Many people have never had an opportunity to experience the wild mystery of Buffalo Bayou. The stretch of the bayou flowing past our great Memorial Park in the middle of Houston is a historic nature area — filled with ancient high bluffs, sandstone, and sandy banks. Few other American cities have such a valuable public asset running through it. This public riparian forest is an outdoor classroom, a refuge of serenity and calm. It also serves vital ecological functions, including slowing and absorbing flood waters, cleansing the water and air, and providing wildlife habitat.
Recent Films About Buffalo Bayou
Houston is the “Bayou City,” home to 22 bayou systems, totaling over 2,500 miles of waterways throughout Harris County. However, Houston has a long and tumultuous relationship with its bayous. “Bayou City,” an inspiring film released in 2020 and featured in the Wild Texas Film Tour, was directed and produced by Olivia Haun (Schmidt). It sheds light on these issues and the work being done to protect our bayous and streams. Haun is an ecologist and conservation filmmaker from Austin, Texas, and Outreach Specialist for the Wildlife Diversity Program with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Photographer Jim Olive created this beautiful short film “Buffalo Bayou: A Right to Life” for the Wild About Houston Film Festival in 2020. It is dedicated to our founding president, Frank C. Smith Jr.
Photos and Films
Fly down Buffalo Bayou with photographer Jim Olive. These stunning photos were taken in October 2015, September 2016, and April 2017.
Watch the changing of the seasons on a bend in the bayou. Jim Olive has been taking these photos from a high bluff in Memorial Park looking downstream for the last several years.
Watch this eight-minute video of a fall morning float down Buffalo Bayou from the Woodway boat launch in Memorial Park, past the park, the Arboretum, and the Hogg Bird Sanctuary, all the way to Buffalo Bayou Park in downtown Houston. While you’re there, watch this short video of a big, beautiful coral snake in Memorial Park, along with other videos on Save Buffalo Bayou’s YouTube channel.
We can all learn important lessons about a river’s natural process by watching this moving 14-minute documentary about the 2015 Memorial Day Flood and the Blanco River, Letting the River Heal. And here’s another 10-minute documentary from Your Remarkable Riparian explaining “The Basics of Riparian Understanding.”
Here is an aerial trip down Buffalo Bayou on Aug. 30, 2017, shortly after Hurricane Harvey, developed from Google Earth imagery by the Galveston District of the Corps of Engineers.
Watch this slide show of beautiful photographs of the bayou in Memorial Park taken in July 2014 by Jim Olive.
Here are some lovely aerial films taken of the prehistoric bluffs along the meanders in Memorial Park and the Hogg Bird Sanctuary. Our Buffalo Bayou is 18,000 years old, plus or minus a couple of thousand years, and it took that long to cut down through these much older Pleistocene land forms that serve as “bumpers” to the bayou, controlling its course and holding it in place.
Watch this hauntingly beautiful short video of the shady riparian forest, the vertiginous cliffs, and ancient sandstone banks of Buffalo Bayou. Yes, we have rocks in Houston. And cliffs! All this would have been bulldozed if the Harris County Flood Control District were to carry out its Memorial Park Demonstration Project.
And here is a documentary on Buffalo Bayou created by KUHT in 1984 and titled “Last Stand of the Buffalo.”