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Houston Regional Group - News
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A Few Of Our Most Recent Feature Articles - Read the entire newsletter here

Warning: General mailout of the Bayou Banner will cease after the June-July, 2014 issue.
Many of you readers get the Bayou Banner as a mailed paper copy; others read it via the Internet. This notice is for both, but it is especially important for mailed-copy readers. The Bayou Banner has always been mailed free to members and some others (supporters, libraries, political office holders, etc.)...

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DECEMBER 11 ANNUAL AUCTION - DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Our Annual Auction will take place this year at our December General Meeting on Thursday, December 11. This is one of the principal fundraising events for the Houston Group and features both a live and silent auction. All proceeds from the auction stay here in Houston to fund local conservation efforts and activities. We are now seeking donations for this year's auction.

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VEGETATION SURVEY IN SAM HOUSTON HOUSTON NATIONAL FOREST
On August 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th the Houston Sierra Club (HSC) assisted Dr. Jeff Glitzenstein (Jeff), who is a forest ecologist associated with Tall Timbers Research Station, in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) while he conducted surveys on vegetation plots in Compartment 35, near Lake Conroe.

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VOTE EARLY...AND OFTEN FOR OUR TEXAS ENVIRONMENT
Join the many thousands of Texas Sierrans and other environmentalists to vote and encourage others to vote, making the difference in the crucial 2014 elections. The state political leadership from the governor through individual Texas Senate and House members who appoint and approve members of the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality, write and enforce environmental laws, will be elected November 4. Your actions and vote between now and then are critical for the Texas environment.

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DON GREENE: ANOTHER WARRIOR LEAVES US
After a few weeks in the hospital and hospice Don died from pancreatic cancer. River guardian and steward, paddler extraordinaire, educator of young and old, keeper of the safe river trip, and believer in Buffalo Bayou, Don made it a habit to paddle wherever the flow led him. To Don, Life was like a river, you don't force it; you ride with the flow.

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EXCOM ELECTIONS IN DECEMBER
Although paper copies of the Bayou Banner will no longer be mailed bimonthly to members, club bylaws require ballots to be mailed by December. Therefore, a paper version of the December-January issue of the Bayou Banner will be mailed to members. That issue will have ballots for election of members of the Executive Committee of the Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club. Candidates can be suggested by any member of the club. You can submit suggestions for candidates and petitions to the Nominating Committee: Jim Williams (ezz@pdq.net), Jen Powis (jenniferpowis@yahoo.com), or Mary Schultz (mschultz@hal-pc.org). Petitions for candidacy must be received by October 20, 2014 for publishing in the Bayou Banner December-January issue.

MEETUP WEBSITE FOR OUTINGS!
The Houston Sierra Club is now posting outings at its new Meetup website. One can locate the website by searching for: "Houston Sierra Club Outings Meetup". The Meetup website will allow us to schedule outings with less lead time. The site features an easy to use calendar and includes convenient map links for destinations. It offers a quick and easy way to check our scheduled outings and other Club events.
2015 SIERRA CLUB CALENDARS
Available at the monthly General Meeting sales table. If you are interested in volunteering for calendar consignment sales, contact Lorraine Gibson at 281-384-4104.
You can read the entire newsletter here

2014 - Current News:

October/November, 2014:

October/November, 2014 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)


August/September, 2014:

August/September, 2014 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)


June/July, 2014:

June/July, 2014 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)


April/May, 2014:

April/May, 2014 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)


ONE-BIN-FOR-ALL? WHAT WE NEED IS A ZERO-WASTE POLICY.
By Melanie Scruggs, Program Director, Texas Campaign for the Environment
We believe the One-Bin-for-All proposal by the City of Houston is a mistake. Problems include cost, air pollution, and the likelihood of low levels of recycling......

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SAN JACINTO RIVER WASTE PITS, REVISITED; By Art Browning
By Melanie Scruggs, Program Director, Texas Campaign for the Environment
We believe the One-Bin-for-All proposal by the City of Houston is a mistake. Problems include cost, air pollution, and the likelihood of low levels of recycling......

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February-March, 2014:

February - March, 2014 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)


2013 - News:

December 2013 / January 2014:

December 2013 / January 2014 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)

October/November:

October/November 2013 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)

Article: Failure - How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Tests
Sierra Club and Oil Change International have created a report on the climate effects of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to send to President Barack Obama with the intention of giving the President all the information he needs to reject the pipeline...

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PROPOSITION 6 - by Art Browning
The Texas Legislature's 83rd session is finished, including a couple of extra sessions, we hope. Many new laws went into effect on Sep. 1...

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August/September:

August/September 2013 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)
DAVIS HILL STATE PARK
RECYCLING OLD ATHLETIC SHOES
RE-LINK YOUR KROGER CARD FOR 2013
...and more

DAVIS HILL STATE PARK
This park is one of several that have not been opened to the public. Why? Because the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has not had funds...

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RECYCLING OLD ATHLETIC SHOES
If you have old, worn out athletic shoes, you can recycle them rather than toss them in the trash. Nike has a Reuse-A-Shoe program...

