Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition
July 2014
In This Issue
Become a Member
LyondellBasell and Global Care Day
Community Garden at Ida Gaye Gardens
Champion Tree Expedition
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Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition

Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition
Lyondell Basell
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Union Pacific
Paddle Trail
insta kayak from Reach 7Community Meetings Complete: Now We Need You 


The Coalition continues to advance the Master Plan process for our paddle trail in partnership with the National Park Service. Public meetings were held in early June to allow for public input on proposed launch sites. Meetings were held at Lone Star College Greenspoint, the East Aldine District, Parkway Utility District, and San Jacinto Community College. Attendees watched a presentation by GBCC Executive Director Jill Boullion, followed by a call to action by Paddle Trail Committee Chair Rich Gallegos.


Upon completion of the Master Plan document, a Paddle Trail Committee made up of volunteers will work to move planned projects forward. Leading that charge is Mr. Gallegos, and he's looking for your help. If you are interested in working to make Greens Bayou a safe and accessible recreation amenity, please contact Mr. Gallegos about opportunities to work with the committee.


Committee members will work in one or more of three areas: Education and Promotion, Stewardship, and Recreation.


To learn more about the proposed launch sites, you can download the public meeting PowerPoint presentation online.


If you are interested in participating in the Paddle Trail Volunteer Committee, please contact Candice Pauley to be placed on the mailing list and receive updates moving forward.


Grant Announcements
Two New Grants to Fund Paddle Trail Projects and Programming

kayaks at TBF  

In the last two months, GBCC has been gifted with two project grants. Renewing their previous commitment to our organization, Union Pacific Foundation again awarded the Coalition with a $5,000 grant for programming on the bayou. These funds will allow us to begin our first on the bayou activities for the community through our Kayaking for Kids program in partnership with area YMCAs and youth groups, bringing youth to nature in their own backyards.


Additionally, REI invited GBCC to apply for a grant from their foundation, and granted the Coalition with $10,000 in funds to augment stewardship activities along the bayou associated with our Paddle Trail and current and future launch sites. Originally offered to apply for up to $5,000, the REI review committee agreed that GBCC has proven to be an excellent partner, steward, and advocate for Greens Bayou, and agreed to award us more than what we originally requested. Partnerships like that with REI enhance our bayou, our communities, and our ability to bring these amenities to the half a million people living along Greens Bayou.


Individual Giving
Include GBCC in your giving plans 


The Coalition is always looking ahead and planning for the future even as we work every day to bring projects to the bayou. As we move forward, we want to be more inclusive in our membership. To that end, we announced at the Annual Meeting our new individual membership program. No longer just for corporate and civic partners, we welcome individuals interested in supporting to coalition to support in whatever monetary capacity they see fit. 


Consider joining GBCC as a member supporter. Membership funds are what drive our organization and, quite literally, keep our doors open for business. If you've been volunteering with us for a while, and are wondering how else you can get involved, here's your chance! Through our easy online sign up, you can make a one-time or recurring payment based on your giving preference. Consider becoming a GBCC member today! 


Board Planning Workshop
Board of Directors Annual Retreat Focuses on Forward Momentum

In March, the Coalition's board of directors met for a day long retreat and planning workshop to discuss GBCC's current progress and our direction moving forward. Board members helped create a visioning statement to further expound upon our mission statement. As a group, they provide direction for the Coalition and our efforts. The board was broken up into smaller groups to form committees for issues affecting the Coalition including: Flood Mitigation, Funding, Parks & Trails Development and Stakeholder Engagement.


Each year, this retreat serves to strengthen our board's understanding of the organization and also our mission moving forward. Our 25 member, volunteer board of directors provides excellent leadership and enthusiasm for our mission. Through their efforts we are able to continue to provide community support, advocacy, and programming on Greens Bayou.


Our Mission
Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition ("The Coalition") seeks to benefit the economy and enhance the quality of life for the more than 500,000 residents in the Greens Bayou watershed through flood mitigation, parks and trails development, and economic development.



