- Encourage the establishment of policies and programs that preserve and protect open space, forests, prairies and wetlands of our San Bernard River watershed.
- Maintain and protect natural habitat for native plants and wildlife.
- Preserve and improve water quality.
- Enhance recreational usage and encourage economic development consistent with resource protection.
Chairman: Tim Logan, Retired Environmental Analytical Chemist
Consultant & Co-chair: Susie Alford, President, CEO Berg Oliver
Barbara Fratila - Attorney At Law
Jim Hillis - Retired Ph.D. Chemistry
Fred Kanter - Precinct 4 Constable, Retired Pipeline Engineer and member Citizens Advisory Panel
Brian Meagher - Chemical Engineer, Project Manager BASF
Newell Rambo - Architect, Interior Designer
Al Roco - Professional Geoscientist and Environmental Scientist
Colleen Roco - Environmental Scientist
Tom Ronayne - Retired Engineer and member Citizens Advisory Panel
The Environmental Committee is the most important function of the entire organization. It is a multi-faceted group that requires team leaders to act independently for specific projects. For example:
- Testing - A group of volunteers sample and analyze the San Bernard River from their vantage point on the river each month and submit their findings to H-GAC’s Streamteam which is then incorporated in Austin with additional data at the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) master database.
- Annually FOR hosts the San Bernard River Clean Up. Volunteers known as the “Clean Team” are asked to put their boats in the water or hop aboard a friend’s boat and pull trash out of the river. As needed heavy debris days are scheduled to remove large and/or concentrated debris areas. This event is a great community rallying celebration that helps us unite in the true meaning of “Friends Of the River”.
- Phillips 66 and ChevronPhillips host a quarterly Citizens Advisory Panel meeting designed to keep the public informed about environmental, health and safety concerns at their Sweeny complexes. We have three volunteers currently representing FOR on the panel.
- There are two Environmental Committee members committed to overseeing the welfare of this precious county asset, Hanson Riverside County Park.
- FOR has contracted with Texas Dept of Transportation (TX DOT) to de-litter a two mile section of FM 2611. Contractually FOR has agreed to have four “Trash Pick Ups” (Adopt A Highway) per year. The thought behind this volunteer effort is to get the trash off the highway before it gets in the river. The dates are posted below and volunteers are welcome!
The remainder of FOR
environmental emphasis occurs inside the formal Environmental Committee
. If you would like additional information on the aforementioned specialized specific projects or other environmental projects like land trusts, SEP
or conservation easements, please use Contact Us – Environmental
and we will be happy to contact you personally to obtain your input, ideas or field your questions.
Past Environmental Chairmen: Fred Kanter 2006-07, Tom Valliere 2008-10, Barbara Fratila 2011- July 2016
Stream Team Water Quality Tests on the San Bernard
Samples are taken each month at different areas of the river reporting the pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and other indicators of water quality in the San Bernard. The reports are sent to Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) Texas Watch Clean Rivers program in cooperation with TCEQ, U.S. EPA and Texas State University Dept. of Geography.
FOR Director Valroy Maudlin and FOR Environmental Committee Chairman Tim Logan are the Stream Team citizen monitors responsible for taking these water samples.
Texas Stream Team Training May 1, 2010
Having completed Phase I and II training for becoming a Certified Water Quality Monitor are, l. to r., Greg Davis, Ken Wright, Vanessa Taylor-Certified Water Quality Monitor, Valroy Maudlin, Aubin Phillips, Brett Jordon, Kristi Corse-Texas Stream Team Instructor, Curtis Wilson and Jeremy Jett
The first two phases of a three phase Texas Stream Team training program was held at the FOR Community Center on Saturday, May 1, 2010. Houston-Galvestion Area Council (H-GAC) trains Texas Stream Team volunteers how to collect quality assured river water samples that can be used to make environmentally sound decisions concerning the San Bernard.
Volunteers complete three phases of training using a test kit that measures physical and chemical parameters in water. They are asked to monitor their site(s) monthly at the same time of day each month, for a two year commitment. Monitoring takes approximately one to two hours
Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) received funding from the Clean Rivers Program for 15 highway San Bernard watershed signs. Left is a map of the locations of the signs that help people get to know their watershed.
FOR San Bernard Natural Area Acquisition Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP)
35 Acres Added to SEP
On December 13, 2013, members of the Friends of the River San Bernard Environmental Committee met with John Moore, son of Edwin Dyer Moore, for the signing of the Second Amendment to the Deed of Conservation Easement that added 35 acres to the easement held by Wetlands America Trust, Inc. on behalf of Ducks Unlimited. Funds for the acquisition of the acreage came from payments made to the FOR Natural Area Acquisition Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
105 acres of the Moore property, adjacent to the San Bernard river, are covered by the conservation easement.
