A Bend in the River

Photographs of Buffalo Bayou through the Seasons

Dec. 23, 2015

These lovely photographs document the changes in the seasons on Buffalo Bayou, and in the dynamic river itself. Taken (with one exception) by Houston photographer Jim Olive, they were shot from the same high bank in Memorial Park looking downstream with the River Oaks Country Club on the right. This bend in the bayou is in the stretch proposed for destruction and “restoration” by the Harris County Flood Control District and the Bayou Preservation Association, with the support of the Memorial Park Conservancy and the City of Houston.

  • That Bend in the River on April 15, 2018. Springtime all over the place. Photo by SC
  • A trackhoe on a barge stuck in the sandy channel bottom of Buffalo Bayou at that bend below the high bank in Memorial Park. Maintenance contractor with flood control was removing fallen trees from the banks and channel. Photo by SC May 19, 2018
  • Summer sunrise on Buffalo Bayou. That bend in the bayou on July 1, 2018, with flow at about 280 cubic feet per second. Photo by Jim Olive, of course.
  • Fall 2018 on that Bend in the River. Water was high and the morning was cloudy just after sunrise. Photo by Jim Olive on Nov. 6, 2018.
  • We were late with our winter shot, and this February morning was gloomy, the trees and banks bare. Flow was very low, about 150 cfs. The bend appeared to have been widened by the damaging dredging done by maintenance contractors working to remove woody debris, some of which should have been left on the banks for stability and sediment control. Photo Feb. 14, 2019, by Jim Olive
  • Spring again! That bend in the bayou, early in the morning of April 26, 2019. Jim Olive was back in town to continue our series documenting this same spot through time. Photo by Jim.
  • Summertime 2019 on that bend in the river with some of the destruction of the south bank visible in the distance. Pile of dirt is part of the River Oaks Country Club's costly and excessively damaging bank project. Photo by Jim on July 8, 2019, from that same high bank in Memorial Park.
  • That Bend in the River on a cool fall day--at last! Tractor is sitting on a pile of dirt dug out of the bank by the River Oaks Country Club for its very discouraging and deeply destructive "bank repair" project upstream and downstream. Photo by Jim on Oct. 12, 2019
  • Jim Olive's Winter 2019-20 photo of that bend in the bayou with continuing destruction activity on the bank opposite. Photo Dec. 19, 2019
  • Since Jim Olive was on a general coronavirus lockdown in California, Susan took this Spring 2020 photo around 3 p.m. on March 23. Flow was high, about 900 cubic feet per second. We're hoping JO will be back soon to take a better one.
  • Jim O. was still locked down in California, where temperatures were shooting past 120, so Susan took this summer photo just after sunrise on July 12, 2020. After nearly two weeks of high flow from the release of stormwaters from the federal dams, flow had dropped to base flow at about 150 cfs as the flood-control reservoirs, Addicks and Barker, were finally emptied.
  • Fall on that bend in the bayou, looking through the yaupon downstream on Nov. 6, 2020. Photo by Jim Olive
  • That bend in winter several days after a historic freeze and snowstorm. Photo Feb. 20, 2021, by SC because highways were closed and JO couldn't make it through ice storm.
  • Jim Olive's late winter photo of that bend in the bayou. Taken on a drizzling, foggy morning just after sunrise on March 2, 2021.
  • A temporary shot for spring until Jim Olive gets back to town. Taken by SC around 6 p.m. on April 21, 2021.
  • That bend in the bayou in summer during high flow, over 2,000 cubic feet per second, as the Corps of Engineers continued to release stormwater impounded behind the federal flood control dams. Photo June 18, 2021, by Jim Olive.
  • Looking lush and green on that bend in the bayou right before the autumnal equinox. Tropical Storm Nicholas had just passed through. Fall photo Sept. 17, 2021, by Jim.
  • Early morning mist rising on the bend. Photo by Jim Olive on Nov. 12, 2021, showing a bit of fall color.

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