Mayor Sylvester Turner announces initiative to restore an urban prairie, ease flooding

new hope housing
Mayor Sylvester Turner announced an initiative to restore an urban prairie and ease flooding. (Courtesy city of Houston)

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced an initiative to restore an urban prairie and ease flooding. (Courtesy city of Houston)

Conservationists have long pointed to the Greater Houston area’s disappearing prairie ecosystem as one of the causes of urban flooding during heavy rains and storms.

Groups such as the Katy Prairie Conservancy work to protect and restore upstream grasslands, and now a new initiative announced by Mayor Sylvester Turner on Nov. 30 aims to do the same in Houston’s core.

The Urban Prairie Resiliency Project will restore 8 acres of grasslands at New Hope Housing and Star of Hope’s Cornerstone Community Campus, an affordable housing development in south Houston near Hwy. 288 and Reed Road. The outdoor space will improve storm water retention and serve as a wildlife habitat and recreational space, according to a news release.

The city was awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in collaboration with Wells Fargo to fund the project.

“The result will be a more resilient Campus that provides health and financial services to a vulnerable population, affordable housing, and integrates the value of natural habitat to the built environment to create a stronger, healthier, and more resilient community,” Turner said in the release.

City officials will host a public workshop period before work begins. The project is expected to wrap up by December 2023.

The work is part of the city’s Resilient Houston plan, a longterm framework to address socioeconomic and environmental threats.

“The partnership model established in the Urban Prairie Resiliency Project can serve as a scalable model for future implementation of resilience projects in Houston,” he said.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


At a Jan. 15 emergency court hearing, officials came up with a plan to try to reduce the inmate population at the Harris County Jail that centers on hosting more bail reduction hearings. (Courtesy Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)
With open beds dwindling, officials look for ways to reduce Harris County jail population

The inmate population at the Harris County Jail is rising, and officials are looking for ways to quickly ease the pressure as concerns grow over the ability to quarantine and restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

Bocca Italian Kitchen serves seasonal, Italian-inspired dishes, such as polenta and various pastas. (Courtesy Marco Torres)
Italian eateries open in Generation Park; Houston bike lane fines enforced and more local news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Minute Maid Park
Houston Health Department vaccine appointments fill up in 16 minutes

The department will administer 5,000 doses at Minute Maid Park on Jan. 16 and 17.

Officials expect demand for the vaccine will be huge once it opens to the general public. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery County plans vaccine distribution; FDA warns of false negatives and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular stories from the past week from the Houston area.

Shepherd-Durham project
TxDOT opens public comment period on Shepherd-Durham project

Construction is slated to begin by the end of 2021.

Houston ISD
After impasse, Houston ISD trustees delay officer election

The board voted 8-1 to postpone their decision to Jan. 21.

Backstreet Cafe
Backstreet Cafe is losing its signature camphor tree

A new tree will be planted in its place.

Man riding bike in city
Houston’s grace period for bike lane parking fines ends

Houston residents now face a $100 fine for parking in bike lanes.

Despite a global pandemic, Houston home sales broke records in 2020 and saw 10% more sales overall compared to 2019. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Report: Houston home sales surpassed 2019 volumes despite pandemic

2020 single-family home sales surpassed 2019’s volume by more than 10%.

La Cocina de Roberto launched its second eatery in The Woodlands area in January. (Courtesy La Cocina de Roberto)
La Cocina de Roberto restaurant opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

River Oaks District
River Oaks District launches farmers market this weekend

The Market at the District will be held 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on the third Sunday each month.

From Jan. 19-29, Coalition for the Homeless and staff from The Way Home will conduct the 2021 Homeless Count & Survey, in which they will work to identify sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness across Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. (Adobe Stock)
Coalition for the Homeless, The Way Home to conduct annual Greater Houston-area homeless count Jan. 19-29

The results of the 2021 homeless count and survey are expected to be released to the public this spring.