<<Environmental Committee members, L. to R., Ken Wright, Chairman Barbara Fratila, Tom Ronayne, Fred Kanter and John Moore, property owner.
FOR Retires $75,000 Conservation Easement Note
Front page reprint, Thursday, July 28, 2011
In less than one year, Friends of the River San Bernard has been able to retire a $75,000 Conservation Easement Note, securing the environmental protection of a portion of the river.
According to a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department handbook, “A conservation easement is a restriction landowners voluntarily place on specified uses of their property to protect natural productive or cultural features. A conservation easement is recorded as a written legal agreement between the landowner and the holder of the easement, which may be either a nonprofit conservation organization or government agency.” Landowners retain legal title to their property and can choose how they wish to limit development of the property. “For example, a landowner donating a conservation easement could choose to limit the right to develop a property, but keep the rights to build a house, raise cattle and grow crops,” states the handbook. "The landowner may continue his or her current use of the property provided the resources the conservation easement is intended to protect are sustained.”
On September 11, 2010, (article below) FOR announced it had enacted a land conservation easement on the river adjoining another easement held by Ducks Unlimited. Together, these two easements put a two-mile stretch of the river under permanent development restrictions. The easement contains a landmark sycamore tree that is cited on the original land survey commissioned by Steven F. Austin. It marks the intersection of Ft. Bend, Brazoria and Wharton counties.
The $75,000 note was scheduled to be paid out over five years, but thanks to donations from local industries, fundraisers and Supplemental Environmental Program funds from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the note has been retired.
Friends of the River (FOR) San Bernard enacts milestone conservation easement project
On Saturday, September 11, 2010, FOR San Bernard announced they have enacted their first land conservation easement on the San Bernard River watershed in Southeast Texas. Adjoining an existing easement held by Ducks Unlimited, this new easement results in two contiguous miles of pristine riverbank placed under permanent development restrictions.
Part of an original land grant, the easement contains a landmark Sycamore tree
that is cited on the original land survey commissioned by Steven F. Austin
. This tree marking the intersection of Ft. Bend, Brazoria and Wharton counties still towers over a landscape little changed from those early days.
Working closely with Ft. Bend county landowner, Dyer Moore, Ft. Bend County Commissioner Richard Morrison, Brazoria County Commissioner Dude Payne and state and county officials, the easement is the culmination of more than 12 months of extensive effort involving the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Ducks Unlimited. As a bonus, it is now planned for the easement to be twice the size as originally plotted with the eventuality of it growing even larger – mostly paid for with SEP money that would have otherwise gone to Harris or other Texas counties.
Thomas Valliere, chairman of the F.O.R. environmental committee states “This is an important step in preserving our river. Water quality is the ultimate measure of a river’s health and the key to water quality is watershed management.” Nancy Kanter, FOR President, adds “F.O.R.'s mission to preserve and protect the San Bernard River for future generations is reachable. This is the first step to attain that goal. We are making a difference.”
Adopt A Highway Committee
To contact the Adopt A Highway Committee
Committee: Anyone who picks up trash
Friends of the River San Bernard has signed an agreement with TXDOT to pick up trash along FM 2611 after a scheduled highway mowing. Our goal is to help clean the environment and drainage ditches for a two mile stretch beginning at CR 311 and ending at FM 2918. This allows the road before and after the Churchill Bridge over the San Bernard River to remain attractive most of the year.
We only meet when we have a trash pick up. Volunteers bring their own hats, gloves, sunscreen and mosquitoes repellent. Apparel should protect you form the sun, bugs and weather. Strong shoes or boots are a good idea. TXDOT and FOR SB supply the rest. Normally, we encourage you to bring your children or grandchildren over 10 years of age but the traffic moves rapidly along this stretch of road and it's not advisable.
Past Adopt A Highway Chairmen: Brian Jones 2014-15, George Zwicker 2013, Nick Fratila 2011-12, Pat Jankowiak 2008-10
Annual River Cleanup scheduled for Saturday, Sep 10, 2016, watch for details!
Planning Committee: Vanessa Taylor, Tommy Davidson, Valroy Maudlin, Tom Ronayne, Mike Goodson, Bob Bailey, Keith Harwicke
8,000 pounds of trash was collected during the 2011 River Clean Up.
- Sat, 24Apr10 River Cleanup. Approximately 20 boats with 50 volunteers, including the San Jacinto Junior Girl Scout Troup 25102, participated in the annual river clean. Volunteers removed 8,300 lbs. of debris and trash from the water and banks of the SBR and the beach at the mouth. Trash drop off points were located at Hanson Park, FM 521 boat ramp, Churchill Bridge boat ramp, and River’s End boat ramp. It was followed by a hot dog social at the home of Vanessa and Nelson Taylor.
Past River Cleanup Chairmen: Russell York 2013-1015, Joe Schneider 2013, Bob Breakiron 2009-12, David Pope 2006-08