Books and Articles on Buffalo Bayou, Rivers, Flooding, and Nature

Books on Buffalo Bayou

Along Forgotten River, Photographs of Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel, 1997-2001
With Accounts of Early Travelers to Texas, 1767-1858,
by Geoff Winningham

Buffalo Bayou: An Echo of Houston’s Wilderness Beginnings, by Louis Aulbach

Canoeing and Kayaking Houston Waterways, by Natalie H. Wiest

Pleasant Bend, by Dan Worrall

The Bayous of Houston, by James L. Sipes and Matthew K. Zeve

The Port of Houston: A History, by Marilyn McAdams Sibley

Books on Rivers and Flooding

Armand Bayou Illustrated – A Life on the Bayouby Mark Kramer, Conservation Director and Chief Naturalist Emeritus at the Armand Bayou Nature Center in Pasadena, TX. A chronicle of a life lived working and playing on a beautifully preserved bayou, with emphasis on coastal prairie ecology, bayou ecology, wildlife, and native people. Photography by Gary Seloff.

Designing the Bayous: Control of Water in the Atchafalaya Basin, 1800-1995, by Martin Reuss

Floodplain Management: A New Approach for a New Era, by Bob Freitag, Susan Bolton, Frank Westerlund, and Julie Clark

Floodplains: Processes and Management for Ecosystem Services, by Jeffrey J. Opperman, Peter B. Moyle, Eric W. Larsen, Joan L. Florsheim, and Amber D. Manfree.

Goodbye to a River, by John Graves

Life on the Mississippi, by Mark Twain

On the River with Lewis and Clark, by Verne Huser

Riparian Areas: Functions and Strategies for Management, Committee on Riparian Zone Functioning and Strategies for Management, Water Science and Technology Board, National Research Council

Rising Waters: The Causes and Consequences of Flooding in the United States, by Samuel Brody, Wesley Highfield, and Jung Eun Kang

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, by John M. Barry

Sensitive Chaos, The Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air, by Theodore Schwenk

Stream Restoration, Neoliberalism and the Future of Environmental Science, by Rebecca Lave

Sweet & Salt: Water and the Dutch, by Maartje van den Heuvel and Tracy Metz

Texas Water Atlas, by Lawrence E. Estaville and Richard A. Earl, preface by Andrew Sansom

The Living Waters of Texas, edited by Ken Kramer, photographs by Charles Kruvand, foreword by Andrew Sansom

The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers, by Martin Doyle

The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, by Jeff Goodell

Tools in Fluvial Geomorphology, edited by G. Mathias Kondolf and H. Piégay

Unruly Waters: A Social and Environmental History of the Brazos River, by Kenna Lang Archer

Your Remarkable Riparian, A Field Guide to Riparian Plants in Texas and Your Remarkable Riparian Owner’s Manual, A Guide to Managing Riparian Areas

Books on Nature, Ecology, Geology, Environmental Law


A Prehistory of Houston and Southeast Texas: Landscape and Culture, by Dan M. Worrall

Energy Metropolis, An Environmental History of Houston and the Gulf Coast, by Martin Melosi and Joseph Pratt

More City Than Water, A Houston Flood Atlas, edited by Lacy M. Johnson and Cheryl Beckett

Power Moves: Transportation, Politics, and Development in Houston, by Kyle Shelton


A Guide to Freshwater Ecology, by Christine M. Kolbe

A Historical Atlas of Texas, by William C. Pool

Brandt Mannchen’s list of books about streams, rivers, wetlands, and forests

Common Texas Grasses, by Frank W. Gould and Stephan L. Hatch

Falling from Grace in Texas: A Literary Response to the Demise of Paradise, edited by Rick Bass and Paul Christensen. With essays by Rick Bass, Olive Hershey, Stephen Harrigan, Michael Berryhill, Laura Furman, and others.

Native Texas plant books recommended by the Native Plant Society of Texas

Texas Mushrooms, A Field Guide, by Susan and Van Metzler

Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife, Texas A&M Nature Guides Edition, by Kelly Conrad Bender

The Book of Texas Bays, by Jim Blackburn, photographs by Jim Olive

Trees of East Texas, by Robert A. Vines


A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold

American Canopy, by Eric Rutkow. Recommended by the late Terry Hershey

Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age, by Mary Christina Wood

Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards, by Sara Bonnett Stein

Our Natural History: The Lessons of Lewis and Clark, by Daniel B. Botkin

Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment, by Christopher D. Stone

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson

The Control of Nature, by John McPhee

The Field Guide to Geology, by David Lambert and the Diagram Group

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World, by Peter Wohlleben

The Natural History of Selborne, by Gilbert White

Urban Ecology: An Introduction, by Ian Douglas, Philip James

Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

Water: A Natural History, by Alice Outwater

Articles on Rivers, Flooding, and the Urban Environment

Houston, Texas, and Buffalo Bayou

“A Fatal Error: Erosion on Buffalo Bayou in the Memorial Park Demonstration Project Area,” Save Buffalo Bayou presentation July 25, 2017. An analysis of bank slumping on Buffalo Bayou and the consequences of mistaking vertical  bank collapse for lateral erosion. See also:

“$12 Million Bayou Project Based on A Mistake,” Save Buffalo Bayou, Aug. 17, 2017. The fundamental error of the Memorial Park Demonstration Project.

