“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry” is as true now as when Thomas Fuller wrote it in 1732. Water, as it flows through Houston and sits in the ground beneath, affects our economy, our natural environment, our recreation, our infrastructure, our health, and our climate. Four experts will tell us about our local waters and how they are invaluable—economically, environmentally, culturally, and aesthetically—and how we can preserve and protect them.
September 14: The Port of Houston
The Houston Ship Channel has been a catalyst for growth in Harris County since the first steamship braved Buffalo Bayou in 1837. James T. Edmonds is chairman of the Port of Houston Authority, which oversees Houston’s port, one of the nation’s largest, and the ship channel. He will tell us about the port authority’s policies and the projects it has implemented to preserve and protect natural ecosystems, especially in Galveston Bay, while allowing industry to continue to prosper.
September 22: Houston-Area Flooding: The Value of Our Natural Systems
James B. Blackburn, a practicing environmental lawyer, teaches environmental law in the Environmental Sciences and Engineering Department at Rice University. The author of The Book of Texas Bays (2004, Texas A & M University Press), he has won statewide and national prizes for his legal work on urban quality of life issues. He will explain how natural ecological systems abate the aftereffects of hurricanes and floods.
September 29: Houston, the Bayou City: The State of Our Bayous
Bayous, the defining natural resource in Houston, are unique waterways. Yet for many years our bayous were regarded as sewers rather than as rich streams, teeming with life. Mary Ellen Whitworth was the executive director of the Bayou Preservation Association for ten years and the director of environmental policy for the City of Houston in Mayor Bob Lanier’s administration. She will discuss recreation on the bayous, habitat preservation efforts, flood abatement, and the effects of channelization.
October 6: Our Living Waters
Mary Kelly, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, works to develop laws and public policy to protect and restore stream flows, stream side habitat, and coastal deltas. The former director of the Texas Center for Policy Studies, she has spoken and published widely on water policy issues and holds a Conservation Leadership Award from the Nature Conservancy of Texas. She will talk about how water law and policy affect the coastal plain, the rivers that drain it and the bays and gulf they flow into.
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