Tree Planting Program
The Flood Control District's mission is to devise the Stormwater Management Plans, implement the plans and maintain the infrastructure, all with appropriate regard for community and natural values. Trees play an integral role in fulfilling the elements of the Flood Control District's mission.
Trees Planted at Meyer Park near Cypress Creek, 2007.
We Preserve: The Flood Control District looks for ways to preserve significant trees on its right of way whenever possible, or to identify trees that can be moved in advance of construction projects.
We Plant: The Flood Control District typically plants 12,000 to 15,000 trees annually to replace those lost during construction, to enhance capital improvement projects, and as part of a routine maintenance program.
We Partner: The Flood Control District works with individuals and organizations to plant trees and wildflowers in appropriate places on its property and easements.
Tree Planting Makes Good Sense
The Flood Control District plants trees to create a mature forest canopy that over time shades out and prevents the growth of undesirable underbrush that can hinder stormwater conveyance and increase maintenance costs. Areas with little or no groundcover require less mowing and maintenance, conserving Flood Control District resources.
Tree planting in non-conveyance areas such as stormwater detention basins, along natural channels, and upper slopes of channels allows the District to reduce the amount of acreage mowed by hundreds of acres annually.
Benefits of Trees
Reforestation also provides a host of other benefits:
- Trees reduce the conveyance of silt into waterways, reducing the number of silt-removal operations that the District must undertake.
- Trees slow and reduce stormwater runoff; they improve and protect the quality of our water.
- Soils in forested areas have greater water infiltration rates than non-forested areas.
- Tree canopies intercept and store a portion of rainwater that never reaches the ground as runoff.
- Trees clean our air by reducing and filtering pollutants.
- Trees beautify our community, reduce temperatures, and improve quality of life.
- Trees provide habitat for wildlife.
Trees planted at Keith-Wiess Park Detention Basin in the Greens Bayou Watershed.
Where the District Plants Trees
The Flood Control District carefully screens potential tree planting sites, with preference given to those:
- Suitable for the establishment of a woodland ecosystem along channels without obstructing access or stormwater conveyance
- Favorable for tree survival
- Where future channel improvements, construction, or de-silt operations are not currently scheduled
- Not crucial for stormwater conveyance (such as the upper slopes of channels and stormwater detention basins)
How to Plant a Tree on District Right-of-Way
To ensure a smooth process:
1. Tree sponsors must submit a written request to plant trees to the Property Management Department of the Harris County Flood Control District. The request should include a project description as well as a map showing the proposed planting location.
2. The Flood Control District may be able to provide trees for a planting project. If a sponsor wishes to donate trees, the donation must be approved by Harris County Commissioners Court. Including information about the proposed donation in the written request is sufficient to start that approval process.
3. The sponsor is responsible for researching property ownership and obtaining permission from the property owner before any trees may be planted. A written “lack of objection” also must be obtained from the Flood Control District when the Flood Control District owns the land beneath the right of way.
4. Once preliminary approval has been obtained from the Flood Control District, a planting plan must be approved by a District forester. The planting plan will include:
- Number, species and size of trees
- Specific locations or spacing of trees
- A two-year maintenance plan (including watering, mulching, fertilizing and pruning)
- Date of planting
- Modifications to the plan may be required. If necessary, the district forester will arrange an on-site meeting to discuss the proposed planting.
- At least 72 hours in advance of planting, the sponsor must contact Texas811 by dialing 811 and asking for a locate request, or by logging in to the Texas811.org website to verify location of utilities.
- The sponsor and all people helping to plant trees must sign a waiver provided by the Flood Control District’s Community Services Section.