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The Forgotten Buffalo Bayou: A Civic and Civil Discussion about a Touchy Subject

Tuesday, Oct 02, 2012
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Law Building
1001 Bissonnet Map & