Houston Chronicle: How Katy Prairie landowners could help Houston fight flooding

By Elizabeth White Olson –

fter Hurricane Harvey, environmental lawyer and Rice University SSPEED (Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters) Center co-director Jim Blackburn has arisen as one of the leading voices on reducing flooding in Houston and surrounding areas. I sat down with Blackburn to learn what role the Katy Prairie could play to help reduce flooding.

Q: How could preserving the Katy Prairie help minimize flooding?

A: Preserving the Katy Prairie alone can be useful and, with management, even private lands that are in cattle production can be useful. Mainly, it is about getting roots to penetrate the soil and water following the roots down into the ground. If you combine that will a small levee like what is in rice fields, you can perhaps pond another foot of water on the flat land. Together, the potential to store water is substantial.

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