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June/July:

June/July 2013 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)
TEXAS BOTTLE BILL
BAYGALL FORESTS FOUND IN SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL FOREST
SIERRA CLUB AWARDS
RE-LINK YOUR KROGER CARD FOR 2013
...and more

April/May:

April/May 2013 Bayou Banner - - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)
BEAUTY MEETS BEAST IN THE CYPRESS WONDERLAND
Editorial: DOES "ONE BIN FOR ALL" WORK?
T. GONDII, CATS, AND HUMAN SOCIETY
Help us! The Yard Sale is Coming!
...and more

BEAUTY MEETS BEAST IN THE CYPRESS WONDERLAND; by Tom Douglas.
Just as our group met on Saturday morning, December 8, 2012, the first of two heavy rain showers passed over. Availing ourselves of the shelter ...

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EDITORIAL: DOES "ONE BIN FOR ALL" WORK?
In recent months the City of Houston has put forward a proposal called "One Bin for All" that would address recycling by harvesting recyclables directly...

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T. GONDII, CATS, AND HUMAN SOCIETY ; by George Batten.
It's so small you can't see it. It's unlikely that you will know it if it affects you or a friend. You may know...

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February/March:

February/March 2013 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)

KEEP OUR PARKS OPEN -- STATE PARK ADVOCACY - by Jennifer Powis
Did you know that over the last 5 years, over $12.5 million dollars has come to Harris County to support local land acquisition or programming related to our state parks and the outdoors?...   More -->

Editorial: MAYBE THERE IS HOPE
Many of us have held the pessimistic view that bitumen from Canadian Athabasca oil sands will soon flow through a pipeline (the Keystone XL pipeline) into our area, and by doing so...   More -->

BIRDING IS A STATE OF MIND
Recently, I led a birding outing for the Houston Sierra Club and participated in the Galveston Christmas Bird Count. I don't consider...   More -->

EXCOM HAS TWO NEW MEMBERS -
Mary Schultz and Grace Martinez are two new members of the Executive Committee...   More -->

NEW URBAN CYCLING BIKEWAYS - by Frank Blake
In recent months we have learned that the City of Houston plans to close the heavily used recycling drop off center...   More -->

December/January:

December/January 2012 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)

SOMETIMES YOU JUST GET LUCKY! by Brandt Mannchen
I was slated to lead a Sierra Club outing to Stephen F. Austin State Park. In the past year fewer people attended the outings I was leading. I thought that I was losing my touch...   More -->

GOVERNMENT CANYON SNA TO OPEN CAMPGROUND - by Frank Blake
For the first time since it opened in 2005, Government Canyon State Natural Area will allow overnight camping...   More -->

IMPORTANT RECYCLING DROP OFF SITE TO CLOSE, Please request a replacement site.
In recent months we have learned that the City of Houston plans to close the heavily used recycling drop off center...   More -->

October/November:

October/November 2012 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - (770 KB) Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)

CATS & TNR REVISITED: KITTY CAMS AND BARC
by Page Williams, Lone Star Sierra Endangered Species Committee. In the 2011 June-July Bayou Banner, I presented a brief synopsis of 5 articles and an editorial from The Wildlife Society's Spring 2011 quarterly publication, Wildlife Professional, on the problems created by feral and free-roaming domestic cats...   More -->

A PERFECT MATCH KIDS & NATURE
by Lorraine Gibson After this long summer, I need a "nature fix". And there is no better time than the fall to be outdoors exploring nature with kids...   More -->

AIR PUBLIC HEALTH FIGHTER PASSES AWAY
Jane Elioseff, a long-time clean air activist, passed away on June 29, 2012.   More -->

THE GRAND PARKWAY AND ADDICKS DAM Decision on Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et.al. by Evelyn L. Merz. If you had to summarize the point of the Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lawsuit, it would be that the Houston Sierra Club believed...   More -->

FEDERAL COURT RULING SUPPORTS EFFORTS TO PROTECT ADDICKS AND BARKER RESERVOIRS. Prepared by Jim Blackburn On Monday, August 27, 2012, Judge Keith Ellison ruled in the case of Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the Corps had failed...   More -->

DEVILS RIVER STATE NATURAL AREA NEWS. by Evelyn L. Merz. In the fall of 2010, the Lone Star Chapter played in preserving the original Devils River State Natural Area...   More -->

LATEST NEWS ON SIERRA CLUB V. FEMA: A Cynical Lesson in Civics or Power Trumps Public Interest. by Evelyn L. Merz If you need an example of how real-world government (Insert HARRIS COUNTY here) doesn't work for the public good...   More -->

August/September:

August/September 2012 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - (748 KB) Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)
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SIERRA CLUB SURVEYS A PROPOSED MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL - August/September 2012 Article - By Brandt Mannchen In April and June the Houston Sierra Club surveyed part of the proposed 12-mile mountain bike trail (MBT) on Sam Houston National Forest and provided recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service about the route...   More -->

LONE STAR HIKING TRAIL REOPENINGS Sam Houston National Forest The U.S. Forest (FS) has announced the opening of additional parts of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) after it closed all trails in Sam Houston National Forest at the end of March...   More -->

Fundraising Campaign to Save College Park Prairie Houston Audubon, Houston Wilderness, Coastal Prairie Partnership, and generous individuals are collaborating to save College Park Prairie, a 53-acre coastal prairie remnant in Deer Park. A willing seller and a brief window of time to raise funds...   More -->

Future Allocation Of Metro's General Mobility Funds This fall there will likely be a referendum on the ballot regarding the future allocation of METRO's sales tax...   More -->

Houston ICO Needs You!

