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Proof that Houston is not Flat: a Knockout Redesign and Achievement in Landscape Planning

After floods and erosion, the ravine trail reopens in the Houston Arboretum. Photo: Christina Spade.

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Houston is flat. Or is it?

A newly re-designed, recently completed and just reopened ravine trail system within Houston Arboretum & Nature Center features elevation changes not typically seen in the Houston area.

The project site’s natural landscape – considered a native riparian ecosystem — is located in the northwest corner of The Arboretum’s 155 acres, and features an old tributary of Buffalo Bayou.

Access to the rugged ravine and its trail system had been closed for three years due to safety concerns, the project announcement explains.

In the interim, the nature nonprofit and its partners – led by Design Workshop Inc. and including Reed|Hilderbrand landscape architects, Walter P. Moore, Hydrogeo Designs, Frayre Engineering and Consulting, and Forney Construction – developed solutions to the site’s conditions, which had been affected by flooding, erosion and washout.

The project area now features an updated half-mile of trail, two bridges spanning the ravine and a boardwalk. Photo: Christina Spade.

As improved, the project area now features an updated half-mile of trail, two bridges spanning the ravine, a boardwalk for visitors to reach the heart of the trail, a winding switchback concrete trail that provides ADA accessibility to the northern bridge, and expansive views. Meanwhile, native plantings added to the site increase bio-diversity and prevent erosion of the ravine slopes.

The ravine revitalization project had an estimated $1 million budget and is part of The Arboretum’s ongoing $25 million master plan. That plan was developed in 2012 to restore the nature sanctuary’s acreage to resilient and sustainable ecosystems and to rethink site management, access and use.

During planning, the ravine landscape had been identified as the “most cherished” area of the site. Its updated presence joins other completed components of the master plan, such as the new entry off the feeder road of the West Loop; remodeled entry at 4501 Woodway Drive, where educational wetlands now also accommodate storm water; 15 acres of restored savannah and prairie; nature playscape, and a mile of new trails. The Arboretum is about five miles west of downtown, adjacent to Memorial Park.

April 22, 2019 Realty News Report Copyright 2019


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