The Bayou Preservation Association is a citizens' group whose mission is to "protect and restore the richness and diversity of our waterways". BPA facilitates collaborative projects and public awareness about the region's streams and bayous in order to foster watershed management, conservation, and recreation along Houston's defining natural resource.
Houston calls itself the Bayou City. With over 2,500 miles of waterways, protecting and transforming the bayous into "beautiful ribbons of green" makes good sense. If properly managed, they can provide recreational opportunities close to neighborhoods, scenic views to offset the stress of city living, and reduce flooding by maintaining the water-absorbing qualities of the floodplain.
Since the 1950s many of the natural streams of Harris County have been converted into single-purpose storm sewers. Many streams were "channelized" (sides dug out and uniformly sloped) and lined with concrete to increase the flow of water through them. Trees and habitats were destroyed to "improve" our naturally occurring drainage systems. Concrete bayous were constructed with no concern for aesthetics. Unfortunately, this is the image of a bayou that many Houstonians have.
BPA advocates a "watershed management" approach to flood control, which controls flooding by managing the amount of water leaving a watershed and also balances the needs for storage, conveyance, habitat, recreation and aesthetics.
From tree plantings to town meetings to policy review, BPA is working to effect responsible management of our bayous and put nature back into our stream corridors.
On this site you will find a wealth of information about the bayous, watershed stewardship, and how you can become involved.