What the Harvey Flooding Did to Buffalo Bayou Park

WHAT THE HARVEY FLOODING DID TO BUFFALO BAYOU PARK “Please know that Buffalo Bayou Park was designed to flood, although we did not anticipate three historic flooding events in 1-1/2 years,” Buffalo Bayou Partnership president Anne Olson remarks drily in an email update this afternoon. So what’s the damage? “The bottom two thirds of the park are still under water, and we expect that they will remain so for several more weeks as water is released from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. Due to these circumstances, it is difficult for our staff to assess the impact the flowing water has had on the footpaths and landscape in these areas. We do know that the Johnny Steele Dog Park, which is still submerged, will be closed for two or three months.” Water and sediment that flooded the Buffalo Bayou Cistern is still draining, slowly, but the electrical system installed when the long-hidden underground space was made available for tours and art installations appears to be working. The Wortham Fountain and the trail lighting system have been damaged, Olson reports. The Bayou City Adventures kayak kiosk at Lost Lake and the Bike Barn at Sabine St. has been shut down for the remainder of the year at least; areas east of the Sabine St. bridge are mostly still underwater. But Olson reports landscaped areas in the upper areas of the park, where trails have already reopened, survived with only a small amount of damage: “We are extremely fortunate that the Lost Lake and Wortham Insurance Visitor Centers did not take on water. Both facilities are open and the Kitchen at The Dunlavy is operating with normal hours. Food trucks also are back in the entry court at Sabine Street from Thursday-Sunday.” Update: The Bike Barn at Sabine St. has resumed normal hours as of September 9. [Buffalo Bayou Partnership] Photo: Adam Brackman.  

9 Comment

  • This park is one of the best things to happen to Houston. I’m anxious to see what the park looks like once the water recedes.

  • This park reminds me of a fire ant hill. At some point don’t the ants just give up on rebuilding?

  • What else would you put there? This is a perfect use of a floodway. Yeah, there are some repairs to be made, but overall the trails and structures performed exactly as designed.

    Now the dog park? As much as I appreciate having it there, I think it might be time to let that area go back to a natural meadow. As I understand it, that thing was a last-minute addition to the park added in response to public requests.

  • @drsunsets, the official dog park was put there because people were already treating it as a dog park anyway, illegally letting their dogs off-lead and not picking up after them. Every time I drove past there I was wary that I was going to hit somebody’s loose dog. This way, at least there’s a fence and some waste pick-up bags and trash cans.

  • Bike Barn at Sabine is open. I rented a bike there this weekend, You can’t ride along Buffalo Bayou quite yet– but you can ride the heights trail by way of Buffalo Bayou,

  • Who ever decided to build a dog park next to the bayou should be banished to the 7th ring of Dante’s Inferno for foisting that idiotic decision on the donors /tax payers who footed the bill. That damned dog park is under water more than it’s dry & usable. Like many other bayou adjacent amenities it WILL be covered in muck & mud. And then the City has to expend limited resources to clean it up after every flood/heavy rain !!! Idiotic stupid group think.

  • The dog park is a great way to meet available singles. Have a bar truck there and charge cover. The net will easily pay for yearly clean up.

  • @HappyGoLucky I have to agree with that sentiment. I was so glad I took some nice pictures when the dog park opened, because I knew it was only a matter of time before the floods of Houston overtook it. It takes a tremendous amount of man hours and resources to drain that swamp of a park when it floods, let alone to drain and clean the other parts of the trail, including sidewalks that have a tendency to crumble due to continuous flooding. I once spoke to a group of the maintenance crew who could only grumble in consternation at how much work it was taking, yet again, to try and get the thing back into just barren muddy landscape mode. I love dogs, I love dog parks, I WANT there to be a dog park available, and open to all who want or love them, but the key words are open and available. If I, or they can’t use it, and we keep having to dump funds into the clean-up effort because Houston is not going to stop flooding, we’re at the point where we probably need to sell the old used car, as it were, and buy a new one because the costs to fix/clean are starting to come out more than what we or donors paid for it to begin with.

  • Honestly, people took better care of the unofficial dog park. The formal one quickly became a minefield of dog poop rude owners don’t pick up, swaths of permanent dirt/mud at the edges of the water features, and general stench, wear and tear from overuse and disregard.