- Introduction Meeting at Star Pizza 2111 Norfolk St. at S Shepherd Dr. 08/21/12 - 7:00 pm -

It is revival time for Houston Inner City Outings (Houston ICO). Our mission as a community outreach program...   More -->

SIERRA CLUB WELCOMES DR. AL ARMENDARIZ TO BEYOND COAL CAMPAIGN
DALLAS - Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator Dr. Alfredo "Al" Armendariz will join the staff of the Sierra Club...

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COAL PLANTS USE MORE WATER
Statement by Ken Kramer, Director, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club Prepared for Testimony before the Joint Hearing of Texas House Energy Resources and Natural Resources Committees at Today's Interim Hearing at the State Capitol...

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HOUSTON TO STUDY POSSIBLE PLASTIC BAG BAN
In June the Houston City Council considered adopting an amendment to the budget that would have initiated a process to draft an ordinance banning certain types of retail plastic check out bags...

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CYPRESS CREEK FLOODING AND GRAND PARKWAY SEGMENT E
Rain in the first part of July caused major flooding along Cypress Creek in northwest Harris County, As you can see by the NOAA hydrograph, the water level near Cypress, Texas...

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National Forests and Grasslands in Texas
FOREST SERVICE PROPOSED DROUGHT RESPONSE PLAN: INCREASED SALVAGE LOGGING...

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June/July News:

June/July 2012 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - (1.66 MB) Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)
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"It's Only An Orange Peel!"
I have led outings for the Houston Sierra Club for 18 years. In all that time I cannot tell you how often I have heard the statement "It's only an orange peel"...

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Parts of the Lone Star Hiking Trail Re-Open in Sam Houston National Forest
The U.S. Forest (FS) has announced the opening of additional parts of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) after it closed all trails in Sam Houston National Forest at the end of March due to safety concerns about trees that died due to the 2011 drought.

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Hell Freezes Over! Neches River Bill Introduced by Hutchison in Senate
At long last, hell has frozen over!!! Texas U.S. Senator Katy Bailey Hutchison introduced into the U.S. Senate, Senate Bill (S.) 2324, Upper Neches Wild and Scenic River Study Act, which authorizes the study of the Neches River for eligibility as a designated National Wild and Scenic River. This is a dream that conservationists, including the Sierra Club, have had for over 30 years.

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Sierra Club Conducts Proposed Mountain Bike Trail Survey
In April and June the Houston Sierra Club surveyed part of the proposed 12-mile mountain bike trail (MBT) on Sam Houston National Forest and provided recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service about the route that had been flagged.

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State Highway Department Proposes SH 288 Fly-Way Over Hermann Park
Recently, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) proposed connecting State Highway (SH) 288 toll road to the Texas Medical Center through Hermann Park via North MacGregor Way. However, at the June 22, 2012 meeting of the Transportation Policy Council (TPC), after a huge public outcry, TxDOT said that it would look at other alternatives.

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Forest Service Shuts Down All Trails in Sam Houston and Davy Crocket National Forests
On March 30, 2012, the Acting Supervisor for the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Stephanie Johnson, signed an order to close all trails on the Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) and Davy Crockett National Forest (DCNF) due to drought killed trees. Acting Supervisor Johnson said that she would not hike down some of the trails that she saw with her seven-year old daughter because she did not feel it was safe.

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April/May News:

April/May 2012 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - (0.9mb) Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)
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April General Meeting - April 12, 2012 -

Our April program features a close-up look at a project surrounded in mystery - Charting Buffalo.

Officially, Charting Buffalo is a Harris County Flood Control District project which aims "to provide a master plan for effective flood damage reduction along the entire length of Buffalo and lower White Oak bayous. At the same time, the study will integrate diverse community goals for enhancing the bayous through urban design, public access, habitat conservation and restoration, water quality improvements, sediment and erosion management and economic development." With a mission this big, MANY people and groups are highly interested in this project. One of those groups is Houston's SAVE OUR FOREST. Representatives from SAVE OUR FOREST will help explain to attendees why you too should be very interested in this far-reaching initiative. Unveil the mystery; join us April 12 for this revealing look at Charting Buffalo! (Social period 7:00 PM. Main program begins at 7:30 PM.)

College Park Prairie Needs Saving
Recently in Deer Park, a small group of prairie hunters, members of the Native Plant Society and Native Prairie Association of Texas, have found and surveyed a 52 acre gem of a remnant prairie.

