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General Monthly Meeting: Willow Waterhole, Prairie Restoration

The meeting opens at 7:00 PM, and the program starts at 7:30 PM. Everyone is welcome.


Navigating the Potholes to Restore an Urban Prairie at Willow Waterhole

Guest Speaker:  Stephen Benigno of the Harris County Flood Control District

Art and Science are both needed when navigating the potholes to restore an urban prairie.  The Houston Sierra Club welcomes staff from the Environmental Services Division of the Harris County Flood Control District to hear about their work-in-progress to restore a degraded prairie in a corner of the Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin in the Brays Bayou watershed.  This may well be the signature restoration project of the Harris County Flood Control District. 

Although the prairie is still a work in progress, the project involves more than finding an ecological balance between the open prairie and the trees and brush that gradually began to dominate the site .  The restoration’s success hinges upon cementing a supportive relationship with the residents of the adjacent community.  HCFCD is balancing the neighbors’ desire to maximize the number of trees remaining at the site with the need to prevent encroachment in the prairie. 

Within the 15-acre prairie conservation area is a population of the endangered Prairie Dawn plant (Hymenoxys texana), which HCFCD is protecting. The prairie around the prairie dawn will be years in the restoration, but the removal of invasive yaupon and other woody species is allowing prairie grasses to recover. 


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