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Dedication Ceremony Held at New Brays Bayou Freshwater Tidal Marsh


November 7, 2006
A dedication celebration was held at the newly completed Brays Bayou Freshwater Tidal Marsh.

Flood Control District director, Mike Talbott, speaks at the dedication of the Freshwater Tidal Marsh at Mason Park.

Speakers at the dedication ceremony included: Joe Turner, director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department; Mike Talbott, director of the Harris County Flood Control District; Gilbert Smith, superintendent of Harris County Pct. 2 Parks Department; Jarrett "Woody" Woodrow, director of the Coastal Conservation Program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Joseph O'Leary of the Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences Department at Texas A&M University; and Helen Drummond, director of the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.

Environmental experts were also on hand for walking tours of the water quality ponds.

Brays Bayou Freshwater Tidal Marsh at Mason Park, seen here with early vegetation establishment, next to Brays Bayou.

The Freshwater Tidal Marsh, comprised of three water quality improvement ponds on 3.5 acres of land, was engineered and constructed by the Harris County Flood Control District near the mouth of Brays Bayou in Mason Park, and it is operated by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. The idea and design came from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The Marsh is located along a walking trail on the north side of Brays Bayou in Mason Park. The park is located in southeast Houston, about 2 miles north of the Loop 610 and the I-45 interchange. It will serve as a resource for Magnolia Park, Harrisburg, Idylwood and other southeast communities.

Brays Bayou Freshwater Tidal Marsh at Mason Park, During construction (L), and post-construction rendering (R).

The Freshwater Tidal Marsh recently received a Gulf Guardian Award from the Gulf of Mexico Program Partnership, a national program that recognizes environmental stewardship.

Partners and Plants Make a Better Bayou
Over the past year, Texas Cooperative Extension/Texas Sea Grant has worked with a host of partners including students from Austin and Chavez high schools to plant irises, lilies, rushes and sedges in the new marshes. These wetlands plants filter sediment and pollutants, such as pesticides, fertilizer and bacteria, from stormwater before it enters Brays Bayou.

Brays Bayou Freshwater Tidal Marsh at Mason Park, Students and other partners observe marsh vegetation.

Cleaner water in the bayou means a healthier environment for fish and other aquatic creatures. Much of the seafood caught and sold from Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico grow up in the region's marshes and waterways, including Brays Bayou. A cleaner bayou also means a healthier and more aesthetically-pleasing place for humans to live. Recent visitors to the site have spotted herons, egrets, osprey and turtles already using the newly-created marsh.

Project partners include: Houston Parks and Recreation Department; Harris County Flood Control District, Texas Cooperative Extension/Texas Sea Grant; Texas A&M University Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences; Texas Master Naturalist; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Galveston Bay Estuary Program; National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration/Texas Coastal Management Program; NRG; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Stephen F. Austin High School; and Cesar E. Chavez High School.

> Learn more about the Brays Bayou Flood Damage Reduction Project (Project Brays)

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