Bioblitz at Willowbrook Reach

By Jennifer Potter-Miller
Originally published in the May 2018 issue of The Flea

Willowbrook Reach, the neighborhood greenbelt along Upper Boggy Creek runs along E. 40th St. and Willowbrook Dr. from Cherrywood Rd. to E. 38 ½ St. What you see today is the result of a collaboration between the neighborhood group Friends and Lovers of Willowbrook Reach (FLWR) and the city’s Watershed Protection Department. Naturalist Staryn Wagner worked with FLWR on the restoration project in 2011, when the city stopped mowing, trees and understory plants were planted and a temporary irrigation system was installed. The area was designated a Grow Green Zone, and quickly began returning to its natural state.

Wagner led a walk through the Reach on Saturday, April 27, as part of the international City Nature Challenge. Several neighbors met up for a “bioblitz” during which they used the iNaturalist app to identify and geotag some ofthe the many fora species found there. In addition to spotting the “new” Shumard Oak, Yaupon Holly, and Smooth Sumac trees (now towering up to fifteen feet) we found a peach tree likely planted long ago by a neighbor, an enormous Bald Cypress, and several mulberries loaded with fruit.

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Photos by Jennifer Potter-Miller

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