While We Jog, The Banks and Trees Are Coming Down
Sidewalks Threatened Too
October 7, 2015
Updated November 16, 2015
Updated August 23, 2016, March 13, 2017, March 30 and Oct. 27, 2018, Jan. 27 and Nov. 8, 2019, April 4 and May 5, 2020 (See below)
The Harris County Flood Control District describes the Memorial Park project as “natural channel design,” which is a term that apparently has come to mean just about any channelizing project that doesn’t include concrete but does include curves. Natural channel design has a history of failed and washed out projects, and we believe this controversial and destructive method proposed for Memorial Park has a risk for failure also. [Editorial note: This Memorial Park project has since been dropped.]
Let us look at the success of the district’s “natural stable channel design” project in the highly popular Buffalo Bayou Park. (See also the disastrous project in Fonteno Park.) The many happy users of this lovely and much-needed park between Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway may not realize that much of the erosion and major tree loss happening on the slopes and lower banks are the result of changes wrought by the Flood Control District, which scraped up the banks with backhoes, removed a large amount of natural riparian vegetation and trees, and graded the banks with bulldozers, all of which runs counter to best management practices for riparian zones.
The City of Houston falsely describes Flood Control’s work on this downtown stretch of the bayou as “restoration of the original meanders to improve water quality.” (Update: That link has been changed and as of 11.8.19 no longer describes the 2010-15 renovation of Buffalo Bayou Park, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, or the role of the Harris County Flood Control District.)
Watch this slide show of photographs taken in Buffalo Bayou Park between Shepherd Bridge and Montrose beginning Nov. 15, 2015 (updated with Sept. 15, 2019 photo). And then below watch a previous slide show showing the evolution of Buffalo Bayou between the Shepherd and Sabine bridges.
Watch this slide show on the evolution of Buffalo Bayou between Shepherd and Sabine bridges.
Update with new photo May 5, 2020:
And here’s a slide show of photographs documenting the repeated, costly, and futile repairs to the south bank of the bayou below a sidewalk just upstream from The Dunlavy restaurant.