“After Hurricane Harvey, Don’t Empower the Engineers. Please,” Charles Marohn, Strong Towns, Sept. 8, 2017

“Best Way to Reduce Future Flood Impacts: Restore Our Floodplains,” John Jacob, Watershed Texas, Texas Coastal Watershed Program, Texas A&M University, March 5, 2018

“Birds of the Bayou,” photographs on Buffalo Bayou by Greg Lavaty, reported by Janice Walden, Nov. 11, 2018

“Can An Urban Stream Restore Itself?” by Susan Chadwick, adapted from a presentation to the Southwest Stream Restoration Conference in San Antonio, Texas, on June 2, 2016

“Cypress Creek Watershed: Analysis of Flooding and Storage Options,” report from the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, May 2019. Undeveloped land should be preserved to prevent more overflow into Addicks Dam, which drains into Buffalo Bayou, and greater flooding downstream on Cypress Creek.

“Dammed If They Do, Dammed If They Don’t,” by Susan Chadwick, Save Buffalo Bayou, May 26, 2016, and in the Houston Chronicle, May 27, 2016. What happens when Barker and Addicks dams can’t hold all the rain?

“Detention, We Hardly Knew You,” an essay on Nature and the detention of raindrops and stormwater by Brandt Mannchen of the Houston Sierra Club, April 16, 2019

“Did Straightening Upper Buffalo Bayou Make Future Residents More Vulnerable to Flooding?”  by Susan Chadwick, Save Buffalo Bayou, Oct. 29, 2018. Federal project in late forties reduced bayou capacity upstream.

Drainage, Detention, and Development Regulations, dual reports from the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, April 2019. Report 1: Current detention regulations are allowing new development to increase downstream flooding. Report 2: Development regulations should integrate green and gray infrastructure.

“Ecological Engineering in a New Town Development: Drainage Design in The Woodlands, Texas,” by Bo Yang, Utah State University, 2010

“Endless Repairs,” by Susan Chadwick, Houston Chronicle, Nov. 20, 2019. In 2010 the Harris County Flood Control District started bulldozing the banks of Buffalo Bayou for its “natural stable channel design” project in Buffalo Bayou Park. Tens of millions of dollars later, will the constant maintenance and repairs ever stop?

“Engineers Caused the 1935 Flood that Led to the Creation of the Flood Control District,” by Susan Chadwick, Save Buffalo Bayou, March 5, 2017

“Examination of Collapse Features Along the Channelized Sections of a Natural River: Examples from Buffalo Bayou, Houston, Texas,” by Thomas Helm, consultant geologist and canoe guide

“Flood Control’s Destructive Bayou Maintenance Will Lead to More Erosion, More Maintenance,” by Susan Chadwick, Save Buffalo Bayou, June 3, 2018. The importance of trees and large woody debris for streambanks and sediment control.

“The Flood Next Time: What We Can Do Now,” report of the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, May 2019. Keep people high and dry. Remove people from harm’s way. Return people to normalcy.

“Freshwater Wetland Loss in the Houston Metropolitan Area: A Quantitative Estimate of the Loss between 1992 and 2010,” by John S. Jacob, Kirana Pandian, Ricardo Lopez, and Heather Biggs, Texas Agrilife A&M Extension Service, June 2015

Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, all research and studies from the collaborative research group following Harvey, 2017-2019.

“Houston’s Flood is a Design Problem,” by Ian Bogost, the Atlantic, Aug. 28, 2017

“How Harvey Hurt Houston, in Ten Maps,” by Propublica, the Texas Tribune, and Reveal, Jan. 3, 2018

“How the Coronavirus is like a Flood,” by Susan Chadwick, Save Buffalo Bayou, March 19,  2020

“Lessons from Hurricane Harvey,” by Daniel Grossman, Re.Think, March 15, 2018. A report from the American Geophysical Union annual conference in December 2017 in New Orleans, with numerous Houston-area academics offering their expert views on what can and should be done now about flooding.

“Managing Flooding in Place,” by Steven E. Eubanks, P.E., CFM Chief Stormwater Engineer, City of Fort Worth, and Brenda Gasperich, P.E., CFM Regional Engineering Manager, McKim & Creed.