GBCC has been on the road, on the bayou, and on a tear with new projects, new volunteer groups, and progress on projects throughout the watershed.In this issue, we give you an update on new parks and grants, volunteer projects on the bayou, information on how to become a member, and some of the antics we get up to out on Greens Bayou. 

Global Care Day and Eagle Scout Projects
LyondellBasell volunteer working hard on landscaping.
LyondellBasell and Boy Scouts Adopt South Reach Park in 2014


For the second year in a row, LyondellBasell has chosen GBCC's Thomas Bell Foster Park as their project for Global Care Day. As a company, across the globe, LyondellBasell chooses projects in the communities they operate in to work on with a group of company volunteers. The Coalition is thrilled to be a part of that global effort, and honored to have been chosen a second time.


Last year, 100 volunteers built trails, cleared overlooks, constructed benches, and installed a canoe launch on the South Reach site.


This year, they returned to continue improving the park for the public by planting more than 2,000 plants, shrubs, and trees. They also touched up the canoe launch and installed steps leading into the water at the launch site, making it more easily accessible for paddlers.

With excellent direction and planning from Charlie Patout, our South Reach Vice Chair and landscape architect for LJA Engineering, volunteers were able to make quick work of a huge project. With more than $8,000 in trees donated by CenterPoint Energy and Trees for Houston, and expert advice and direction from Eric Ruckstuhl with Bayou Preservation Association, Mr. Patout was able to create a landscaping plan made up entirely of native plants. This is an important feature of the parks new look. While much of it still remains overrun with invasive plant species, we're working to remedy that problem. Native plants work with the environment more efficiently by filtering storm water, standing up to drought or thriving in wetlands depending on their location on the site.


South Reach Committee Chair, Omar Escobar of LJA Engineering waist deep in the bayou helping LyondellBasell volunteers with canoe launch improvements

LyondellBasel has taken a great deal of ownership of the park, and their involvement is why Bayou Shuttle Service is able to run kayaking tours on Greens Bayou.


The landscaping completed phase II of the overall plan for Thomas Bell Foster Park. Phase III will include wetlands restoration and potentially board walk access to the wetlands. Area Boy Scouts have also invested time in the park, building additional benches, clearing debris, and building trash bins.


San Jacinto Community College students have also worked tirelessly to continue to beautify the park through clean-up efforts in the wetlands.

If you are interested in kayaking or canoeing from our premier canoe launch, please contact Jill or Candice for details on how to access the site. If you don't have your own equipment, visit Bayou Shuttle Service for tour dates and details.

Completed landscaping at canoe launch (in use by Bayou Shuttle Service)

GBCC Hosts Breakfast for Utility Directors at AWBD
The Coalition Supports the Association of Water Board Directors at Annual Summer Conference 

  AWBD booth 2013


Each year GBCC participates in the Association of Water Board Directors summer conference by hosting a booth in the exhibit hall and a reception for Utility Directors in our watershed. The booth has proven to be a great way to start conversations and educate directors about the importance of the natural amenities within their districts and how they can work with other organizations to improve their communities, build community involvement, increase property value through parks and trails, and bring economic development to the area through tourism and infrastructure development projects.


Todd Burrer, AWBD and GBCC Board Member said, "The Coalition provides a valuable resource to districts by providing coordinated planning for parks and trails as well as advocacy on strategic issues. Annual attendance at the conference strengthens the relationships that The Coalition has with member districts and facilitates that planning."


This year's breakfast reception built on the theme of our booth: building community through partnerships. Coalition Executive Director, Jill Boullion, presented to reception attendees on the importance of working with civic and private organizations to make projects and communities come to life through parks and trails. She also hit home on the ways in which GBCC advocates for those living in the watershed on local, state, and federal levels. This breakfast is an opportunity not only to highlight our message and mission, but also to provide a venue for conversations between members, MUDs, and corporate partners.  


The reception is made possible by sponsors. This year our Bald Eagle sponsor is the law firm of Radcliffe Bobbitt Adams Polley, LLC. Heron sponsors include Hays Utility South Corporation and  McDonough Engineering. Our Wood Duck sponsors are EHRA and Waste Management.


