Spotted I N C Y FA I R Northwest Harris County has a diverse wildlife population. R�d-�ellied wood�eckр prefers forest, swamps or wooded suburban habitats.
Wildlife MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS Several local programs educate the community about the importance of wildlife habitat restoration and preservation.
If there is a pond on the property, for example, wildlife will benet from maintaining a water source, and future residents of the neighborhood can access the pond for shing. Bridgeland has about 4,000 homes with another 3,669 housing units planned through 2029, according to PASA. Melton said 28% of the com- munity’s 11,400 acres are dedicated to parks, lake trails and green space. One example of responsibly devel- oping with the natural environment in mind is turning required detention areas into amenity lakes residents can use for kayaking, canoeing and observ- ing native wildlife, Melton said. Additionally, Bridgeland develop- ers have restored the former defor- ested farmland to the prairie-like environment it once was by bringing in native plants and reforesting to cre- ate additional habitats for squirrels, raccoons, deer and migratory birds such as pelicans. “It was a very manicured landscap- ing 13 years ago when the community started, and we’ve transitioned to a much looser native landscaping,” Melton said. “We have areas that [are] all native plant materials and grasses that we let grow.” When it comes to major transporta- tion projects, ocials with the Texas Department of Transportation said they take several environmental fac- tors into account. Preemptive studies for the Hwy. 290 project included vul- nerable species and wetlands in the pathway, said Deidrea George, a pub- lic information ocer with TxDOT’s Houston District. George said TxDOT works with the TPWD to develop best management practices during and after the con- struction process. For instance, the clearing of vegetation might be put on hold during nesting season, or o- cials will survey the area to ensure no active bird nests are disrupted.
“Where possible, the roadway is designed to avoid these resources,” she said. “Where impacts are unavoid- able, the department works to mini- mize and/or mitigate the impacts.” Discovering nature’s benets While living among nature is a necessity for animals, it is also a pri- ority for many people, Foss said, and home values are typically higher in neighborhoods located near natural parks and open spaces. “People need green space, too. We need to look out on something pleas- ing,” she said. “It’s benecial to our health in many ways—it lowers our blood pressure and our stress hor- mones … when you look at something green, something natural.” According to data from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 41% of Americans spent a total of $157 billion on hunt- ing, shing and wildlife watching in 2016. Some Cy-Fair residents, including Frankie Schwarzburg, make the most of animal visits by creating an educa- tional opportunity for their children. “We didn’t know anything about [opossums] at rst,” Schwarzburg said. “My daughter has fell in love with them. She has learned how their hands work, how they use their tail.” Animals can thrive better in their natural environment than in the care of humans, Warwick said, and res- idents should consider the benets wildlife can bring—such as opossums getting rid of ticks. “Don’t invite nature in, and don’t feed themunnatural food inyour yard. But also don’t kill them, and don’t get rid of them,” she said. “They’re there for a reason; they’re there for a benet for everybody.”
TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
Urban wildlife biologists consult with public ocials and developers and educate the community about wildlife habitat restoration and managing conict between people and wildlife. 281-456-7029 www.tpwd.texas.gov The wildlife center features an emergency room for injured, ill and orphaned wildlife seven days a week throughout the Houston area. 713-468-8972 www.twrcwildlifecenter.org TEXAS WILDLIFE REHABILITATION COALITION
Coyotс adapt to their surroundings and can survive in changing environments. are found in nearly every habitat statewide, including brush, woods and grasslands. Nine-banded Armadillos are primarily woodland creatures also found along forest edges and in brushy elds. Eastрn box turtlс W tai h l� it d e- Deer can be found across the state on the edges of woods and brushy places. Common raccoon prefers brushy or wooded areas near streams, lakes or swamps.
CYPRESS CREEK GREENWAY PROJECT
An extensive trail system and several parks are located along Cypress and Little Cypress creeks, preserving wildlife habitats and helping reduce ooding. 713-755-6444 www.hcp4.net/parks/ccgw The team brings interactive curriculum to local elementary schools, allowing children to experience and learn more about the nature around them. 832-877-1682 www.readytogrowgardens.com READY TO GROW GARDENS
For more information, visit communityimpact.com .
SOURCE: TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE DEPARTMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
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CYFAIR EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020
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