Flying Down Buffalo Bayou

The Mother Bayou from Beginning to End

June 24, 2016

Buffalo Bayou near its source in Katy, Texas, formerly known as Cane Island. Image from drone video by Connor Winn, April 2016.

Buffalo Bayou near its source in Katy, Texas, a town formerly known as Cane Island. Image from drone video by Connor Winn, April 2016.

“Visualizing Nature, The Art and The Science” was the title of a class at Rice University taught this spring by photographer Geoff Winningham, professor of photography in the Art Department and holder of the Lynette S. Autrey Chair in the Humanities, and by Adrian Lenardic, professor of geophysics and planetary science in the Department of Earth Science. One theme of the class was the visual and scientific aspects of Buffalo Bayou.

Connor Winn was a student in that class, and he made a lovely fourteen-minute video using a flying drone that follows our Mother Bayou from its quiet beginnings west of Houston. The film allows us to watch the bayou evolve from its source near Cane Island Branch, a creek, one of many feeding into the bayou, that runs through the town of Katy, which in the 1800s was known as Cane Island, named after the creek filled with cane. We see the bayou growing into the mighty ship channel and joining the San Jacinto River at Burnet Bay, part of Galveston Bay, near the San Jacinto Monument just upstream of Baytown.

Watch Connor Winn’s video of Buffalo Bayou.

5 thoughts on “Flying Down Buffalo Bayou”

  1. I absolutely loved this!

    Beautiful and adventurous.
    A way to explore the bayou for those of us who may never get the chance to explore more than just a fraction of it. even by bicycle.

    That was why I, when I lived in Southern California took my camera out on full blown cycling expeditions along the full San Gabriel River and Santa Ana River Bike Trails and the Mountains to the Sea Trail, sharing what I saw on my bike blog….so people could see and enjoy, who might never get the chance and to encourage those with the time and the means to get out and explore.

    1. You are absolutely right. People should photograph and share for those many who don’t have the opportunity to see. Thank you!

  2. Very interesting. We have made a start but much remains to be done.Houston’s bayous are graceful emerald green necklaces adorning our emerald city. When restored to their beautiful state the city will be adorned with a connecting network of hike, bike and canoe trails for all houstonians to enjoy. The bayous will form a network bringing us closer together.The Bayou was Houston birthplace, nursery and will continue to add to our future destiny.The Emerald City is only beginning to realize her destiny..

    1. Thank you, Jack Rains. If by “restoring” you mean removing the concrete and allowing our bayous and streams to return to their natural state, we are in favor of that. It can happen! If you mean planting native trees and plants along our shadeless, lifeless, channelized waterways and no more mowing, that’s a good idea too. We are in favor of hike, bike, and canoe trails and public access for all of us. We all need more parks and access to nature and places to walk and ride our bikes. But access must be done gently, discreetly, with a scientific understanding and respect for the natural process of our once beautiful waterways. Otherwise we are undermining our bayous and the health of our waters and ecosystem and wasting generously donated dollars and public funds. Because the bayou banks will collapse and costly repairs will have to be made over and over again.

      We are not in favor of “developing” or “restoring” our remaining unchannelized streams.

      No more tearing down of trees and digging up vegetation that hold the banks together. Let’s be sensible, practical, and smart. As well as visionary.

  3. Richard Hyde says:

    To MITIGATE the unbridled clearing of our trees for development we have set aside a very few protected sites called PARKS, usually adjacent rivers we all love. However now these green riverside parks are seen as inexpensive development targets. We have plenty of once bayous that have been straightened, floodplains infilled and converted to boulevards such as White Oak Bayou (East and West T.C. Jester Blvds) and Brays Bayou (North and South Braeswood Blvds)that have created floodprone areas.

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