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For dog owners who are dying to get back to business as usual at the Johnny Steele Dog Park, it should only be a few more months before the sediment gives way to floofy, drooly, glorious playtime. But, yes, you'd be accurate to say that the dog park does still kind of look like the preferred habitat for a Tremor worm, Beetlejuice worm, or a Dune worm—really any of your favorite 1980s movie sandworms—but, really, when has it not? 

This all reminds us, probably get your doggie friend caught up on all his/her parasite-destroying shots and treatments before the dog park launches this summer. Here's the latest on its progress after Harvey, as well as the rest of Buffalo Bayou Park's projected $2.5 million comeback.  

So, What's Up With The Dog Park?

The repairs at the dog park are costing $400,000, says Buffalo Bayou Partnership president Anne Olson, and they aren't expected to stave off another massive flooding event, just to mitigate the effects of it.

"We will continue to experience high water events and the park from time to time will receive water," Olson tells us. "However, the improvements we are making will cut down on the maintenance and make the area more functional."

Those improvements include the removal of a large pond, the incorporation of a small pond into a large dog area, a new seating wall at the edge of a pond, a lawn expansion in both areas, and an entry portal expansion in both areas.

You can still expect a summer launch for the renovated dog park.

What's Up With the Plants and Trees Along the Bayou?

Head down and you'll notice a lot more greenery, that's for sure. Wildflowers are blooming, sediment is thinning (in most places) and beautification (and natural flood protection) is being restored. Here's what BBP has been up to:

  • Removing debris, plastic bags and trash from the waterway, though slow-going due to periodic low water levels 
  • Installing prairie plants near Rosemont Bridge, with funding from Anheuser-Busch and Silver Eagle Distributors
  • Replanting a large garden along the Sabine Promenade, with funding from Four Seasons Hotel
  • Planting 400 native trees thanks to Trees For Houston donation

Look for more cypress trees along the banks, says Olson, because it's "a tree that loves water and has a great root system that helps with erosion." In fact, the planting of native trees is the same strategy that the Buffalo Bayou Partnership took when first constructing the park. 

Meanwhile, a large amount of sediment at several park areas still needs to be removed by the Harris County Flood Control District.  

What's Up With the Trails?

While a few, large trail failures will likely take some time to fix—including downtown, where a water main break destroyed the trail near Milam Street; east of downtown, where banks are eroding by 100-plus feet; and near Jensen Drive Bridge, where a collapsed northside trail is barricaded off for safety—here's the progress BBP has made: 

  •  500 tons of riprap and 150 tons of stabilized sand have helped repair numerous footpath segments  
  • A footpath now merges with the multi-use trail just west of Tapley Tributary
  • A major damaged area below the Lost Lake Visitor Center was fixed

Harris County Flood Control District is also still planning to repair trails with federal funding on trails near the Rosemont Bridge, the Wortham Fountain, and Beth Yeshurun Cemetery.

Want to volunteer to help with Buffalo Bayou Park's comeback from Harvey? Contact BBP's Volunteer Coordinator Leticia Sierras, at volunteer@buffalobayou.org.

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