News / Releases

Commissioner Cagle Honored with Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award Bookmark

Commissioner Cagle Honored with Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award

Bayou Preservation Association (BPA) members like to remember Terry Hershey with a story.

Bayou Preservation Association (BPA) members like to remember Terry Hershey with a story.

“Fifty-one years ago, Terry worked with George Mitchell and George Bush to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) from ‘channelizing' Buffalo Bayou from Highway 6 to downtown. The ‘channelizing’ project would have turned the vegetated banks into ribbons of concrete – the bayou would have become a trapezoidal concrete channel,” said Robert Rayburn, BPA acting executive director and chair.

 One of the bayou system’s most vocal advocates, Terry Hershey helped change the way local government thinks about Houston’s bayou system. Her activism eventually gave rise to the present-day BPA and their mission of preserving Houston’s natural bayou system. “She was green before it was cool,” George H.W. Bush once said, calling her “a force of nature.”

Today, BPA works with local government entities such as Harris County Precinct 4 and HCFCD to preserve local waterways and bring nature, linear parks, and wildlife to unlikely places. Every year in honor of Hershey’s legacy, BPA honors a member of the public, nonprofit, and private sectors with the Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award. “Since 2010, the BPA has given the Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award to individuals who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to Houston-area bayous and waterways,” said Michael Bloom, Terry Hershey Stewardship Award Luncheon co-chair and BPA board member.

During this year’s luncheon, Commissioner R. Jack Cagle received the 2017 Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award in the public sector for his work expanding the Spring Creek and Cypress Creek greenways. At 14.6 miles long, the Spring Creek Greenway is recognized as one of the longest unpaved greenways in the nation.

“Terry Hershey doesn’t just inspire us, she set an example to which we should aspire,” said Commissioner Cagle. “Everyone I talked to who knew her said she was always calling on us to do more.” BPA also recognized Commissioner Cagle for advancing low-impact development principles in Precinct 4 roadways and parks and introducing hundreds of residents to outdoor recreation by establishing the Trails As Park program. “I don’t want to be the one who just makes the trails. I want to be on the trails myself with my children and with my children’s children for generations to come,” he said. “Our trails become that critical feature to which we can connect back to nature.”

Commissioner Cagle shared the award with nonprofit sector winner Deborah January-Bevers, president of Houston Wilderness, and private sector winner Dick Benoit, a Texas Master Naturalist and environmental services consultant.

With the award, Commissioner Cagle joins the ranks of Cypress Creek Greenway Project Chair Jim Robertson, George H.W. Bush, The Woodlands founder George Mitchell, and others involved in expanding Houston’s greenspaces. Robertson thanked Commissioner Cagle for helping preserve land along Spring Creek and Cypress Creek greenways, which has led to improved water quality, flood prevention, and more recreational opportunities. So far, Robertson said Precinct 4 has preserved nearly 8,000 acres of forested wetlands and forested areas along the 30 plus miles of Spring Creek.

Bloom also commended Commissioner Cagle and the other award winners for helping carry on Hershey’s legacy. “It’s so wonderful that we have such passionate and committed people who continue what Terry Hershey began 51 years ago and continue to work to celebrate, protect, and restore the natural richness of our bayous,” said Bloom.

Comments are closed.