BY Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times
As the pontoon boat carried me and a dozen other journalists down the murky green waters of Buffalo Bayou — a slow-moving stream that flows through Houston and eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico — I thought I could hear a waterfall.
Turns out I was listening to the roar of cars passing overhead on Interstate 69.
Highway sounds quickly drowned out the boat’s captain, leaving me to reflect on this strange confluence of nature and humanity. Buffalo Bayou is surrounded by industrial facilities and urban sprawl, but we also saw herons, an alligator and even baby turtles crawling across a trash containment boom. Houston was founded in 1836 along this stream, where it meets up with White
Oak Bayou and boats have a wide berth to turn around. Unlike other local waterways, most of Buffalo Bayou was never lined with concrete — in part because future president George H.W. Bush helped protect it when he served in Congress in the 1960s.
We were exploring the bayou on the last full day of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference. I was happy to be outside, even if this was no pristine wilderness. It was the world as it exists in 2022: irrevocably altered, but still worth saving.