Log In | Contact Us
Browse: Collections Subjects Creators Record Groups

Bayou Preservation Association | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Bayou Preservation Association

Historical Note:

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 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.

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 (BPA).  As a NIABY (not in anybody’s back yard) group, BPA 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 BPA activities.  During the 1970s, BPA 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 BPA sponsored an herculean effort to propel Houston and Harris County into the federal flood insurance program in 1973.

Work continues to preserve and maintain Buffalo Bayou as well as other urban watersheds. Since its beginning in 1966, BPA has functioned as an educational citizens’ group, publishing a monthly newsletter, the Bayou Forum, and sponsoring informative symposia related to urban watershed management.  In 1999, for example, BPA sponsored a conference on “Buyout as Flood Mitigation,” to help participants understand the financial, aesthetic, and environmental advantages of open spaces in floodplains.  BPA offers ongoing educational opportunities for children through the “Kids on the Bayou” program, and it monitors conditions along Harris County’s watersheds, mounting campaigns, when necessary, for intelligent and environmentally responsible watershed management.

Althiea Morris

BPA’s environmental records collection is dedicated to the memory of Althiea Morris, a woman whose energy, spirit, and enthusiasm enhanced the quality of life in the BPA office and helped advance BPA toward its mission.  Al worked for the Weingarten Corporation until she met Terry Hershey.  Impassioned by Terry’s contagious advocacy for conservation, Al joined The Park People as office manager, a job she held for at least ten years.  She organized the office, trained executive directors, and set up and maintained the historical scrapbooks.  Then she went to work at the BPA, where she took personal interest in the board activities, reminding members of upcoming events, and where she kept the office atmosphere lively with her high spirits and tasty snacks.  During this time, Al organized Terry Hershey’s papers and coordinated the transfer of BPA records from Terry’s collection to the BPA office.  Al and Terry are the likeliest reasons BPA has a record collection to preserve.

Al enjoyed the outdoors before she began her service in environmental organizations.  She and her husband Joe spent weekends camping, bird watching, or sometimes just listening to the trees.  Al’s environmental work expanded and intensified her interest in nature conservation, and she became a tireless environmental advocate.  Her organizational abilities created order and kept The Park People and BPA running smoothly.  Above all, Al was an inspiration.  Through her orderliness, Al communicated a sense of mission to staff and volunteers alike.  Her ability to nurture everyone created a community of commitment.  And Al’s ebullient personality generated a joyous atmosphere where work was a pleasure.  BPA’s environmental record collection was processed and named to honor Al Morris, for all the work she did and for the spirit she imparted to those who had the privilege to know her.

Page Generated in: 0.036 seconds (using 94 queries).
Using 2.9MB of memory. (Peak of 3.1MB.)

Powered by Archon Version 3.21 rev-2
Copyright ©2012 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign