Why has the Johnny Steele Dog Park been closed since the Tax Day Flood?
The dog park has remained closed because of the release of water from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, which were built to prevent downstream flooding along Buffalo Bayou. The release of water being held at these reservoirs can take several weeks after a major flood.
The dog park is in a lower-lying area of Buffalo Bayou Park but has the infrastructure that allows it to be able to withstand high water, silt and debris that comes after a major rain event. For example, the dog ponds have paved bottoms.
Buffalo Bayou Park experiences high water about a half dozen times per year. It also floods, which means water rises to the roadways, which is the official flood stage for Buffalo Bayou. (Water lower than this is not a flood, it is a high water event.)
If the dog park floods often, is that a design flaw?
The dog park has been open for 16 months and in that time we’ve had one of the rainiest years on record. The park overall is designed with high water flooding in mind and that’s why we have our procedures in place.
What are the procedures after a flood before the Johnny Steele Dog Park is open to the public?
As the water recedes after a high water or flood event, the Maintenance and Operations Team at Buffalo Bayou Partnership will begin assessing areas of the park and trails for any damage. Our priority is the safety of our park visitors. So, our crew begins working on clearing and removing silt from the hike and bike trails as soon as feasibly possible. We then move on to clearing tree debris, trash, assessing and repairing electrical units, assessing and repairing irrigation, inspecting the children’s play area, and cleaning out the dog park ONCE the high water has receded. This entails draining the dog park ponds, and then manually removing sediment from the dog ponds and water pumps. Note that other areas of Buffalo Bayou Park remain open as this goes on.
Where else can I find out the status of the dog park?
We post notifications of dog park closures on the homepage of our website (www.buffalobayou.org) and Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
If you are near the dog park, look for the red flag (see question below).
What does the red flag mean at Johnny Steele Dog Park mean?
Buffalo Bayou Partnership has installed a flagpole near the dog park to communicate whether or not the dog park is closed. If the dog park is closed, a red flag is raised. This flagpole is visible from both Studemont Street and Allen Parkway.
What does BBP do to clean and filter the dog park ponds?
The dog ponds are “cleansed” using an ecological filtration system:
- Water is pumped from a nearby wetland into the small dog pond.
- From the small dog pond, the water flows down and aerates in a channel to the large dog pond.
- From there, the water flows back into the wetland (where it is cleansed) and then circulated back to the small dog pond.
As with any dog park, we highly recommend using the dog washing areas to rinse off before leaving!