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February/March News:

February/March 2012 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - (0.9mb) Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)
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Editorial: DISGRACEFUL
Even though many of us have testified at related hearings and joined many protests, it is hard to get a full grasp of all the negative issues associated with the Keystone XL pipeline. Two men, Tom Weiss and Ron Seifert...   (February, 2012)   More -->

December 2011/January 2012 News:

December 2011/January 2012 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - (0.9mb) Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)
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Addicks Dam/Grand Parkway Litigation Proceeds to Motions for Summary Judgment and Decision on the Merits
The hearing for a preliminary injunction on Segment E of the Grand Parkway ended on Wednesday afternoon, November 16th. Our case, Sierra Club vs. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers et.al., is centered on the increased risks resulting from the additional runoff into the Addicks Reservoir that would be generated from the Segment E construction and secondary development in the Addicks and Upper Cypress Creek watersheds. Addicks Dam (and also Barker Dam) have been classified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as Level 1, the highest rank, in posing an "Urgent and Compelling" danger of failure. Of about 300 dams rated by the Corps under its Dam Safety Action Classification (DSAC), only 6 have been ranked as Level 1 - and Addicks and Barker Dams are two of them.  (Nov 11)   More -->

Forest Service Proposes Salvage Logging in Stubblefield Recreation Area
Recently, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) proposed logging Stubblefield Recreation Area (SRA) because trees have died due to our drought. In an October 20, 2011 public notice the FS proposed that it would remove 300 "hazard trees" found in and around the SRA in Walker County, Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF).  (Nov 11)   More -->

Sierra Club Monitors Implementation of Lawsuit Settlement
On October 11th and 18th the Houston Sierra Club visited Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) and walked part of the Boswell Creek area with the U.S. Forest Service (FS) to monitor implementation of a lawsuit regarding proposed logging on thousands of acres of national forest. The lawsuit, called Sierra Club v. Jacobs, includes the Boswell Creek Healthy Forest Initiative Project and the Compartments 28 and 37 Project.  (Nov 11)   More -->

Bates M. Allen Park – A Hidden Treasure
Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to enjoy a hot summer day, or any day, and provide you with close-up opportunities to view wildlife. There are many opportunities to use a canoe or kayak in our area but I would like to introduce you to one that is hardly known.   (Nov 11)   More -->

Big Thicket Day Brings Smiles and Rain!
It was a great and happy time at the 47th annual Big Thicket Day that was put on by the Big Thicket Association on October 8th. There was a report by the National Park Service about the operation of Big Thicket National Preserve (BTNP). Wendy Ledbetter gave a great presentation about the All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (called the Thicket of Diversity – in other words count all the critters and plants in the Big Thicket). The continuous slide show impressed me and showed the myriads of critters and happy people which can be found in the Big Thicket.  (Nov 11)   More -->

Even Buzz, Buzz, Can’t Ruin This Beautiful Day
It was great to see so many familiar faces. Peggy, Mary Jane, Tom, Bob, Michael, Jim, and Nancy were at Meyerland Plaza Starbucks, raring to go by 7:30 am. We got our carpools set-up and then set-out on a caravan to Brazoria County. Our first stop was Hudson Woods, near the intersection of State Highway 35 and FM 521. That was where we would meet Mike Lange with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), who was going to guide us to some new Columbia Bottomland tracts that have been bought and added to the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.  (Nov 11)   More -->

Doctor 'Air' Passes Away
David Marrack, a long-time environmental activist and medical doctor, recently passed away. I met David in the late 1970’s when he was active with the Houston Audubon Society (HAS). David came from England and as a medical doctor was very concerned about the health effects that air pollution had on people. David developed air as a specialty in the late 1980’s and 1990’s and in particular studied and became an “expert” on incineration and small particulate air pollution. David became such a self-taught expert that he wrote and presented papers at annual Air and Waste Management Association meetings.  (Nov 11)   More -->

Proposed Grand Parkway Roads Provide More Bad News for Houston Area Habitats
The Houston Sierra Club recently finalized its comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Grand Parkway Toll Roads, Segments H and I-1 (GPHI). These incredibly destructive parts of the ultimate and astronomically expensive (over $5 billion, 180 miles long) “Road to Nowhere” would extend 36 miles and go from U.S. 59, near FM 1485, to Interstate 10 East, near FM 3180.  (Nov 11)   More -->

Spring Creek Greenway – The Real Thing
I was just about ready to go when Carolyn pulled up. I told her it was good to see her and helped her put her hiking gear in the trunk of my car (I should cleanout my car sometime!) and then off we went. This was an unusual Forest Walk. Instead of most people meeting me near the Starbucks in Meyerland Plaza, The Woodlands area Sierrans would be waiting for me at the Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center in Montgomery County (1300 Riley Fuzzel Road) to begin the hike. It was after all, their backyard.  (Nov 11)   More -->


October/November News:

October/November 2011 Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter - (0.6mb) Get Acrobat Reader rss.gif (1202 bytes)

Interest Shown by Sabine River Authority in Toledo Bend Strip Lands
Recently, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) contacted the Lone Star Chapter/Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club about a proposal by the Sabine River Authority (SRA) to acquire by land exchange the so-called "strip lands" that border Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Texas/Louisiana Border within Sabine National Forest (SNF). The "strip lands" are found between the 172-175 foot contour of the Toledo Bend Reservoir and are federal land. These lands consist of about 3,650 acres of SNF and include about 300 acres in Indian Mounds Wilderness Area.   (Oct 11)  More -->

What's Really Happening To Buffalo Bayou?
It makes you wonder sometimes how people can call something green, when really the color is not so vibrant. Recently, the Sierra Club submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a Clean Water Act permit for Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) which would allow dredging and filling in and along two miles of Buffalo Bayou, between Shepherd and Sabine Streets.   (Oct 11)  More -->

