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1/19/16 Houston Parks Board selected to receive RESTORE Act funding for Bayou Greenways

Media Contacts:

Christine Cantrell, Elmore Public Relations
Christine [at] elmorepr [dot] com / 713-524-0661
Catherine Butsch, Houston Parks Board
catherine [at] houstonparksboard [dot ] org / 713-942-8500 x18

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council awards $7.1 million to preserve Clear Creek Greenway

Houston Parks Board selected to receive RESTORE Act funding for Bayou Greenways The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council awards $7.1 million to preserve Clear Creek Greenway Houston, TX (January 19, 2016) – The nonprofit Houston Parks Board has been selected by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to receive $7,109,000 for the Bayou Greenways 2020 project. A transformative project that will help redefine Houston as a more beautiful, healthy and active city, Bayou Greenways 2020 will create a continuous parks system along Houston’s major waterways. The awarded funds will help secure and protect parkland along Clear Creek Greenway located in southern Harris County.

The RESTORE Act, established in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, dedicates settlement funds to the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund for restoration projects in key watersheds across the Gulf of Mexico. Within the Galveston Bay Watershed, Houston Parks Board outlined a project to purchase, preserve, and restore land along the Clear Creek corridor, a key segment of the Bayou Greenways network.

The objective of the Clear Creek riparian corridor acquisition project is to restore and conserve natural habitats along – and improve water quality in – Clear Creek. The purchased land will be protected as parkland in perpetuity and support the Galveston Bay and Estuary that was damaged by the oil spill event.

“I’m pleased that Bayou Greenways was selected as a priority project,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “These dollars will allow us to protect the watershed while also providing important recreational green space on the south side of Houston. It’s an added bonus that these land acquisitions will help tie together the broader greenway network that is being led by the Houston Parks Board with a $100 million investment from the City of Houston. Bayou Greenways is a key component to expanding our parks and improving neighborhoods throughout the Bayou City.”

“The RESTORE funding will allow the Houston Parks Board not only to protect the natural habitat along Clear Creek but also create and preserve it as parkland,” said Catherine Butsch, communications manager at the Houston Parks Board. “It is extremely exciting to be able to implement Bayou Greenways along Clear Creek Greenway and make a positive impact on the Galveston Bay region.”

“For Houston, the bayou city, this is a win-win,” said Joe Turner, Director Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “Not only do we add parkland and contribute to the greening of Houston; but, at the same time we work to improve the water quality in our bayou system. We are thankful for the funding and look forward to the implementation of this project.”

Commissioner Toby Baker of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality added, “I am very pleased that we were able to include the Bayou Greenways project in this first round of funding under the RESTORE Act. The project will help filter and improve the quality of water flowing into the bays, and it features a recreational aspect that makes it particularly unique and exciting.”

RESTORE funding for the Clear Creek Greenway project will initially be used for planning activity including all due diligence for the acquisition process in the project area. Then Houston Parks Board will finalize the purchase of land along Clear Creek Greenway and commit to preserving it in perpetuity as parkland, which will be managed by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Park maintenance has been previously secured and funded through the Bayou Greenways agreement with Houston Parks Board and the City of Houston.

To learn more about the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and the RESTORE Act, please visit www.restorethegulf.gov. To learn more about Bayou Greenways initiative, please visit www.houstonparksboard.org/bgi. To view TCEQ’s announcement, please visit http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/news/releases/restorebucketII-120815.

Download the PDF of this announcement.

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The Houston Parks Board is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to create, improve, protect and advocate for parkland in the Greater Houston region. Since its inception in 1976, the organization has raised and leveraged millions of dollars and touched at least 75 percent of the City’s parkland either through acquisitions and/or capital improvements. For more information, visit www.houstonparksboard.org.

Bayou Greenways 2020 will create a continuous parks system along Houston’s major waterways. The project will establish an interconnected system of parks and trails linking people, places and green space while enhancing air and water quality, reducing flooding and stimulating economic development. Bayou Greenways 2020 is a public-private partnership between the Houston Parks Board, the City of Houston through the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Harris County Flood Control District. The Houston Parks Board will lead the private fundraising of $120 million and manage acquisition, design and construction of the Bayou Greenways 2020 Project over the next five years. Bayou Greenways 2020 was made possible by Houston voters who supported the “Parks by You!” city bond referendum of 2012. For more information, visit www.houstonparksboard.org/bgi.

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) stewards and manages over 37,859 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit www.houstontx.gov/parks.