Neighbors upset over proposed flood control plan

Neighbors are concerned about a proposed plan to level trees for the construction of detention ponds

November 4, 2011 4:03:00 PM PDT
Some west Houston residents are upset over preliminary plans to help prevent flooding along Buffalo Bayou. They're particularly concerned about this stretch between Wilcrest and Beltway 8, where hundreds of trees could be lost if one idea is approved.

Some neighbors we talked to say it's because of this forest along Buffalo Bayou that they moved into this area. They say a concept floating around about cutting down these trees has them fired up.

Lakeside forest is a quiet neighborhood, with lush trees backing up to Buffalo Bayou. It's an area neighbors like Bill Barton say they're working hard to protect right now.

He said, "The area they are going to tear down is about 40 acres of old growth forest."

Neighbors say they're concerned Harris County Flood Control District and the City of Houston may be planning to cut hundreds of trees in this area. They say it's part of a proposal to construct detention basins or holding ponds to help manage water for flood control.

"We want this thing postponed," Barton said. "If there is a flooding problem, we are proposing some alternative sites to put the detention ponds."

Right now neighbors are passing out maps. They say the proposed area around the bayou where trees could be leveled sits between Wilcrest and Beltway 8.

Resident Lee Barton said, "Well, I think it's a great shame to even consider cutting down trees in such a beautiful environment."

Fred Garcia with the Harris County Flood Control District confirms the agency's been conducting a study about detention basins in this area, but says there are no imminent plans for construction or leveling trees at this time.

Houston, at times, has quoted itself as having the most forested urban area of any major city," Bill Barton said.

Now neighbors say they are organizing and discussing possible alternatives with city and county leaders. They say they are ultimately concerned about wildlife, neighborhood aesthetics and their property values.

Homeowners in the area have planned a meeting to discuss the issue at 7pm Monday at Walnut Bend Recreation Center.

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