Habitat of animals destroyed; TxDOT says it doesn’t belong

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by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 5, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 5 at 10:40 PM

HOUSTON -- A habitat full of wildlife has become more like a graveyard for animals after a move that TxDOT believes was necessary.

The pond that was once thriving with fish, beavers, alligators, turtles, snakes and other critters is located along the I-10 feeder road at Barker Cypress.

Employees next door at the Ron Hoover RV and Marine lot have watched the habitat grow over the last three years. That all changed in just one day.

According to employees, a crew came and bulldozed a dam built by a family of beavers on Wednesday morning. That caused the water to quickly drain out of the pond but trapped most of the animals.

Thousands of rotting fish could be seen by Thursday afternoon.

“It’s very cruel. They had no chance of survival. They took their chance away,” said Joe French, G.M. of Ron Hoover RV and Marine.

French said his employees feel a strong connection to the pond and the animals that live there.

“The beavers would walk right up to you. You could pat them and everything. They didn’t have a care in the world,” French said. “There’s a lot of families that would come out here to spend family time.”

French and other employees question why TxDOT would destroy the habitat without any regard for the wildlife.

“It’s sad because they’re just dying. If we don’t do anything, nobody else will,” said Mario Sifuentes, lot manager at Ron Hoover. “It’s unnecessary. It doesn’t have to go like this.”

TxDOT told KHOU it’s not the agency’s responsibility to save the animals.

Rather TxDOT said its priority is to facilitate the drainage of I-10. According to TxDOT, the detention pond was originally built to drain the highway.

Raquelle Lewis, public information officer with TxDOT’s Houston District, sent KHOU a written statement:

“TxDOT built the detention pond to address proper drainage of the I-10 facility, it was not intended to hold water. Safety is our highest priority and making sure the pond drains properly is key. We will be diligent about getting the pond area clean and properly dispose of the exposed fish.”

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