Our sponsors see value in participation in may ways. Regina Adams, partner at Radcliffe Bobbit Adams Polley, LLC said, "I have many clients who are GBCC members, and I find that they appreciate that their consultant is engaged in their community and is truly invested in trying to improve it."


This year, we were able to bring GBCC and our unique approach to partnership building to a wider audience in the form of a presentation during one of the conference sessions. Ms. Boullion presented to attendees on the importance of building partnerships, and how public entities, private businesses, and civic organizations can work together to create projects in our communities. The session was well attended and sparked some great questions and conversations both at the presentation and at our booth in the exhibit hall.


Harvest Time Church and Ida Gaye Gardens
Harvest Time Brings Community Garden to Ida Gaye Park and Neighboring Senior Housing


Several years ago, the Coalition, in partnership with a local developer and the Greenspoint District, created Ida Gaye Gardens, a park in the Greenspoint Area built specifically to serve the Senior Living facility immediately adjacent to the park. The curving paths, shady trees, water feature, and exercise equipment designed specifically for seniors is heavily used by the community.


Early on in the visioning for the park, the neighboring seniors were asked what they would like to see in the space, and they expressed an interest in a community garden. While it's taken some time, and gone in stages, we are now proud to say that through a partnership with Harvest Time Church, there is now a fully planted garden in the park. The garden boasts a number of plants like corn, peas, okra, tomatoes, and zucchini. Keeping the veggies company is the herb bed planted last year by the Leadership North Houston Class of 2012-2013. With some TLC from the Harvest Time gardeners, the herb bed is thriving alongside the vegetables. You can follow Harvest Community Gardens on Facebook to see their updates and harvest.


Jackie Goudeau, pastor at Harvest Time, said that seniors from the community next to the park have joined their efforts.


"I think it is the most natural way to connect a community, nature," Pastor Goudeau said. "It has been fun, watching people who live in apartments but used to be in the country show off thier skills that have not been used since they came to the city." 


Church members are thrilled with the response from the seniors next door and from the other neighbors in the community. They report having help on their gardening days from neighbors, and are excited about the response and welcome they have received. We look forward to their harvest!


Field Trip
Committee Members Visited and Mapped Champion Trees in East Reach

A group of East Reach Committee volunteers joined Texas A&M Forest Service Forrester Mickey Merritt and staff from the Harris County Flood Control District on a hike through the Houston wilderness last month in search of Champion Trees. In an untouched area of the East Reach managed by Flood Control for flood mitigation purposes, the Forest Service previously identified several champion trees for the local registry. There was concern that some of the trees may have been lost in the recent drought years. In an effort to update the registry, volunteers hiked into the woods to relocate the trees and retake measurements for updates.


The hike allowed GBCC staff and volunteers to see a part of Houston few are allowed to glimpse. Little space still exists that is true wilderness. While there are obvious signs of use throughout the stretch of land in the way of ATV tracks, trash, small camps, and makeshift trails and bridges, this is a largely undiscovered stretch of flood plain. It is believed that there are more champion trees in these woods, and future expeditions will be mounted to continue to catalog and check in on already registered trees.


If you would like to learn more about champion trees, how they are designated and see a registry of current champions you can visit the Forest Service's website. If you are interested in joining our East Reach committee to be part of future field trips and projects, please contact Candice Pauley at 281-874-2139


Jack Drake Park
New Park to be Named After Former Greenspoint District President, Jake Drake

Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition has been awarded a grant by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for improvements to Jack Drake Park in the Greenspoint District.


The Coalition will receive $98,280 for improvements to the park, including a new 0.4-mile trail, signs, parking, benches and a bike rack. In all, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved $5.25 million in federal grants for 38 recreational trail projects across the state. Eighty-two project proposals were submitted requesting more than $13 million in funding assistance.


Jack Drake Park (formerly Bradfield Park) is located on Bradfield Road in Greenspoint. Recently, the park was officially named in honor of the District's former president who served as president from the District's founding in 1991 until his retirement in December 2012. Mr. Drake was also instrumental in the formation of the Task Force that eventually became the 501(c)3 that is The Coalition today.


Jill Boullion
Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition