Maintaining the Bayou Greenways system: Sims Bayou highlight

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HOUSTON (CW39) – “We have about 5 months where it is tough working outside all day every day.”, says Trent Rondot, Conservation & Maintenance Director for Houston Parks Board. 

But workers beat the heat and get the job done. 

“Sims Bayou on the south side of Houston runs from southwest Houston all the way down to the ship channel near 610 and 225.”, Rondot. 

Sims and Brays pick up most of the water on the south side. 

“The development on the south side of Houston is a little slower than what is happening on the north side of Houston and the west side of Houston. There are a lot of areas along Sims that are still forested.”, Rondot. 

Vigorous mowing and tree trimming are involved in keeping up the green spaces.  

“The other part of the maintenance is keeping up the built environments. Doing maintenance on the trails, the bridges, emptying trash cans, repairing benches and drinking fountains.” Rondot. 

Truckloads of litter sadly have to be removed every year.  

“As opposed to floating down the bayous towards Galveston Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and clogging up those areas.”, Rondot. 

Citylife and wildlife cross paths on these trails.  

“We have a lot of wildlife as well that we need to support.”, Rondot. 

These waterways have a record of flooding.  

“Since 2014 we have spent about 3 million dollars on flood clean up on all the various floods, we average about 6 floods a year.”, Rondot. 

You may notice some bayous are lines with concrete. 

“Unfortunately, above that concrete level there isn’t enough capacity left in the channel, so the water will spill out into the surrounding neighborhoods. With Sims Bayou, which was channelized by the Corps in the 80s and 90s, they took a different approach where they hardened the bayou with concrete block, but they covered that concrete block with soil and grass. There is still a natural surface along the edge of the bayou to absorb that water.”, Rondot. 

This allows for the water to be absorbed more naturally by the soil… we see less extreme level variations with bayous channelized in this way.    

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