"Prescribed Burn" in Greens Bayou Reduces 40 Acres of Invasive Vegetation
Recently, Acorn Forestry, a state-certified burn management consultant working with the Flood Control District’s Environmental Services Department, set fire to 40 acres of prairie within the Greens Bayou Wetlands Mitigation Bank (P700-01-00-Y001). This type of “prescribed burn” was used as a tool to reduce invasive vegetation and improve habitat on flood control property. There was coordination with necessary state and local agencies, and nearby residents were informed ahead of time by the Communications Division.
The burn took about two hours and went off smoothly, says Cori Meinert, who is the Mitigation Banking Project Manager for the Greens Bayou mitigation bank.
“This is a really good tool to manage these natural properties,” said Meinert. “It helps control fast-growing invasive and non-desirable vegetation species - like cattails and tallow - but also promotes regrowth and succession of desirable species. The hope is that we can allow the desirable vegetation to grow back stronger.”
The regeneration and promotion of desirable vegetation supports compliance with regulatory requirements for the wetland mitigation bank and is expected to also generate additional mitigation credits to offset unavoidable wetland impacts by flood control projects throughout Harris County.
Prescribed burns must be carefully planned and timed to minimize risk to residents and property and to manage smoke. They are dependent on weather conditions, including humidity, wind direction and wind speed. When the time is right, the contractor uses small bulldozers to create fire break lines or boundaries, and then hand tools to set and spread the fire. Prescribed burns have been used in previous years on other Flood Control District properties, including the Katy Hockley Mitigation Bank in 2020.
“This is a relatively new tool for the Flood Control District,” said Meinert. “As we gain more experience with prescribed burns and see the benefits, I think in the future there will be opportunities to burn some more properties!”