Proposed Grand Parkway Roads Provide More Bad News for Houston Area Habitats
The Houston Sierra Club recently finalized its comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Grand Parkway Toll Roads, Segments H and I-1 (GPHI). These incredibly destructive parts of the ultimate and astronomically expensive (over $5 billion, 180 miles long) "Road to Nowhere" would extend 36 miles and go from U.S. 59, near FM 1485, to Interstate 10 East, near FM 3180.  (Oct 11)  More -->
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2011 News:

Volunteer News:

Club Notes

Bates M. Allen Park – A Hidden Treasure
Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to enjoy a hot summer day, or any day, and provide you with close-up opportunities to view wildlife. There are many opportunities to use a canoe or kayak in our area but I would like to introduce you to one that is hardly known.   (Nov 11)  

Big Thicket Day Brings Smiles and Rain!
It was a great and happy time at the 47th annual Big Thicket Day that was put on by the Big Thicket Association on October 8th. There was a report by the National Park Service about the operation of Big Thicket National Preserve (BTNP). Wendy Ledbetter gave a great presentation about the All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (called the Thicket of Diversity – in other words count all the critters and plants in the Big Thicket). The continuous slide show impressed me and showed the myriads of critters and happy people which can be found in the Big Thicket.  (Nov 11)

Even Buzz, Buzz, Can’t Ruin This Beautiful Day
It was great to see so many familiar faces. Peggy, Mary Jane, Tom, Bob, Michael, Jim, and Nancy were at Meyerland Plaza Starbucks, raring to go by 7:30 am. We got our carpools set-up and then set-out on a caravan to Brazoria County. Our first stop was Hudson Woods, near the intersection of State Highway 35 and FM 521. That was where we would meet Mike Lange with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), who was going to guide us to some new Columbia Bottomland tracts that have been bought and added to the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.  (Nov 11)  

Spring Creek Greenway – The Real Thing
I was just about ready to go when Carolyn pulled up. I told her it was good to see her and helped her put her hiking gear in the trunk of my car (I should cleanout my car sometime!) and then off we went. This was an unusual Forest Walk. Instead of most people meeting me near the Starbucks in Meyerland Plaza, The Woodlands area Sierrans would be waiting for me at the Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center in Montgomery County (1300 Riley Fuzzel Road) to begin the hike. It was after all, their backyard.  (Nov 11)  

Clear Creek Paddle
On Saturday June 18, eleven paddlers took part in a joint Houston Sierra Club/Houston Canoe Club outing on Clear Creek led by Gus Cei and John Berlinghoff. The trip began at the Egret Bay Blvd. bridge boat ramp, about two miles upstream from where the creek flows into Clear Lake. We decided on a 9.2 mile round-trip paddle up to Challenger 7 Park, and a short side trip into a lagoon on the north side of the main channel. The trip started relatively early to avoid the hottest part of the day, and to finish up before many of the power boats, personal watercraft, and wakeboarders came out.   (Aug 11)

Blackland Prairies Reveal Wildflower Delights
It was another hot July day (July 9th to be precise). Our carpool caravan pulled up and turned onto Forest Road 209 in Sam Houston National Forest. I leaped out of Nicida’s SUV, walked over and hugged Petra, and shook Pat’s hand. I told them to “follow us” and then jumped back into the SUV. I was already jazzed because I saw beautiful purple stalks of Bluebells (also known as Gentians) along the road right-of-way. Where Petra and Pat has pulled off to the road to wait for us was a remnant blackland prairie that was overgrown by shrubs and trees. But those rich, dark, alkaline, shrink-swell soils were present and along the cleared right-of-way prairie plants still survived.     (Aug 11)

Service is the Name of the Game
I cannot tell you how important environmental service work is to me. When I give back to the environment that sustains me and everyone else on the planet I receive a rich reward that cannot be measured in greenbacks. I can see the fruits of my labor immediately. I feel incredibly empowered and happy. I am outdoors where the humility of my existence is readily apparent and welcomed. I feel a part of something much larger than myself. At the end of the day I feel tired, I am sweaty, and I feel at peace. Something that I find is rare for today's hurry-burry existence but it is something that I crave.       (Aug 11) 

Hot Weather, Great Hike, at Little Thicket Nature Sanctuary
Well we knew it would be hot. But we were surprised that the forest in the Little Thicket Nature Sanctuary (LTNS) cooled us off and kept us hiking for more great forest scenes. David, David, Nicida, Sergio, and I had a ball. The LTNS is owned by the Outdoor Nature Club, Houston’s oldest nature and conservation organization (the Roaring Twenties saw the beginning of the Club) and covers about 750 acres. Most of the land was acquired in the early 1950’s and has been growing back naturally as a forest, recovering from being farmed, since that time. No logging or other human disruptions have been allowed except for modest trails. What a unique, secret, and wonderful forest gem!!!   (Jun 11) 

Little Creek – For the Birds, Beech, and Earth
April and it feels already like summer! That is what I thought waiting in the parking lot for folks to arrive for the Sierra Club Forest Walk to Little Creek in Sam Houston National Forest. Donna, David, Robert, and Michael all soon made their appearances and we were ready to push-off from Starbucks in Meyerland!   (Jun 11) 

Migration! You Never Know What You Will See!!!
Jane, David, and I were determined to see birds no matter what! We did, but as any Sierran knows, you never can tell what you will find. We started our journey down in Galveston on the ferry to Bolivar Peninsula. Laughing Gulls were, what else, laughing at us as we peacefully watched the green water from the deck of the boat and enjoyed the cooling wind and the whimsical splashes of dolphins. I never tire of seeing these playful pranksters of the sea!    (Jun 11) 

Roll On Mighty Trinity, Roll On
Going someplace new is always exciting for me. I call such trips adventures. On May 14th I had an adventure with the Houston Sierra Club. I led a trip to a unit of the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge (TRNWR) that I had never visited. The name of the unit is, Boar’s Den, which makes you feel a little uneasy and provides some mystery, that’s for sure. It is found on the northeast side of the State Highway 105 bridge at the Trinity River.    (Jun 11)

Canoe/Kayak The Cypress Wonderland - May 14, 2011
On May 14, twelve paddlers joined Tom Douglas and Linda Shead on the shore of Lake Charlotte at Cedar Hill Park, several miles northeast of where the Trinity River crosses Interstate Highway 10. Special thanks to Gus Cei, who arrived early and helped out with several aspects of logistics during the trip.    (Jun 11)

Perfect Day Frames Great Tree ID Class
The "Tree Guys" pulled it out again. By calling upon long distance assistance from above (the reservation system is "heavenly," so to speak) the "Tree Guys" had a perfect day on March 27th to do their thing and bring another great crew into the fold of Tree Identification (ID).   (Mar 11)

East Sandy Creek - You Know You've Had a Good Trip When …
We turned off of FM 1374 and onto Forest Road 222 and began to drive through the part of Sam Houston National Forest where East Sandy Creek flowed through its extensive floodplain. I pointed out to the people in my car the many Mayapples and the Palmettos that we passed as we looked for a place to park.   (Mar 11)


Obituaries

Jane Elioself, 06/29/2012

Hana Ginzbarg, 10/18/2013

Sammy Ray, 10/14/2013

Sammy Ray Memorial Service

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ICO
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Conservation News:

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General Conservation

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Forestry

Forest Service Proposes Salvage Logging in Stubblefield Recreation Area
Recently, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) proposed logging Stubblefield Recreation Area (SRA) because trees have died due to our drought. In an October 20, 2011 public notice the FS proposed that it would remove 300 "hazard trees" found in and around the SRA in Walker County, Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF).  (Nov 11)

Sierra Club Monitors Implementation of Lawsuit Settlement
On October 11th and 18th the Houston Sierra Club visited Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) and walked part of the Boswell Creek area with the U.S. Forest Service (FS) to monitor implementation of a lawsuit regarding proposed logging on thousands of acres of national forest. The lawsuit, called Sierra Club v. Jacobs, includes the Boswell Creek Healthy Forest Initiative Project and the Compartments 28 and 37 Project.  (Nov 11)

Interest Shown by Sabine River Authority in Toledo Bend Strip Lands
Recently, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) contacted the Lone Star Chapter/Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club about a proposal by the Sabine River Authority (SRA) to acquire by land exchange the so-called "strip lands" that border Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Texas/Louisiana Border within Sabine National Forest (SNF). The "strip lands" are found between the 172-175 foot contour of the Toledo Bend Reservoir and are federal land. These lands consist of about 3,650 acres of SNF and include about 300 acres in Indian Mounds Wilderness Area.   (Oct 11)

Forest Service Turns Down TPWD Land Swap For National Forest Near Huntsville State Park
In June 2011, Forest Supervisor Linda Brett of the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas turned down a request by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to swap or buy out 1,824 acres of Sam Houston National Forest (Compartment 57) to add to Huntsville State Park.    (Aug 11)

Trinity River Headquarters Groundbreaking Brings New Vision
Conservationists should celebrate as often as possible, since the assault on our environment is never ending and we often feel overwhelmed. On March 18, 2011, about 50 people celebrated the groundbreaking for the headquarters of the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge (TRNWR). The headquarters will be constructed across FM 1011 from the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty County. As U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge manager, Stuart Marcus said, "It only took us 17 years to get here." Construction should be complete by December 2011 or January 2012 when there will be a ribbon cutting. It will be worth it!  (Mar 11)

Forest Service Calls Time Out on SHTC
In a strange turn of events, after the Sam Houston Trails Coalition (SHTC) voted to seek a grant, with U.S. Forest Service (FS) approval, that would have opened the entire Magnolia Section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) to mountain bikes, two weeks later the FS sent a letter to the SHTC which stated that the FS would not support any grants for 2011 until a Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) trails master plan has been formulated.   (Feb 11)

Sierra Club Provides Comments to Forest Service on Kidhaw Project
The Sierra Club provided the U.S. Forest Service (FS) with pre-scoping comments on the Kidhaw Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project (KWHIP), in Compartments 5/6 of Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF).   (Feb 11) 

