Japhet Creek

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

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.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Mar. 19th Workday

When: Saturday Mar. 19th, 8 am registration begins 9am cleanup begins

Where: Japhet Creek on the corner of Emile and Clinton Drive

What to expect: Join with others who care about restoring Japhet Creek to it's natural state. Volunteers will pick up light trash with a garbage bag and carry it to a dumpster. The creek has about a 15 foot steep slope on the banks without pathways. Pathways are planned at a later date.

What to bring: Old clothes that you don't mind getting muddy. Old shoes or preferably rubber boots. Plastic gloves that are water resistant. Some cloth gloves will be availble. Garbage bags will be available. Mosquito repellent. Anything else that will help you to make this a comfortable and productive day.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Work Days

We've scheduled the first workdays for the project on Mar. 19th and April 9th. We'll begin at 8 and work until about 1 pm. Jim is working with the 5th Ward Super Neighborhood Council on getting a dumpster delivered to the site. I've applied for trashbags, gloves and goggles for the workday with Sonia at Keep Houston Beautiful. We would need to pick them up on the friday before and return them on Monday. We also need to fill out a score card for the cleanup day to give to KHB.

Jim and I need to iron out the plans on the bathrooms as well as drinks and possibly food afterwards. We'll probably need a registration table with a big sign as well. People will need to fill out the waivers, which Jim is working on. We'll probably base them on the KHB ones.

On Friday Mar. 4th, Jim and I are meeting with Eric Ruckstuhl from the Bayou Preservation Association for him to train us on removing non-native invasive from the creek. We'll work on that at the same time as the cleanup in order to remove some of the understory which might get in the way of volunteers cleaning up. It will also set the stage for the reintroduction of native species.

politics and grass

Tonight, I attended Houston City Councilman Adrian Garcia's Capital Improvement Plan townmeeting. Citizens had an opportunity to comment on the CIP for the next 5 years. Members of many of the city's departments attended: public works, fire, police, planning. I talked to someone in Public Works about who we needed to carbon copy when we sent the petition to the mayor. He indicated that we needed to send it to the director of Public Works, Michael S. Marcotte, and the deputy directorDaniel Krueger, P.E.who is responsible for the implementation of the CIP.

Jim is working on the letter to the Mayor to stop the CIP project and is gathering the signatures on the petitions. We'll send them to the mayor, Public Works, and to the councilmembers associated with the project.

At the creek, some of the grass seeds I planted a few weeks ago are taking root. The Virginia sweetspire and the false indigo are also doing well and waiting for summer to begin growing above the ground. The grass has grown to about 4-5 inches in length at about a foot's distance from each other. It's probably switch grass which grows tall and forms a dense set of roots which will help to stabilize the banks.