Fighting the Invaders of Buffalo Bayou

FIGHTING THE INVADERS OF BUFFALO BAYOU Though much of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s (BBP) plans for that eponymous waterway involve adding things — kayak rental shops, pedestrian bridges, etc. — there seems to be the need for subtraction, too: “‘People look at the park and see that it’s filled with trees and grass, what most people don’t realize is that most of those plants shouldn’t be there,'” BBP’s prez Anne Olson tells Alex Wukman of Free Press Houston. “A study of the park’s vegetation, which the Partnership filed with the Texas Forest Service, found Buffalo Bayou to be overrun with invasive species — primarily White Cedar and Chinese Tallow. . . . Olson explained that the Partnership plans to combat the invasive species problem by removing 50 percent of the park’s lawn, which is mostly made up of easily-maintained but non-native Bermuda grass, and replacing it with native grasses.” Adds Olson: “‘We’re going to create an 11 acre urban prairie.'” [Free Press Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Flickr user barryDphotography

17 Comment

  • Good riddance. I’ve never cared for Bermuda grass…glad to see it go.

  • The article betrays a confusion of purposes. I do not see how improving infrastructure for concerts and like events is consistent with creating an ’11 acre prairie’. Concert-goers cannot spread their blankets on gulf-coast muhly or similar grasses. I foresee the area festooned with signs reading ‘Keep off the praire!’.

  • Crepe Myrtles are not native to Houston either, having been imported from their native India. Doubt they’re pulling those out too.

  • Chef:

    This project is huge. There will still be lawns for concert and recreational purposes.

    Check out the master plan:

  • I wonder if they’ve encountered Carolina Moonseed vine. Probably not because they’d have to bulldoze the banks if they had.

  • I noticed they planted a lot of cypress trees actually in the water, this will be nice once they mature.

  • good luck killing the tallow trees.

  • Dana-X,

    They have indeed been bulldozing the banks. An impressive amount of dirt has been moved — in one section they actually moved the whole bayou north!

  • Wish I had pics from today but my mountain bike downhill- hill is no more. It’s the old part near Allen Parkway where you could coast over to Memorial downhill. It’s where the new venues are going to be. Very close to the water.

  • “which is mostly made up of easily-maintained but non-native Bermuda grass, and replacing it with native grasses.”

    translation- we are not going to mow. haha

  • The Cypress will look beautiful indeed and the partnership is doing a great job with the park. It was always pretty yet very underutilized, now people will really use it and with all the housing being thrown up in a freezy of speculation building I’m sure there will be plenty of people using (hopefully not abusing) it

  • Death to Chinese Tallow trees! No problem. However the Bermuda grass works well in public event areas. The site cannot be returned to native appearance – so, be judicious in what goes and what stays. The crepe myrtles don’t self seed, so they aren’t a problem.

  • Keeping the prairie will indeed take more maintenance. It will have to be mowed at least twice a year if not four times to keep the invasive trees and weeds from consuming the prairie. It will be a constant battle to ensure that the prairie is not swallowed up by other fast growing species. The mess of invasive & native species along the bayou today is a result of no maintenance.

  • B.L.: True, but if a non native plant is removed, it will not be able to spread further.

  • I live a short walk from the park. For 30 years I’ve enjoyed this bit of nearby wildness. I’ve seen lots of wildlife ( including beaver, not just nutria )and birds. All the new park changes promote only its benefit to people and ways of getting the most people into the park. I watch the woods nearest my house be bulldozed down for a parking lot and read of multiple ” dog ponds ” and cafes. Glad I knew the park at its more natural best. I actually like tallow trees and have planted them in my yard. They are far more ” natural ” ( and colorful ) than the urban landscape that the ” park ” will become.

  • I second the comment that the park is best wild as it is, and also free of people for the most part, which has been great for those who haven been enjoying it as is for all these years. The new plan will have some upsides for sure, but let’s not pretend that something is not being lost. Wild, derelict, uncared for spaces have a feeling.. maybe it’s the chance to escape from our species’ fussy overworrying and overmanaging of everything….. when life is too much to take, I’ve headed out to the trees and brush along the bayou there to be alone and get perspective.. Well, can we at least just all agree to not draft any more master plans for Memorial Park, and just let the wild spaces be what they will be? Let’s not make the whole world an amusement park and then wonder why all of our children are overstimulated and neurotic…

  • I can’t believe that anyone would plant a Chinese Tallow tree. They are a scourge on our land. Allowing native plants to recover will over the long term provide a more natural and self sustaining landscape.