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.
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, Thursday, July 28,2011
FOR retires $75,000 note
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, (see 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 (F.O.R.) San Bernard completes milestone conservation easement project
On Saturday, September 11, 2010, F.O.R. 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, F.O.R. 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.”
- 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: Barbara Fratila, Environmental Attorney
Co-chairman: Susie Alford, President, CEO Berg Oliver
Committee: Fred Kanter - Precinct 4 Constable, Pipeline Engineer and member Citizens Advisory Panel
Nancy Kanter - Past FOR President 2008-11
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
Tom Valliere - Retired Environmental Consultant
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)’s master database.
• Annually F.O.R. 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 F.O.R. on the panel.
• There are two Environmental Committee members committed to overseeing the welfare of this precious county asset, Hanson Park.
• F.O.R. has contracted with Texas Dept of Transportation (TX DOT) to de-litter a two mile section of FM 2611. Contractually we 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 F.O.R.’s 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, S.E.P.s 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 Chairman Fred Kanter 2006-07
Adopt A Highway Committee
To contact the Adopt A Highway Committee, go to:
Chairman: George Zwicker
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 on a quarterly basis. 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 F.O.R. 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 Chairman Nick Fratila 2011-12, Pat Jankowiak 2008-10
Planning Committee: Vanessa Taylor, Tommy Davidson, Valroy Maudlin, Tom Valliere, Tom Ronayne, Mike Goodson, Bob Bailey, Russell York, and 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 Chairman Bob Breakiron 2009-12, David Pope 2006-08
Houston-Galveston Area Council San Bernard Watershed Protection Plan