Yes, We Accept Donations. Thank you!


Nov. 30, 2019

So this is the thanks and the giving season, and everyone is asking for money. We almost never ask for money. But now we are.

Save Buffalo Bayou is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization supported by tax-deductible donations. We have a small budget and a large impact. We have almost 8,000 followers on Facebook and a mailing list of 1,600, including public officials and the media.

Please donate and help us continue our work. We need your support. (Fast and easy route: use the Paypal donate button up there on the right corner of the page.)

What We Do

Most of what we do is journalism. And there is no other voice like ours. We speak out. We advocate. We explain. We educate. We listen. We investigate. We report. We take positions that others cannot or will not take. Not everyone loves us.

We advocate for Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s ancient central river, and its many tributary streams and creeks, for nature and the natural landscape, so important in a city like Houston. We explain how streams work, how banks collapse, why trees are important, how the banks naturally rebuild and restore themselves. We do this because it benefits us, the people, the taxpayers.

We advocate for modern flood management, based on nature, because nature is the best engineer. Nature-based flood management works best and costs less. And it’s healthier for us too.

We believe in slowing the flow, rather than speeding it up. Yes, that sounds counter-intuitive, but draining more stormwater faster only causes more flooding, though engineering companies love it. Our motto is slow it down, spread it out, soak it in. We need to take more individual responsibility for that. Stop stormwaters before they flood the stream. And get out of the way.

It’s what the rest of the world is doing. But here they tell us rain gardens and prairies are useless because our clay soil is practically as hard as concrete anyway. Is that true? Stay tuned and find out.

More than ever our streams, prairies, and urban forests are threatened by development and by costly, large-scale engineering projects proposed by politicians pressured by the public to do something, anything, to protect us from flooding.

We want to make sure they do the right thing. Dredging, deepening, and widening our bayous, for instance, might seem like the right thing. But doing that only creates more costly problems.

So please donate. Use a credit card or write us a check. Send a dollar in the mail. Every penny counts.

Watch this slideshow of photographs, mostly by Jim Olive, documenting the same bend in the bayou throughout the seasons for the last five years.

  • This first summer photo was taken by Susan Chadwick in July 2014. Proponents of Flood Control's destruction/restoration project claimed there was no overhanging tree canopy in the area. River Oaks Country Club on the right.
  • Late fall at sunrise from the same bend of Buffalo Bayou. Taken on Dec. 9, 2014, by Jim Olive from Memorial Park looking downstream.
  • Early spring on Buffalo Bayou at high water. Photo by Jim Olive on March 25, 2015.
  • Summertime view of the same bend in Buffalo Bayou from Memorial Park on August 1, 2015. Photo at low water (base flow) by Jim Olive.
  • Looking at Buffalo Bayou from Memorial Park from the same high bluff on Nov. 24, 2015. Photo by Jim Olive.
  • Sun rising over a bend of Buffalo Bayou at low water on Dec. 10, 2015. Photo taken by Jim Olive from a high bluff in Memorial Park looking downstream with the River Oaks Country Club on the right.
  • Early morning at high water on March 21, 2016, the day after the vernal equinox. The dams in west Houston were open, and water was flowing from the reservoirs at 2,000 cubic feet per second. Photo by Jim Olive, of course, from a high bluff in Memorial Park. River Oaks Country Club on the right.
  • Summer on Buffalo Bayou after the record high water from the spring rains had finally drained from Barker and Addicks dams upstream. Taken on July 8, 2016, by Jim Olive from the same high bank in Memorial Park looking downstream with the River Oaks Country Club on the right.
  • Foggy, warm winter morning on Buffalo Bayou at moderate flow, about 800 cubic feet per second. Photo by Jim Olive on Dec. 13, 2016.
  • Spring 2017, shot by Jim Olive on the morning of March 18 from Memorial Park with birds singing, frogs burping, squirrels quarreling, and warm air drifting up the high bank from the river at low flow.
  • Summer 2017. Flow was about 500 cubic feet per second after a nighttime storm on the morning of July 10, 2017. Slumped bank was healing. Frogs were a courting. Photo by Jim Olive.
  • That bend in the river on Sept. 1, 2017, after Hurricane Harvey dropped record rain all over. Flow was around 12,000 cubic feet per second. Photo by SC
  • The bend in the river on Sept. 11, 2017, around 2:30 p.m. as the floodwaters from Harvey were slowly draining. Flow was about 7,000 cubic feet per second, down from at least twice that. Photo by SC because Jim Olive was flying around taking photos of disastrous flooding all over the Gulf.
  • After the flood. That Bend in the River post-Harvey on Friday, 13 October, 2017, just after dawn. The flood control reservoirs behind the federal dams on Buffalo Bayou upstream had emptied finally and flow had dropped to base flow, about 200 cubic feet per second (cfs). Large amounts of sand and slumping of the high banks. Many downed trees. Photo by Jim Olive
  • Winter photo by Jim Olive on Jan 13, 2018. Flow was about 600 cubic feet per second. Temperature was a chilly 34 degrees shortly after sunrise about 7:30 a.m. The banks were much changed after the floodwaters of Harvey, with lots of slumping, fallen trees and missing vegetation. We could hardly find our spot. Note the buildup of sediment on the opposite bank.
  • That Bend in the River on April 15, 2018. Springtime all over the place. Flow was about 650 cubic feet per second after a brief thunderstorm the day before. 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 bayou. Water was high and the morning was cloudy just after sunrise. Photo by Jim Olive on Nov. 6, 2018. There was a monarch butterfly feeding on the daisies but it fluttered away to Mexico.
  • 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 floodwaters from Harvey, and possibly also by the damaging dredging done by maintenance contractors working to remove woody debris, some of which should have been left on the bank to allow it to rebuild, as well as 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. A rare frosty winter morning on the bayou, Dec. 19, 2019.


Some Things We’ve Done Lately

This year we brought you multiple hard-hitting reports on the destruction of public forest on the upper bayou in Terry Hershey Park. We sought to persuade and prevent, publicly and privately, a hugely damaging and largely unnecessary bank “repair” project opposite Memorial Park and the Hogg Bird Sanctuary, and pointed out the irregularities in the permit process.

We continued our ongoing photography series documenting the changes in the bayou throughout the seasons. (See above.) We published articles on flood tunnels and rewilding our urban landscape, on bugs, birds, and bats; and reminded people about public meetings on flooding (and reported on them too) and about public comment periods for flood-related projects and studies.

We published an editorial in the Chronicle in favor of protecting the trees and natural landscape in Memorial Park, another on why the banks keep collapsing in Buffalo Bayou Park, and alerted the public to plans to remove a lot of trees and alter wetlands and streams in Memorial Park. We publicized reports that showed new development in west Houston was increasing flooding and a third reservoir in northwest Harris County wasn’t going to stop flooding.

We were quoted about flooding and green, nature-based solutions numerous times in local and national publications.

And that’s just a short list.

So please donate now. It’s for all of us.

Thank you.


Susan Chadwick

President and Executive Director

p.s. Be sure to check out our YouTube page for videos of beavers, coral snakes, and other critters on Buffalo Bayou.

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