Key Programs of the Bayou Preservation Association

The Bayou Preservation Association focuses on four key programs to accomplish its mission to “celebrate, protect and restore the natural richness of all our bayous and streams.” Cross-cutting projects and initiatives – those that address the goals of more than one program – also continue, such as the annual Symposium, public policy review and response, and communications tools.

Bayou Citizen Science Program

Clean water is essential for fish and wildlife, and for human recreation. While water quality is improving, much remains to be done for our waters to meet the “fishable and swimmable” goals of the Clean Water Act. Most of our streams have been identified as impaired for contact recreation, due to high levels of the kinds of bacteria that are indicators of human health risk. Many streams have other water quality impairments affecting fish and wildlife, such as low dissolved oxygen or high levels of nutrients. Bayou Preservation Association’s Bayou Citizen Science Program works to improve bayou water quality by engaging citizens in providing valuable quantitative data and qualitative information, both to inform the public and to support actions by local and regional authorities that have the responsibility and authority to improve water quality.

Bayou Appreciation Program

Interpretive signage demonstration of Buffalo Bayou at Terry Hershey Park–part of a wider initiative to raise public awareness of our bayous as Houston’s greatest natural treasures.

Getting people outdoors to experience our bayous and streams first-hand is one of the keys to building appreciation of the natural richness, benefits, and functions of these resources. First-hand experience also contributes to creating a culture that will celebrate, protect, and restore these streams for today’s citizens, and for future generations! Bayou Preservation Association’s Bayou Appreciation Program works to accomplish just that, by providing for outdoor opportunities that are both fun and informative, whether on-the-water or streamside, and along with interpretive signage to inform bayou visitors of the many functions and benefits of our bayous.

Stream Corridor Restoration Program

When the unique buffer zones alongside streams are covered with native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees, these zones provide important benefits for the waterways and our communities. They benefit water quality by preventing sediments, nutrients, pesticides, and other pollutants from reaching a stream. Stream corridors with native vegetation are important for wildlife habitat, providing food and cover, as well as an important travel corridor. The vegetation also slows floodwaters, allowing the floodwaters to soak into the ground, which helps maintain stable streambanks and protect downstream property. The Stream Corridor Restoration Program engages contractors and volunteers in the restoration work of removing harmful invasive exotic species, and planting native vegetation where appropriate, with an ancillary benefit of building an understanding of the functions of vegetation in healthy stream corridors.

Trash-Free Bayous Program

Bayous within the Houston-Galveston area are plagued by trash, most of which originates from the lands around the streams, and then washes in during rain events. Trash is an aesthetic issue and an economic issue, but it is also an issue for water quality, wildlife, and health. Trash harms physical habitats, transports chemical pollutants, threatens aquatic life, and interferes with human enjoyment and uses of river, marine and coastal environments. The overarching goal of Bayou Preservation Association’s Trash-Free Bayous Program is the reduction of trash in the region’s waterways, by conducting large and small bayou clean-ups, and by developing and implementing prevention strategies and projects that will help put a stop to having trash and other nonpoint source pollution enter our bayous in the first place.