Wild Refuges Provide Big Bird Pay-Off and Something Special
The morning was mild and the promise of the new day was partly cloudy with warm temperatures. But the wind, oh that wind. It was blowing! We made our way down and across southern Brazoria County and finally turned onto the road to San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge (SBNWR). I had promised a special surprise and drove past the entrance and pulled up to a locked gate. A whirl of the combination lock and the gate was open. We drove through, relocked the gate, and headed up the road for about mile and pulled into the parking lot. I told the eager Sierrans that we were going to visit the beautiful Columbia Bottomlands forest with pecan, live oak, hackberry, green ash, and many other trees.   (Feb 11) 

Forest Service Calls Time Out on SHTC
In a strange turn of events, after the Sam Houston Trails Coalition (SHTC) voted to seek a grant, with U.S. Forest Service (FS) approval, that would have opened the entire Magnolia Section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) to mountain bikes, two weeks later the FS sent a letter to the SHTC which stated that the FS would not support any grants for 2011 until a Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) trails master plan has been formulated.   (Feb 11) 
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Transportation

Proposed Grand Parkway Roads Provide More Bad News for Houston Area Habitats
The Houston Sierra Club recently finalized its comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Grand Parkway Toll Roads, Segments H and I-1 (GPHI). These incredibly destructive parts of the ultimate and astronomically expensive (over $5 billion, 180 miles long) “Road to Nowhere” would extend 36 miles and go from U.S. 59, near FM 1485, to Interstate 10 East, near FM 3180.  (Nov 11)

Addicks Dam/Grand Parkway Litigation Proceeds to Motions for Summary Judgment and Decision on the Merits
The hearing for a preliminary injunction on Segment E of the Grand Parkway ended on Wednesday afternoon, November 16th. Our case, Sierra Club vs. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers et.al., is centered on the increased risks resulting from the additional runoff into the Addicks Reservoir that would be generated from the Segment E construction and secondary development in the Addicks and Upper Cypress Creek watersheds. Addicks Dam (and also Barker Dam) have been classified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as Level 1, the highest rank, in posing an "Urgent and Compelling" danger of failure. Of about 300 dams rated by the Corps under its Dam Safety Action Classification (DSAC), only 6 have been ranked as Level 1 - and Addicks and Barker Dams are two of them.  (Nov 11)

Proposed Grand Parkway Roads Provide More Bad News for Houston Area Habitats
The Houston Sierra Club recently finalized its comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Grand Parkway Toll Roads, Segments H and I-1 (GPHI). These incredibly destructive parts of the ultimate and astronomically expensive (over $5 billion, 180 miles long) "Road to Nowhere" would extend 36 miles and go from U.S. 59, near FM 1485, to Interstate 10 East, near FM 3180.  (Oct 11) 

Proposed Grand Parkway - Update
Like a many-headed dragon or hydra, the proposed Grand Parkway (GP – I call it the “Road to Nowhere”) is being pushed forward by politicians, developers, and road builders. This effort drains local, state, and federal transportation coffers of money needed for other more important projects. (Aug 11)
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Clean Water & Air

Doctor 'Air' Passes Away
David Marrack, a long-time environmental activist and medical doctor, recently passed away. I met David in the late 1970’s when he was active with the Houston Audubon Society (HAS). David came from England and as a medical doctor was very concerned about the health effects that air pollution had on people. David developed air as a specialty in the late 1980’s and 1990’s and in particular studied and became an “expert” on incineration and small particulate air pollution. David became such a self-taught expert that he wrote and presented papers at annual Air and Waste Management Association meetings.  (Nov 11)

Habitat Preservation

What's Really Happening To Buffalo Bayou?
It makes you wonder sometimes how people can call something green, when really the color is not so vibrant. Recently, the Sierra Club submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a Clean Water Act permit for Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) which would allow dredging and filling in and along two miles of Buffalo Bayou, between Shepherd and Sabine Streets.   (Oct 11)

Is the Ike Dike Really Dead?
Recent reports in late May suggest that the infamous Ike Dike is "dead." The Sierra Club does not believe this is true. The reports quote Galveston County Judge Mark Henry as saying that "Right now the money doesn't exist and I don't know how we can pay for it."     (Aug 11)

Contact Senators Hutchison and Cornyn to Save Columbia Bottomland Acquisitions
Your help is needed immediately to save funding for the Columbia Bottomlands forest of San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge (SBNWR) and land acquisition for our national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests all across the United States!  People from the Nation's fourth largest city and people from all over the world use the Columbia Bottomlands and other habitats found in the SBNWR for hunting, fishing, birding, environmental education, photography, canoeing, kayaking, boating, wildlife observation, nature study, and many other low impact and compatible recreational, educational, and scientific activities.   (Mar 11)
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Political News:

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Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter (.pdf format Get Acrobat Reader): rss.gif (1202 bytes)

October/November 2014 -  
- Trips and Local Outings.
- SHNF Vegetation Survey.
- November 4 General Election.
- Don Greene.
- Recycling Resources.
- Sierra Club Calendars for 2015.
- ExCom Elections.
- Banner Mailouts Ending, Sign Up For Our Email Alert List.

August/September 2014 -  
- New Bayou Banner Editor.
- Environmental Justice Summit.
- New Sierra Club Award.
- Zero Waste or One Bin?
- National Drive Electric Week.
- Recycling Flip-Flops.
- Trips and Local Outings.
- Banner Mailouts Ending, Sign Up For Our Email Alert List.

June/July 2014 -  
- Nothing Lasts Forever.
- The Bayou Banner needs editorial and layout help.
- Trips and Local Outings.
- Banner Mailouts Ending, Sign Up For Our Email Alert List.

April/May 2014 -  
- ONE-BIN-FOR-ALL? WHAT WE NEED IS A ZERO-WASTE POLICY.
- The Bayou Banner needs editorial and layout help.
- SAN JACINTO RIVER WASTE PITS, REVISITED.
- ANNUAL YARD SALE Your Help Needed! May 10, 2014

February/March 2014 -  
- WARNING!
- ANNUAL YARD SALE
- AIR QUALITY ADVOCATES NEEDED
- NEW HOUSTON RESIDENTIAL ENERGY CONSERVATION CODE

December 2013 / January 2014 -  
- EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ELECTION
- ENERGY EFFICIENCY
- Annual Auction Your Help Needed!
- TWO MORE PIPELINES AND NWP 12

October/November 2013 -   
HOUSTON CITY ELECTIONS
Pipeline Flunks the Climate Tests
Annual Auction Your Help Needed!
BELLAIRE RECYCLES FEST
...and more

August/September 2013 -   
DAVIS HILL STATE PARK
RECYCLING OLD ATHLETIC SHOES
PUBLIC PROCESS BEGINS FOR EARLY RESTORATION PROJECTS USING BP OIL SPILL MONEY
DOUBLE BAYOU SUBJECT TO WATERSHED PROTECTION PLAN
...and more

June/July 2013 -   
SIERRA CLUB RECOGNIZES ACTIVISTS AND REPORTERS
TEXAS BOTTLE BILL
CLEAR CREEK: PADDLING THE FRIENDSWOOD BOUNDARY WATERS
SIERRA CLUB AWARDS
...and more

April/May 2013 -   
BEAUTY MEETS BEAST IN THE CYPRESS WONDERLAND
Editorial: DOES "ONE BIN FOR ALL" WORK?
T. GONDII, CATS, AND HUMAN SOCIETY
Help us! The Yard Sale is Coming!
...and more

February/March 2013 -   
KEEP OUR PARKS OPEN -- STATE PARK ADVOCACY
Editorial: MAYBE THERE IS HOPE
BIRDING IS A STATE OF MIND
NEW URBAN CYCLING BIKEWAYS
...and more

December/January 2012 -   
Donations And Volunteers Needed for Annual Auction and Awards Presentation On December 13, 2012
ExCom Election Information
Moving to Zero-Waste
Some Election Wins, But Look out for 2013

October/November 2012 - (772kb)  
Future Allocation Of METRO's General Mobility Funds
Annual Auction December 13, 2012
Sierra Kids Trips Geared Towards You Coming Soon
A Fly Over Hermann Park Say No!
Houston ICO Needs You!

August/September 2012 - (748kb)  
Future Allocation Of METRO's General Mobility Funds
Annual Auction December 13, 2012
Sierra Kids Trips Geared Towards You Coming Soon
A Fly Over Hermann Park Say No!
Houston ICO Needs You!

June/July 2012 - (1.6mb)  
Editorial: "IT'S ONLY AN ORANGE PEEL!"
College Park Prarie Needs Saving
Forest Service Shuts Down National Forest Trails
June 14 General Meeting: "Combined Heat And Power"
Galveston / Bay Area Meetings

April/May 2012 - (0.6mb)  
Editorial: Important Fund Appeal For Addicks Dam Protection Lawsuit
Big Industry And The Coal Plants Are Fighting Us Again
Earth Day At Discovery Green
Ken Kramer, Chapter Director, retiring.
Galveston / Bay Area Meetings

February/March 2012 - (0.9mb)  
Editorial: DISGRACEFUL
The Twelve Disgraces Of Christmas
Annual Yard Sale
Buffalo Bayou Regatta
Trinity River Headquarters
Galveston / Bay Area Meetings

December 2011/January 2012 - (0.9mb)  
Annual Auction & Holiday Party
Addicks Dam Protection Lawsuit
Executive Committee Election
Galveston / Bay Area Meetings

October / November 2011 - (0.6mb)  
Elections:  HSC and General
Texas State Parks News:  New Acquisitions and Public Comment Policy
Annual Auction
Galveston / Bay Area Meetings

August / September 2011 - (0.6mb)  
Grand Parkway Update
Habitat Improvement
Hands Across the Sand
Galveston / Bay Area Meetings

June / July 2011 - (0.8mb)  
Money Talks
Pick One: Outdoor Cats or Conservation
Canoe/Kayak the Cypress Wonderland
Galveston / Bay Area Meetings

April / May 2011 - (2.3mb)  
Cleaning the Air in Texas
Katy Prairie Really Is for the Birds
Lawsuit Provides Solar Panels for School
State Department Announces Next Steps In Keystone Xl Pipeline Permit Process

February / March 2011 - (1.0mb)  
Plastic Bag Bans Gain Momentum
Kidhaw Project Comments
Forest Service Calls Time Out on SHTC
Big Thicket Now Greener!


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Last updated:  11/25/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.