Houston Region Birds and Bayous
Parks are the physical embodiment of the natural heritage of a community, and those with a rich natural heritage (such as Houston) should be encouraged to sustain and enhance this particular attribute. The Houston Audubon Society brought Advisory Board member Ted Eubanks to introduce this concept to Houston Parks and Recreation Department and continues to be a lead partner. "Birds and Bayous" is a nature-based approach to promoting the Houston region's great parks and natural assets. By focusing on birds as an indicator of bio-diversity, this approach capitalizes on our area's parks and natural assets. No other city has a way to include ecosystem diversity in their park assessments, inventories or economic values. Birds and Bayous would create that new standard for park. This is a unique indicator that sets our parks above all others nationally and promotes that strength. Birds and Bayous proposes to develop a "nature index" for assessing Houston parks and natural areas. We have a perfect storm of opportunity... The forces propelling this coalescence are diverse. There is a growing interest in Houston in quality of life issues. Major timber companies of East Texas are aggressively divesting themselves, making major conservation land acquisitions possible. Rapid population growth in the region is placing increasing pressure on the public lands and natural resources. There is a growing recognition that future regional landscape-scaled conservation initiatives will be required to function at a level heretofore unprecedented. Birds and Bayous will function at the nexus of birds (as a metaphor for the natural world), bayous (providing the habitats these birds depend on), and the public lands (HPARD, Harris County, Harris County Flood Control, federal agencies) that contain and hopefully protect these resources. The goal is to reposition Houston as the gateway to the public lands of East Texas, Big Thicket and the beginning of the Pineywoods. As the profile of these park lands and their birdlife is elevated through this effort, Birds and Bayous will develop a number of collateral materials and programs to enhance and describe these resources. This initiative aims to deliver more pieces that position Houston prominently for its parks and natures lovers. "Birds and Bayous" focuses on what we can do together, cities, counties and non-profit entities to raise the profile of this richness to our area residents and tourism agencies. Come see why & how you can be part of the fun.