ENVIRONMENT Group releasesdraft onCypress Creekwater quality improvement
CLEANING UP THE CREEK
A draft report on how to improve water quality in Cypress Creek zeroes in on pet waste and conservation.
BY SHAWN ARRAJJ
“The reason we are doing a project like this is because we are reasonably sure it can have an impact,” Bower said. “The waterway is not so far gone where it would just be window dressing.” The group met in June to discuss water quality problems, including animal waste and sewer systems. The draft plan builds on those ndings by listing the top challenges and tying them directly to solutions. Water quality is measured by TCEQ based on what the waterway is used for—such as recreation, aquatic life or drinking water. Issues identied by the state in Cypress Creek include “elevated levels of fecal indicator bacteria and a variety of concerns related to potential indicators or precursors of low dissolved oxygen,” according to the report. Elevated fecal matter—as measured by E. coli levels—can be a danger to human
A new watershed protection plan in the works for Cypress Creek seeks to address the biggest causes of pollution in the creek, including pet waste and failing sewer facilities. A draft of the plan was released in January by the Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership, a group launched in 2019 by the Houston-Gal- veston Area Council and a group of local volunteers, including residents, members of local government and conservation experts, among others. The plan’s scope involves 530 miles of waterways in the Cypress Creek system that drain into more than 319 square miles of land in Harris and Waller counties. Improving the water quality would have benets for the environment, recreational opportu- nities and the local economy, said Justin Bower, a senior planner with the HGAC.
• Converting failing facilities to sanitary sewer systems • Improving data to nd priority areas • Fixing failing facilities • Installing new pet waste stations • Adding dog parks in public areas • Increasing enforcement of pet waste ordinances • Promoting use of riparian buers in ood control projects • Promoting individual and group conservation eorts
On-site sewer facilities Failing facilities can result in human waste entering the creek. Pet waste Waste, primarily from dogs, washes into the creek during rainstorms in dense areas. Loss of natural areas Natural elements can serve as barriers and block pollutants from entering the creek.
SOURCE: CYPRESS CREEK WATERSHED PARTNERSHIPCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
health, while the dissolved oxygen can be harmful to aquatic life and recreational sheries. Solutions cover a wide range of action, including addressing failing sewage facilities, working with the Harris County Flood Control District
and targeting pet waste. Partnership ocials said they are aiming to get the plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before the end of this year. Once approved, the plan will be in eect for a 15-year period.
Place portrait photo here
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