Building an East End Nature Park

Buffalo Bend Nature Park is a work in progress. At the moment it's construction site, with earth movers fashioning a hill and three wetlands ponds. The ten-acre eastside tract was purchased in 2004 and work at the site began this spring. Rod Rice reports.

Biologist Scott Barnes, the Director of Conservation with The Buffalo Bayou Partnership says work to this point is phase one.

"What's going to be here when we finish this stage of the park is natural features, wetlands and a restored riparian corridor."

The riparian corridor is the tree line along the bayou; the wetlands will be the area around the three ponds.

"And then it's going to basically be left to grow and mature while funding is found to build the park infrastructure, the trails, the parking lot, all the safety features that are involved in a park, the benches, water fountains, things like that."

Barnes says that could take, weeks, months, years?

Buffalo Bend Nature Park is along SSG Marcario Garcia Blvd, just before the bridge over Buffalo Bayou, an area ripe for green space. 

"While we were restoring the corridor down below we started having residents come through.  Further down we put a little bridge over a small tributary that separates this land from the city's land, we had people coming in, dozens of people, dozens of people a week we'd have them come through asking us what was going on, what we were doing, what was going to happen here."

"So the decision that this area needs a park has been confirmed."

"Definitely, yeah. A lot of people are happy to see that it's not going to be a soccer field or it's not going to be a playground.  It's going to be something different; it's going to be something unique."

Water for the wetlands will come from area runoff that will enter the first pond dirty, pass through all three and leave clean as it enters Buffalo Bayou.

This is what excites Scott Barnes the most that eastside residents will get to learn something about the ecology of their neighborhood. 

"The whole idea of this park, the whole essence of this park was to educate these guys and let them connect with the relationship they have with their storm drains, their streets and how their streets flow out of these storm drains and into the bayou."

Right now Buffalo Bend Nature Park is mostly yellow construction equipment and brown dirt but the wooded area has been cleared of non-native brush and more than 12-hundred trees planted. The bare land around the ponds will get wetlands plants next month.

 

 

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...