Eighteen months after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Buffalo Bayou Park, the arduous silt removal process is mostly complete. The park’s destinations and gardens have been restored to their former glory thanks to Buffalo Bayou Partnership and its bevy of dedicated volunteers, donors, and partners, including the Kinder Foundation, which contributed $1 million to the cleanup efforts.
While the park took on historic levels of water (nearly 39 feet), its infrastructure was mostly undamaged. In fact, careful and considerate planning in the park’s design and development phase ensured Buffalo Bayou Park could withstand flooding and provide greater flood water conveyance capacity.
But the buildup of silt, which is along the entire length of Buffalo Bayou, posed the most significant challenge to Buffalo Bayou Partnership in the aftermath of Houston’s most damaging flood event. The tons of accumulated sediment compromised the integrity of some footpaths. Most were rendered unusable due to the sheer volume (and height) of the built-up sand.
In 2019, Harris County Flood Control District will remove silt that still sits along some of Buffalo Bayou’s flood benches. Additionally, the agency will perform major erosion repairs along some footpaths during 2019, once federal funding is in place. This work will involve heavy equipment, footpath closures and construction at Lost Lake, below the Wortham Fountain, and at the Rosemont bridge in addition to several smaller damaged areas along the channel. The project’s plans and schedule are still being developed, and there will be more details available at buffalobayou.org, most likely in the spring.
BBP’s post-Hurricane Harvey cleanup efforts to date, by the numbers includes:
- 4,000 plants and trees replanted
- 500 trail lights cleaned and repaired
- 5,000 volunteers contributed 10,000 hours of service
- 60+ million pounds of sediment removed from Buffalo Bayou Park and downtown green spaces
- 1,427 cubic yards of trash and debris removed from the waterway
- $1.6 million secured for Hurricane Harvey cleanup
Watch Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s video highlighting its one-year post-Harvey cleanup efforts below: