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Sims Bayou: Riparian Restoration Project

The Student Conservation Association, Inc. (SCA) is restoring riparian habitat, leading volunteer events, and monitoring water quality at seven parks along Sims Bayou in the Houston area.

Background

The Sims Bayou watershed is in the highly urbanized area of Houston. The volume of stormwater runoff is greater in urban areas because a large percentage of land is impervious. This also means that a greater amount of pollutants is easily washed into waterways. Sims Bayou Above Tidal does not meet state water quality standards for bacteria and Sims Bayou Tidal does not meet state standards for several legacy pollutants and has concerns for excess nutrients. In 2010, the TCEQ published the Four Total Maximum Daily Loads for Indicator Bacteria in Sims Bayou Above Tidal and Tributary for Segments 1007D and 1007N, which identified potential sources of bacteria within the watershed. Three projects aim to educate the public about watershed management and improve water quality through riparian habitat restoration and trash cleanups.

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Project Description

In the first phase of this project (February 2017 - February 2020), the Student Conservation Association (SCA) recruited and trained student crews and interns to restore two acres of riparian zone in Milby Park along Sims Bayou. The restored riparian zone will slow the velocity of stormwater runoff and allow sediment to settle out, reducing the amount of pollutants entering the water body. The project team also implemented trash cleanups, conservation activities, and water quality monitoring by citizen scientists.

In a second phase of this project (October 2019 - August 2022), the SCA is expanding restoration and cleanup events to three other parks in Houston: Charlton, Stuart, and Reveille Parks. SCA in coordination with Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) will hire student interns to work and facilitate events to remove invasive plants, install and maintain native riparian plants, and cleanup litter.

Interns will complete multiple environmental science training programs including Texas Watershed Stewards and Texas Stream Team Citizen Scientist Monitoring. Interns will then perform monthly Texas Stream Team monitoring at two sites in the project area. SCA will develop and install educational signage at each restoration site.

In a third phase of this project (September 2021 - August 2025), SCA and HPARD will continue riparian restoration, student intern training, water quality monitoring, and community outreach at Townwood, Margaret Jenkins, FM Law, and Sims Bayou Parks in Houston.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at nps@tceq.texas.gov.

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