Draft Environmental Assessment City of Houston Parks Hazardous Fuels Reduction Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas November 2013
Draft Environmental Assessment City of Houston Parks Hazardous Fuels Reduction Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas November 2013///The City of Houston proposes to perform hazardous fuels reduction in seven city parks to reduce wildfire hazard in residential areas near wooded areas in the parks. The seven targeted neighborhood parks represent a potential direct wildfire threat to nearby residences and businesses (Figure 1.1). The City of Houston submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) for a grant under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The TDEM is the direct applicant for the grant, and the City of Houston is the subapplicant./The HMGP is authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Under the HMGP, federal funds pay 75 percent of the project cost, and the remaining 25 percent comes from nonfederal funding sources./The City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) would plan, execute, and monitor all activities required to create reduced-fuel buffer zones around residential and non-residential structures through removal or reduction of flammable vegetation in the parks, including removal of trees, tree branches and understory vegetation to increase vertical clearance. The proposed fuels reduction also involves minimizing the volume of surface fuel, such as dry leaves, pine needles, dead and dying foliage, and fallen trees. The city anticipates that the proposed fuels reduction buffer zones would generally be approximately 100 feet wide, but the required radius of fuel reduction around homes and businesses would be established by the Houston Fire Department and would be directly related to the degree of fire hazard./ This Draft EA has been prepared to analyze the potential consequences to the natural and human environment associated with the Proposed Action, the No Action Alternative, and other potential alternatives per the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 United States Code [USC] 55 parts 4321 et seq., 2000), the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing regulations (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 30 parts 1500 et seq., 2004), and 44 CFR Emergency Management and Assistance Ch. I Part 10.
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