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Archive for June, 2012

Can Coastal Smart Growth be Resilient and Safe?

Could the  French Quarter be a pattern of  coastal community  resilience?

Pierce Lewis called New Orleans  the Inevitable City in the Impossible Place. How would you not have a major city at the mouth of the largest river in North America, draining a vast and productive hinterland?  But what a crazy place to put a city! Coastal areas are inherently hazardous. But they are also inherently attractive. In fact, it is probably safer to say that they are inherently irresistible. People ARE going to settle on the coast, and very often on some of the most hazardous areas of the coast. (more…)

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Stormwater is not sexy.  It’s a serious issue, I get that, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull.  Very few people will watch a 30 second video telling them to pick up trash and protect their watershed.  Let’s face it; most people are not even sure how to define a watershed.

I talk with the public about picking up their pets a lot.   I’ve been called the poop lady, and it was complement.  It meant they remembered what I talked about.  I keep piles of fake dog poo in my desk.  Do I think this is normal?  No.  But a pile of fake dog doo sitting on the table will catch people’s eye, and give you a chance to talk to them about larger issues.

Other things that might catch peoples attention:
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Welcoming rains gave Houston some reprieve from the drought. However, already we seem to be back to hot, dry conditions. In addition, a fact we cannot ignore is that the population of the Houston area is predicted to double within twenty years, making water restrictions a real possibility even with our more normal 54 inch average annual rainfall.  Whatever the case, the drought gave us an opportunity to rethink the way we view landscapes. This year, as you continue to plant or as you prepare for your fall garden, think about how you can make your yard “watersmart”. The watersmart landscape is a resilient, sustainable landscape in which beauty and function coexist in an eco-friendly environment. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you take a fresh look at your landscape.

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The Wetland Restoration Team gets a three-week boost from 14 high school and college students in the Student Conservation Association. TCWP staff and Texas Master Naturalist mentors have been showing the students how to identify and dig important wetland species, divide them into sprigs for transplanting, and replant them into the developing prairie wetlands at Sheldon Lake State Park. With the SCA’s help, a phenomenal 2875 sprigs of desirable sedge species were planted last week! The students also collect bushels of ripe seed heads and separate out the seed for future projects.  The work of these young people is vital to the success of the wetland restoration program, and is greatly appreciated. Now, if we could only have some more rain…

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photo: Steve Upperman

Amber’s wetland restoration video

Amber Bothne and her friends from Quest Early College High School joined up with the Wetland Restoration Team on a recent workday at Sheldon Lake State Park. She writes, “I made a video  from the pictures I took and the information I know about wetlands. People searching your site can view it and get an idea about the work entailed and why wetlands are important.” She adds, “I really enjoyed getting to volunteer and that I hope I can come back to do so again.” Thank you, Amber, for sharing your enthusiasm and creativity!

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