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While the landscape of northeast Harris County has changed dramatically since pioneer times, a trip down Spring Creek reveals the same pristine forests familiar to the Akokisa Indians, who roamed the land 200 years ago.

Thanks to the preservation efforts of generations past, Spring Creek includes tens of thousands of acres of bottomland hardwood forest, which provide recreational opportunities, wildlife habitats, reduced flood-risk, and improved air and water quality.

To learn more about the ecology of Spring Creek, and its flora and fauna, read below.

"Spring Creek is alive with wildlife
above and below the water."

- Dennis Johnston, Harris County Pct. 4

Birdwatching

Migratory songbirds also visit the creek to rest and refuel after crossing the Gulf of Mexico on their annual spring migration from Central and South America. Other birds, such as white pelicans, visit in the winter while others stay year-round.

Other notable birds include the Swainson’s warbler, which attracts birdwatchers from all over the world, and the easternmost nesting pair of green kingfishers ever documented. That is a testament to the creek's water quality, because this species requires a habitat with a clean water supply. (Photo copyright (c) 2006 Michael Gray)

Ecology

Long-time naturalist at Jesse Jones Park, Carmine Stahl, gives his take on Spring Creek:

Spring Creek may not have river status, but in some places, it’s as wide as the San Jacinto River. The banks of Spring Creek feature Southern magnolias, red bay trees, river birches, black willows, and horsetail reeds, creating a rainforest-like atmosphere.

Along the creek, visitors often can see deer crossing in shallow places and river otters slide along the bank, while raccoons, opossums, and many other creatures come out at night. The stream features a rich variety of fish, and is the most pristine water stream in the Houston area. Pileated woodpeckers, kingfishers, and many other birds can be seen flying from side to side across the creek. And the amazing thing is that it is just a short distance from Houston, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the nation!

Fishing

White bass migrate through during springtime, and you can catch other bass species, catfish, crappie, and freshwater drum year-round.

Butterflies

Bayou Land Conservancy and Butterfly Enthusiasts of Southeast Texas (BEST) host a Butterfly Count at the Montgomery County Preserve every June.

History

Across from Jesse Jones Park, just upstream from where Spring Creek runs into the San Jacinto River, lies a freshwater spring on a high bluff that naturalists and anthropologists believe to be the 'Springs of Santa Rosa,' the home site for the Akokisa Indians that were written about in historical accounts of Spanish explorers. Although the site is unconfirmed, the springs are a registered historic site with the Texas Historical Commission. However, the land is currently owned by a developer.

Read more about Spring Creek's fascinating History!


This section provides links to other regional nature parks, government and nonprofit organizations that may be helpful.


Want to learn more about local edible plants used by ancient Native Americans? Carmine “Papa” Stahl, author of Trees of Texas and long-time naturalist at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, wants to teach you. Stahl has graciously allowed the Precinct 4 Parks Department to reprint sections of his booklet, Papa Stahl's Wild Stuff Cookbook.

 

Research shows that protecting the environment—including the air, water, forest, and wildlife—benefits our health, finances, and quality of life.

Improving the quality of our forests and trees results in the following:

  • Increases real estate values and community pride.

  • Improves air quality and reduces pollution.

  • Lowers air temperatures.

  • Provides a buffer against flooding.

  • Lowers your AC bill.

  • Improves health, and aids illness recovery.

Learn more about the many Benefits of Trees, and how they help in ways you've never realized.

 

Without trees and plants, people and animals wouldn’t exist. There would be no vegetables, bread, or wood to build homes. It would be a very empty world indeed. Want to learn more about trees?

Check out the Spring Creek Tree Guide, which provides interesting facts about many of the trees and shrubs found in the region.


Students of all ages have visited or taken field trips to Spring Creek, learning about nature, ecology, and ways to protect our environment, among other things. Visit our Education Page.

 

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This website made possible by a 2005 Texas Forest Service
Urban Forestry Partnership Grant
Copyright (c) 2006-2014 Harris County, Texas and Montgomery County, Texas