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Buffalo Bayou Master Plan


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I rode under the northern Buffalo Bayou Hike/Bike trail under Waugh St. today and saw lots of dead bats killed by the freezing temperatures last week. I saw a FB post about it but wasn't thinking about when I was riding. There had to be hundreds of them laying on the ground. Didn't want to take a pic. The southern side of the trail was blocked off from anyone accessing it. So people had to cross the intersection on top across Waugh.

https://www.houstoniamag.com/travel-and-outdoors/2021/02/waugh-bridge-bat-colony-winter-storm-2021

 

The Waugh Bridge Bat Colony Took a Hit During the Winter Storm

Reports of dead and distressed bats rolled in over the weekend at Buffalo Bayou Park.

By Gwendolyn Knapp  2/22/2021 at 11:34am

 
shutterstock_507235429_ji70zl.jpg

The Waugh Bridge bat colony is a Houston icon.

 

BAD NEWS FOR BAT LOVERS. On Sunday Buffalo Bayou Partnership took to its social accounts, asking folks to avoid the walking paths under the Waugh Bridge. The issue? It appears that our poor Mexican free-tailed bat colony, which endured the floodwaters of Harvey in 2017, has now been hit hard by the winter storm.  

A rep from the partnership tells Houstonia that reports started coming in of both dead bats on the ground, and bats that were still alive and in distress, on Saturday, as folks returned to the park.  The rep did not know how many bats were involved, and we still don’t have any details about exactly what happened—if they froze to death inside the bridge or while trying to take flight or if anything else is at play (bats can carry rabies, so please stay away, folks).

Before Harvey, there were an estimated 300,000 bats in the Waugh Bridge colony, but as we sadly know, many perished as Harvey’s floodwaters rose up into the bridge, and then many more were likely displaced since bats don’t like to live among the dead. The bats in the Waugh colony reside in the bridge about seven layers deep, and, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, still have a population about 250,000 deep, fluctuating through out the year as the species is somewhat migratory.

As of Monday morning, TPWD has sent its bat team coordinator and wildlife biologist, Diana Foss, to assess the situation, which may involve taking distressed, living bats with her to investigate the matter. The partnership also tells us that more environmentalists are currently investigating the situation as well. It’s unknown if Austin’s bat population is dealing with the same issue.  

Earlier this month, the Chronicle reported that many of Texas’s bats have faced a greater risk of death recently due to the rampant spread of white-nose syndrome across our state, a disease that causes bats’ fat stores to run out quicker than normal, sending them out into the cold weather to feed rather than hibernate. But Mexican free-tailed bats do not hibernate like other species in Texas, so it’s uncertain if the disease is actually impacting them like other species.   

We’ll update on any information regarding the situation when we get it. For now, avoid the paths under the Waugh Bridge, and send some love to our favorite bat colony. Please hang in there, little fellas!

 


 

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3 hours ago, gene said:

omg noooOooOoooooOOOOOoooo that is just horrible! i hope that the bats will be okay...i love that so many call Houston home (although i do have to hold my breath every time i ride my bike under the Waugh bridge haha!)

I do too!! And usually close my eyes for good measure! Look ma...no hands !!

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On 3/25/2021 at 2:40 PM, samagon said:

hopefully they hand out cardboard boxes for people to slide down the hill once there is some grass in place.

Only if at random times, another ramp pops up and sends the slider into the Bayou. A little risk makes life more fun, right? Even better if a fake alligator pops up its head as the person is in the air.

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Has BBP ever said anything about trying to do something with the few remaining wharf buildings around the Turning Basin? The ones on the right bank along Peavey Drive and Foster Street were all demolished over the past 20 years or so but there are still a few remaining on the left bank. I imagine this is insanely expensive land though since it is on the ship channel.

 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

Has BBP ever said anything about trying to do something with the few remaining wharf buildings around the Turning Basin? The ones on the right bank along Peavey Drive and Foster Street were all demolished over the past 20 years or so but there are still a few remaining on the left bank. I imagine this is insanely expensive land though since it is on the ship channel.

 

Seems unlikely.  BBP's master plan does not appear to go that far east and that is probably all pretty active Port of Houston property.

Edited by Houston19514
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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

Seems unlikely.  BBP's master plan does not appear to go that far east and that is probably all pretty active Port of Houston property.

It is just east of where their plan ends... and the historical value of those buildings is pretty considerable, as that is the only place where the Port of Houston resembled something of a traditional port post-ship channel. Those buildings and the bars for the workers along 75th Street (all demolished) figured into Sig Byrd's writings about "port characters."

But you are right that it is pretty active Port of Houston property.

 

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