Buffalo Bayou Park Was Supposed to Be More Stable
Nov. 16, 2015
Updated Nov. 17, 2015
Update: “Endless Repairs: Buffalo Bayou Sets Its Own Terms,” Houston Chronicle, Nov. 20, 2019
Well, we can’t help but wonder if constantly scraping and repairing the sidewalks, forever reinforcing the collapsing banks somehow, and repeatedly replacing the trees and landscaping is fully covered by the $2 million annual maintenance budget for Buffalo Bayou Park paid by Houston city taxpayers.
The popular, much praised, and much needed park on the banks of the bayou between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive is suffering from some serious erosion problems. And that matters to us not just because of the expense and waste. This $53.5 million project, a boon to adjacent property owners and those who live and work nearby, was touted as a successful example of what the Harris County Flood Control District, egged on by the Bayou Preservation Association, wants to do to our healthy, historic wild bayou further upstream in and around Memorial Park. Buffalo Bayou Park was supposed to be more stable! The flood control district calls it Natural Stable Channel Design, but it always looked to us like they were doing everything you’re not supposed to do on the banks of streams: dig up the banks, run heavy equipment over the banks, remove the trees and vegetation (yes, they did a lot of that), build concrete and asphalt sidewalks on the banks, plant grass and mow it.
Let’s Work With Nature, Not Against It
Once you’ve done all that, and the banks and channel start falling apart, it’s pretty difficult to fix it. Best to let the bayou do what it will do anyway. (And eventually the bayou will rebuild and replant it all.) But it seems unlikely that the City and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership are going to sit back and patiently let millions of dollars worth of sidewalks, lamps, and bridges collapse into the bayou. Can they stop it? Time will tell.
In the meantime, it does make one wonder about all those concrete trails they are carving out of the banks and floodplains of the bayous for the Bayou Greenways project. A nice idea, but is that going to work?
Here’s what we’re talking about. What this slide show of photos of Buffalo Bayou Park between Shepherd and Montrose taken on Nov. 15, 2015 (and updated with later photos).
4 thoughts on “Buffalo Bayou Doesn’t Like Sidewalks, It Seems”
They should have installed a few nice observation decks, left the existing plants, perhaps plant a few more native trees and grasses, and add some nice put-ins/take-outs for canoeing and kayaking from Terry Hershey Park to Downtown. You see man fighting nature along our coasts, rivers, mountain sides, and wetlands only to be grossly disappointed when nature reshapes the land as will always happen. We have to get over the Victorian attitude of trying to control natural processes and work to integrate with nature, not fight it.
Nice observation, David. Thank you.
You can’t beat MOTHER NATURE , especially water. Houston wastes more money on trying to beautify and change the looks plus without any type of funding estimates for future repairs. We continue to throw money at failed ideas to please a few with their agendas. Will they stop, NO ! Somebody will again convince city that it can all be fixed just like they always do, everything in nature wasn’t made to be changed or controlled and how much money will be wasted before people realize it ????
Let’s hope they learn from these mistakes.