Z-05 Buffalo Bayou Park Revegetation and Biostabilization

Z-05 Buffalo Bayou Park Revegetation and Biostabilization

Recent Actions

September 27, 2022 - Harris County Commissioners Court approved an award in the amount of $959,900 for revegetation, bio-stabilization, and related services.

August 10, 2021 Harris County Commissioners Court authorized a $175,000 agreement with Buffalo Bayou Partnership to implement biostabilization and revegetation of Buffalo Bayou between Shepherd Drive and Jensen Drive

May 19, 2020 - Harris County Commissioners Court approved new Bond ID added to the 2018 Bond Program List.

January 29, 2019 - Harris County Commissioners Court authorized initiation of Bond ID Z-05 Advanced Emerging Technologies for Flood Damage Reduction. This Flood Control District project to examine revegetation and biostabilization techniques near Buffalo Bayou Park is one of several included under Z-05.

Project Description

The Buffalo Bayou Park Revegetation and Biostabilization Project has revegetated the banks of Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street to enhance the natural infrastructure of Buffalo Bayou Park. The project utilized native vegetation and biostabilization techniques to strengthen the bayou’s banks and minimize erosive forces in areas specifically identified by a geomorphic stream assessment. The project also used these techniques to strengthen areas following Hurricane Harvey repairs. Now that the planting is complete, a 2-year monitoring and maintenance period has begun to assure successful vegetation establishment before turning over the long-term vegetation management responsibility to Buffalo Bayou Partnership in spring 2025.

What does bio-stabilization mean?

The combined use of vegetation and structural elements to control erosion by stabilizing and strengthening soil. This streambank stabilization technique is often referred to as bio-stabilization.

There are areas of Buffalo Bayou Park that don’t have any grass or vegetation. What's happening in those areas?

Any time water levels rise significantly for extended periods of time, the vegetation and stability of the banks can be affected. Heavy rains or releases from Addicks and/or Barker Reservoirs can result in elevated water levels along Buffalo Bayou. Therefore, the many extended periods of high water make it difficult for vegetation to survive. There are also purposely designed ‘sediment benches’ in some of the low, flat areas adjacent to the channel that collect sediment transported by the water during storms and reservoir releases. These sediment benches are periodically accessed with equipment to remove the deposited sediment and are then revegetated with turf grass.

What kind of plants will be used in the revegetation effort?

Native trees and shrubs, including species like bald cypress, green ash, willow stakes, sycamore, oak, water oak, buttonbush, and wax myrtle, will be planted to supplement and naturally replace the planted turf grasses over time. Other native herbaceous plants, wildflowers, and grasses will also be planted that are adapted to riparian areas and are able to improve bank stability.

When will the storm damage repairs be revegetated?

The storm damage repairs were initially revegetated with Bermuda grass to provide the required site stabilization. The supplemental native trees, shrubs and grasses are being planted in the spring of 2023. Buffalo Bayou Partnership has planted a small area to serve as a prototype for the larger revegetation project that will occur later this year.

What is the study area for the BBFGA?

The assessment was performed along Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Dr. to Jensen Dr., approximately 25,700 Linear Feet (LF), which is nearly 5 miles.

What will the BBFGA results look like?

The results of the BBFGA identified current areas of instability and potential project types to achieve improved channel stability and resiliency. These potential project types include:

  • Structural bank repairs
  • Erosion control features
  • A combination of multiple stabilization approaches

The BBFGA includes a prioritization list of potential projects based on a scoring system that considers the following factors:

  • Erosion severity
  • Erosion threat to infrastructure
  • Accessibility
  • Visibility
  • Permitting
  • Soil type

When and how will the public learn the BBFGA results?

The results will be posted to this project web page. The draft Buffalo Bayou Fluvial Geomorphic Assessment (BBFGA) is awaiting the completion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Buffalo Bayou Tributaries and Resilience Study (BBTRS). The draft alternatives within the BBTRS study may have a direct impact on the BBFGA prioritized project list. Once we have more information from the BBTRS and have considered the potential impact on BBFGA, a public meeting will be scheduled.

Woody Species Planting List

Woody Species Planting List

Buffalo Bayou Park: Stream Bank Restoration and Planting Zones

Native Seed Mix The native seed mix is from Native American Seed and includes the Cereal rye (100lbs/acre) and Riparian Recovery Mix (20lbs/acre).