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All slow ahead: Help keep Armand Bayou safe for wildlife and recreation
Jul 22 2015 - 04:18:00 pm

Armand Bayou is unique as a Texas coastal treasure and a refuge for both wildlife and people in the metropolitan area. Recognized in the 1970’s as one of the most beautifully preserved bayous in the “Bayou City” it was the focus of preservation by the leading conservationists of the day. An early ordinance implemented a “No Wake Zone” throughout the full length of Armand Bayou and prohibited the use of gasoline/combustion motors in Armand Bayou in an effort to minimize disturbance to wildlife and maintain a high recreational value to paddlers of this urban wilderness.

Located in the most densely populated county in Texas and adjacent to the third largest power boat fleet (Clear Lake) in America, the ordinance is today more valuable than ever in maintaining these values. Since the boating guidelines where originally implemented the Bayou has increasingly become critical habitat for rare wildlife which have slowly recovered from endangered species status and are increasingly finding it difficult to find the quiet protected wild areas necessary for their survival. Today in Pasadena the peregrine falcon, American alligator, brown pelican, river otter, osprey, and bald eagle are commonly seen along the waters of Armand Bayou. These species are not compatible with the high impacts created by water skiing, jet skis and the general disturbances created by power boat traffic. This relatively small water body is approximately 290 surface acres in size but is of tremendous value to wildlife and people.

Since the no gasoline motor ordinance was implemented significant wetland restoration has also been accomplished. Experts estimate a 93% loss of tidal marsh in Armand Bayou since the 1950’s. This is critical habitat for countless numbers of wildlife and provides nursery habitat for 90% of the commercial and recreational fish and shellfish harvested in Galveston Bay. The juvenile forms of redfish, speckled trout, black drum, flounder, mullet, shrimp and blue crabs all spend the first summer of life in tidal marsh habitats such as those found in Armand Bayou. Approximately 26 acres of these important wetland habitats have been replanted since 1995. This significant investment of time, labor and money is also at risk from the ships wake generated by boat traffic.

As time has passed the Bayou’s relative pristine nature and richness of life has also gained recognition from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. TPWD designated Armand Bayou as one of only five Coastal Preserves along the 350 mile Texas coastline. Surrounded by one of the largest urban wildlife refuges in the nation, the Armand Bayou Nature Center is located at the convergence of prairie, forest and bayou. These surrounding wild lands create a sense of wilderness for paddlers. As habitats recovered and iconic wildlife species returned Armand Bayou has become the most popular destination for canoeing and kayaking in the greater Houston area. Recognizing these recreational values, TPWD installed one of the state’s first Paddling Trails along Armand Bayou in 2001. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Armand Bayou Paddle Trail is marked with numbered signs and includes a Paddle Trail Map to help guide first time paddlers through the area. The significant impacts of power boat traffic including noise disturbance, wave action and wildlife disruption all significantly degrade the paddling experience on this relatively small water body.

Armand Bayou Nature Center’s continuing success in preserving this unspoiled jewel in the middle of a rapidly urbanizing landscape depends on how we interact with it. We can only be sure this natural beauty will be here for generations to come if each of us respects the unique biological diversity of this recreational resource…and respects the law. Slow down and enjoy the sights, the sounds and the scenes of beautiful Armand Bayou. It’s too special to speed through.

Flooding Preparation Guide
Jul 21 2015 - 10:58:00 am
The Environmental Group within the City's Public Works Department has put together a valuable guide to determining your risk of flooding based on location, as well as preparations you can make now to minimize the risk of severe impact to your property. They also offer helpful tips to help your cope with flooding as it happens as well as deal with the unpleasant aftermath of the event. Download your copy here.

El Grupo Ambiental en Obras Públicas Departamento de la Ciudad ha elaborado una guía valiosa para determinar el riesgo de inundaciones basado en la ubicación, así como los preparados que usted puede hacer ahora para minimizar el riesgo de impacto severo a su propiedad. También ofrecen consejos útiles para ayudar a su hacer frente a las inundaciones, ya que sucede, así como frente a las consecuencias desagradables del evento. Descargue su copia aquí.
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