Harris County experimenting with different plants for flood control and water conservation

Jeff Ehling Image
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Harris County experimenting with different plants for flood control
In an effort to fight floods and conserve water, our area is getting its very own Native Seed Mix.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In an effort to fight floods and conserve water, the Houston area is getting its very own native seed mix.

The idea is to replace Saint Augustine and Bermuda grass with plants that are native to the area.

When you come to a park in Houston, you typically see a large green space covered in Bermuda grass, but this type of grass does not provide a lot of help when it comes to floods or droughts.

But the plants you see in places like this may change soon as Houston's 13-county area gets its own native seed mix.

These seeds produce plants that develop deep roots, which allow water to go deeper into our types of soil and help the ground soak up rainwater.

The grasses are low maintenance and can be used to replace your current yard with plants that should have been here all along.

However, the first place you will start to see these plants is in large public works projects, like greenways and commercial developers with big construction projects who are looking for ways to save on watering and reduce flood risks.

The idea for a native seed mix is not new, but the Gulf Coast region is one of the last in Texas to get its own seed mix.

The money to bring these seeds to the public comes from flood control bonds and takes a couple of years to get ready.

"What we were able to do through our collaboration is go out and plant individual plots of each of these different species in detention basins in the county. From that, we were able to look at those and make decisions on which species performed the best and work with commercial growers to say, 'Okay, these are the species we want to use. These are the species that are going to fit in this specific area,'" Dr. Tony Faulk, the director of the Texas Native Seeds Program, said.

The Flood Control District spent about $600 coming up with the seed mix.

The general public can buy these seeds from growers. Right now, there are six different seeds, but eventually, there will be 12.

For more on this story, follow Jeff Ehling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.