That vague line of pink barely visible low in the forested area just beyond the backyard of this house on Warm Springs Dr. in Post Oak Manor marks a few of the hundreds of trees the Harris County Flood Control District plans to knock down as part of a second phase of work on the easternmost portion of the Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin complex. Most of the trees slated for removal are in a 5-acre zone to the southeast of Post Oak Manor (outlined at the bottom right of the aerial map below), just north of South Main St. and directly to the southwest of Beren Academy. But the pink line is part of a separate 2-acre strip that’s slated for thinning just south of Post Oak Manor. And that’s got some residents there — and in adjacent ‘W’ neighborhoods Willowbend, Willow Meadows, Willowbrook, and Westbury — upset.
The detention project near the eastern end of Gasmer Dr. in Southwest Houston, part of the $450 million Project Brays flood-reduction effort, is now also a coastal prairie restoration project: Biologists discovered an endangered plant called Texas Prairiedawn in the area, along with some remnants of the native Gulf Coast Prairie habitat. Without that discovery, Flood District officials report, they would have taken out more trees, leaving an even smaller buffer against the neighborhoods — and it all would have been dug up to make more room for stormwater to sit after heavy rains. Instead, to build out 15 acres of coastal prairie, they’ll be clearing out invasive species and leaving a few of the older growth trees for occasional shade.
District officials report 3,000 new trees will be planted in another section of Willow Waterhole this year, on the opposite side of South Post Oak — and a total of 16,800 will be planted throughout the entire project by the time construction is complete. But residents opposed to the way the project is proceeding aren’t eager to see a significant removal of old growth, native trees near their homes in favor of saplings. They’ve arranged a public meeting with Flood District officials tonight, at 7 p.m., at the Gathering Place, at 5310 S. Willow Dr.
- Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin Compartment 3 letter (PDF) [Harris County Flood Control District]
- Friends of Trees in Compartment 3 [WWH Trees]
Photo: WWH Trees. Aerial Map: Harris County Flood Control District