Since the earliest settlements in Texas history, the Buffalo Bayou has seen it all, from the battle for independence and the development of the Port of Houston, to the current urban development boom.
It’s no wonder the “Mother Bayou” continues to bring life to the city as a major artery of culture, history, flora and fauna.
More than three decades ago, the Buffalo Bayou was in bad shape — the worst it’s ever been in, in fact. With rising levels of toxic runoff and untreated sewage, the state of Texas took quick and decisive action and sued Houston for the excessive water and environmental pollution.
Thus, the Buffalo Bayou partnership was born. Armed with a vision of space reclamation and habitat restoration, the city and Buffalo Bayou partnership supporters embarked on a long road to recovery, including, channel restoration, pedestrian access ways, landscaping, environmental design and art.
Today, the Buffalo Bayou is not what it once was; it’s better. On any given day, visitors may freely partake in various activities along the bayou, including kayaking, canoeing, dog walking, strolling, running, cycling and year-round bat watching at the Waugh Bridge. Community activities also include outdoor exercise groups and annual marathons. Engaging public art spans the 5-mile Sandy Reed trail, which takes visitors on a scenic journey paralleling Memorial Drive from Shepard Drive to the west through downtown to the east.
Most recently, Johnny Steele Dog Park, a $1.5 million project, opened to incredible fanfare. Featuring a live DJ, vendors and interactive booths, the park experienced such a great influx of four-legged visitors that lines formed of pooches eager to frolic through expansive grassy knolls and water features. There truly is something for everyone, including our furry friends, to enjoy at the Buffalo Bayou.
The Buffalo Bayou is a vital natural artery and civic asset that the City of Houston has realized must be celebrated. It’s great to see this treasure experience its rebirth right beside the current urban development boom that Houston is undergoing.