History

Terry Hershey
Terry Hershey

During the mid-1960s, a group of homeowners in Houston's Memorial Park area formed the Buffalo Bayou Preservation Association (BBPA) to protect the natural beauty of their neighborhood bayou.  In 1966, Terry Hershey and a number of other individuals observed an area along Buffalo Bayou near Chimney Rock that was ravaged by fallen trees and bulldozed undergrowth.  They soon learned that Harris County Flood Control District was re-routing Buffalo Bayou without public notification.  Outraged by the condition of the bayou and the absence of democratic process, Terry Hershey, a Memorial resident herself, joined BBPA and quickly became its most visible and energetic activist.  Her first acts involved grassroots organizing, but before long she was traveling to Washington, D.C. to testify before the House Appropriations Sub-Committee by invitation of young Congressman George H. W. Bush.  Her testimony led to a halt of the work on Buffalo Bayou and a request by Congressman Bush that the project be re-studied by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Buffalo_Bayou_1950s.jpg Although BBPA began as a "NIMBY" (not in my back yard) organization, by 1969, members realized that their concerns for Buffalo Bayou applied to all of Houston and Harris County's watersheds, so the organization expanded its scope and re-tooled its name to Bayou Preservation Association.  As a "NIABY" (not in anybody's back yard) group, Bayou Preservation Association emerged as an organization devoted to watershed oversight and information dissemination.  Promoting community education and participation in watershed management decisions was a major focus of Bayou Preservation Association activities.  During the 1970s, Bayou Preservation Association orchestrated the formation of the Harris County Flood Control Task Force, a community collaboration of engineers, developers, and interested citizens.  Hana Ginzbarg tirelessly managed a successful campaign to preserve Armand Bayou and Bayou Preservation Association sponsored a Herculean effort to propel Houston and Harris County into the federal flood insurance program in 1973.

(an excerpt from the Al Morris Environmental Archives Section of the Bayou Preservation Association)