he volunteered to tag with spray paint non-native invasive plants and teach us how to eradicate them. Some of the funding would be used for native species that would thrive in that environment. After the tour, he said that he would also talk with Scott about the potential four public entry points for the inmates. One strategy he suggested was to have volunteers drag some of the heavier pieces to the public entry points so that the inmates could take them from those points.

Some next steps:

  • creating legal waiver forms

  • scheduling work dates in spring

  • possible fundraising efforts

  • gathering supplies for the work days

  • encouraging and coordinating volunteers for work days

Potential supplies needed:

  • rubber gloves (to protect against potential bacteria in water)

  • buckets and/or trash bags for hauling away trash

  • dumpster for hauling away work day trash

  • water & food for volunteers

Volunteers need to bring:

  • long sleeve shirt

  • old shoes or rubber boots

  • eye protection as necessary

Potential sponsors for:


trash bags

food & water for volunteers

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Steve Hupp from Harris Co. Pollution Control's efforts

The following is a section from an email from Steve Hupp at Harris County Flood Control:

One is to determine what part of the
waterway is public and thus can be accessed by the inmates and neighborhood
volunteers. I am seeking guidance on this from Harris County Flood Control
and the County Attorney's Office. The other is continued support through
the County for periodic waterway cleanups. I am seeking this through Flood
Control and then Harris County Precinct 1. Precinct 3 (west Harris County)
has a pilot program called Adopt a County Waterway. I am trying to see if
Precinct 1 will provided the same type of support. Has your group sought
support of your effort from the City of Houston?