August 2012  

   
HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT TO
RESTORE CYPRESS CREEK ALONG MEYER PARK

The Harris County Flood Control District has launched the second phase of a channel reinstatement project on Cypress Creek along Harris County Precinct 4’s Elizabeth Kaiser Meyer Park in northwest Harris County.

This is the second phase of a Flood Control District project. The first phase was completed in 2006 and transformed a quarter-mile segment of Cypress Creek adjacent to Meyer Park west of Latson Road. The limits of the second and current phase of the maintenance project will extend from Latson to Stuebner-Airline Road.
Project Will Shore Up Creek’s Banks

The steep banks and exposed tree roots shown
here on the banks of Cypress Creek along
Harris County Precinct 4’s Elizabeth Kaiser
Meyer Park are the result of the erosive forces
of stormwater.

Through time, floodwater has severely eroded the banks in sections of the creek along Meyer Park upstream of Stuebner-Airline. Erosion also has killed a number of trees by wearing away the soil under the trees’ root systems and has increased the deposition of sediment into the creek. Sediment deposition can harm water quality, which affects habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

The project includes the construction of gentle side slopes and a channel bench or plateau into the banks along an approximately half-mile stretch of the creek east of Stuebner-Airline. Both design measures will help prevent and control future erosion. Harris County Commissioners Court awarded a $1.4 million contract in April to BRH-Garver Construction, and construction began on June 18.

 

“Construction vehicles will need to cross an existing asphalt trail within Meyer Park, but pedestrian traffic will be maintained and protected,” said Mike Talbott, Flood Control District director. “If the trail is damaged during construction, we will restore the trail to its original condition.”

After this phase of the project is completed, the Flood Control District will plant grass, trees and other plants to establish a canopy along the creek. Vegetation helps stabilize a channel's banks to help reduce the future risk of erosion. 

Erosion is caused by a combination of poor soil quality and the continual flow of stormwater through the creek. In Harris County, soils are often sandy in texture and can easily wear down, particularly with a constant flow of water through a bayou, creek or other waterway. If left unchecked, the erosion could have continued to weaken the banks of the creek and eventually affected the creek’s ability to move water downstream.

Where Are They Now? An Update on Archeological Site Discovered in Project’s First Phase
In late 2009, archeologists excavated portions of a Native American campsite during the cultural resources investigation for this phase of the maintenance project. They recovered more than 2,000 artifacts, mostly stone tools and broken pieces of pottery, from the banks of Cypress Creek. Analysis of the artifacts determined that the site had been occupied repeatedly during the Early Ceramic (A.D. 100-800) and Late Ceramic (A.D. 800-1750) periods. Evidence of an earlier, more limited presence was suggested by a single Paleo-Indian artifact (8000-6000 B.C.). 
Archeologists recovered more than 2,000 artifacts –
such as these arrowheads – from excavation units
placed along the banks of Cypress Creek during
the cultural resources investigation for the
Flood Control District’s Cypress Creek
channel restoration project.

State and federal laws require that public areas containing cultural resources deemed worthy of research and valuable contributions to history must be excavated if they cannot be avoided by a project, and their findings preserved as regulated by the Texas Historical Commission.

The items are curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas in Austin, and, though not available for public viewing, are used for research purposes.

About the Harris County Flood Control District

The Harris County Flood Control District provides flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. With more than 1,500 bayous and creeks totaling approximately 2,500 miles in length, the Flood Control District accomplishes its mission by devising flood damage reduction plans, implementing the plans and maintaining the infrastructure. To learn more about the Flood Control District, visit www.hcfcd.org.

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AVOID GETTING RABIES

The new school year will begin soon, and now is a good time to discuss the dangers of rabies with your children.  Each year in Harris County, children find rabid bats on school grounds, at the playground or near their homes.  They even bring them to school for show-and-tell.  Several of these types of incidents resulted in children having to visit their health care provider for a series of rabies shots. 

Rabies is a serious virus that can infect both humans and animals if they are touched or bitten by an animal that has rabies.  In Harris County, the largest number of rabies cases are from bats and skunks.  However, many other animals – such as raccoons, foxes and coyotes – can carry the disease. 

Teach Children about Bats

It's important to show children what a real bat looks like because most have only seen bats in cartoons or flying around in the air from a distance.  When a bat is on the ground, it is sometimes hard to recognize because its wings may be folded inward.  Parents should teach children to NEVER TOUCH A BAT that is lying on the ground.  The bat may not be dead and could bite or scratch.  All children should be taught to immediately tell an adult if they have touched a bat or if they think the bat could have touched them. 

Bats on the Ground

If a bat is found on the ground, cover it with a small box or other solid container.  Gently slip a piece of cardboard between the ground and box and slide the bat into the box.  Leather gloves can be used to make sure there is no contact between your hands and the bat.  Make sure to seal the container to prevent the bat from getting out.  Keep the bat away from children and pets.  Call your local animal control agency to have it removed and tested for rabies.

If You are Exposed to Rabies

A person can be bitten by a bat and not know it.  If a person is bitten, it is important to quickly wash the bite or scratch with soap and water. 
Contact your health care provider immediately for evaluation of whether you need to begin receiving the series of rabies shots. 
Call your local animal control agency to report the bite and safely capture the animal to be tested for rabies.     
If a rabies exposure is not treated by your health care provider as soon as possible, symptoms will develop, and the result is often fatal. Early symptoms of rabies in people can include:
Fever
Headache
Weakness
Itching or pain at the site of exposure  

As the disease progresses, the person may experience difficulty with swallowing, salivating more than usual, nervousness, seizures, or death.

Protect Yourself against Rabies

Protect yourself and your family by avoiding direct contact with a bat or any wild animal, especially if they are sick or injured.  If loose animals are roaming in your neighborhood, contact your local animal control agency.  In Harris County, contact Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services(HCPHES) Veterinary Public Health at 281-999-3191. 

Family pets and other domestic animals can get rabies if they are bitten by a rabid animal.  Make sure rabies vaccinations are up-to-date on all dogs and cats 4 months of age or older.  Confine your pets to your house or backyard, or keep them on a leash.  They will be less likely to come in contact with rabid animals.

World Rabies Day is September 28, 2012.  Take time to learn the facts about rabies and rabies prevention.  Make sure your children are aware of the dangers of touching bats or playing with stray animals.  For more information, contact HCPHES Veterinary Public Health at 281-999-3191. 

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