“Peak Flow Trends Highlight Emerging Urban Flooding Hotspots in Texas,” by Matthew Berg, Texas Water Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, March 20, 2018, pp 18–29

“Pleistocene Meander-Belt Ridge Pattern near Houston, Texas,” by Dewitt C. Van Siclen, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Bulletin, Vol 69, No. 9, September 1985

“Power and Will: Eminent Domain for Preserving Land and Surviving Floods,” Save Buffalo Bayou, May 18, 2018. (See also “Eminent Domain and the Moral Hazard in a Golf Course,” by Susan Chadwick, Houston Chronicle, June 21, 2018)

“Quantifying Stormwater Runoff and Pollution Removal by Houston’s Urban Forest,” by Hannah Cruce, Water Resources Forester, Texas A&M Forest Service, presentation to the Urban Riparian Symposium, Houston, Texas, Feb. 15-17, 2017

Riparian Notes, by Steve Nelle

“Room for the River: What the River Scientist Had to Say,” Save Buffalo Bayou, Nov. 29, 2014

“Searching for the Original Meanders of Buffalo Bayou: Examination of Land Use and the Riparian Environment,” by Tom Helm, consultant geologist, presentation to the Urban Riparian Symposium, Feb. 16-17, 2017

“Slow the Flow: What Houston and Other Cities Are Doing to Reduce Flooding. And Make Life Better,” Save Buffalo Bayou, February 11, 2021. Includes numerous links and resources.

“Strategies for Flood Mitigation in Greater Houston, Edition 1,” report of the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, April 10, 2018

“The Problem with Dams,” Save Buffalo Bayou, Nov. 9, 2017

“The Real Lesson of Hurricane Harvey,” Charles Marohn, Strong Towns, Sept. 5, 2017

“The Role of Riparian Vegetation,” Texas Riparian Association, 2012

“Who Owns the Bayou?” Save Buffalo Bayou, Sept. 20, 2018

“Widening and Deepening Our Bayous Is the Wrong Approach,” by Susan Chadwick, the Houston Chronicle Outlook, Jan. 23, 2017


“Atchafalaya,” by John McPhee (included in The Control of Nature)

“Bank Erosion as a Desirable Attribute of Rivers,” by Joan Florsheim, Jeffrey Mount, and Anne Chin, in Bioscience, Vol. 58, No. 6, pp. 519-529, June 2008

“Engineering with Nature: Alternative Techniques to Riprap Bank Stabilization,” Federal Emergency Management Agency

“Going with the Flow,” by Michael Kimmelman, the New York Times, Feb. 13, 2013

“How Fertilizers Harm the Earth More than Help Your Lawn,” Earth Talk, Scientific American (undated)

“How Trees Can Retain Stormwater Runoff,” by Dr. James R. Fazio, Tree City USA Bulletin No. 55, 2010

“Human Adjustment to Floods: A Geographical Approach to the Flood Problem in the United States,” by Gilbert Fowler White, PhD Dissertation, Dept. of Geography, University of Chicago, 1942

“In Praise of Dead Trees,” by George Wuerthner, Counterpunch, Dec. 24, 2018

“Making Room for Rivers: A Different Approach to Flood Control,” by Renee Cho, Earth Institute, Columbia University, June 7, 2011

“Natural Defenses in Action: Harnessing Nature to Protect Our Communities,” National Wildlife Federation

“Our Laws Make Slaves of Nature. It’s Not Just Humans Who Need Rights,” by Mari Margil, The Guardian, May 23, 2018. The growing recognition of legal rights for rivers, trees, and nature.

“Paving Paradise: The Peril of Impervious Surfaces,” by Lance Frazer, Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 113, No. 7, July 2005, pp. A456–A462

“Putting A Price On Riparian Corridors As Water Treatment Facilities,” by Ann L. Riley, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, Aug. 6, 2009. (See also here.)

“River Systems and Causes of Flooding,” by Prof. Stephen A. Nelson, Tulane University, Oct. 17, 2016

“Setting Goals in River Restoration: When and Where Can the River Heal Itself?” by G. Mathias Kondolf. Stream Restoration in Dynamic Fluvial Systems: Scientific Approaches, Analyses, and Tools. Geophysical Monograph Series, Vol.194, pp 29-43

“Taming the Mighty Mississippi,” by Todd C. Frankel, Washington Post, March 14, 2018

“Taming the Mighty Mississippi May Have Caused Bigger Floods,” by Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, April 10, 2018. More evidence for why “improving conveyance” doesn’t work: it causes more flooding.

“Ten Facts About Flooding,” American Rivers

“The Benefits of Large Woody Debris in Streams and Development of Management Alternatives,” by Jeffery M. Coffey and Tina Hendon, Tarrant Regional Water District, presentation to the Urban Riparian Symposium, Houston, Texas, Feb. 15-17, 2017

“The Growing Threat of Urban Flooding,”  from the University of Maryland, College Park and Texas A&M University, Galveston Campus, Center for Texas Beaches and Shores. 2018 “Many cities and towns across the United States are giving considerable attention to plans that support the capture of rain in areas where it falls.”

“Why Dredging Makes Flooding Worse,” by Charles Rangeley-Wilson, Dec. 9, 2015. See also “Is Dredging a Solution to Flooding Problems?” by Vicki Terwilliger, Republican & Herald, Pottsville, PA, August 19, 2018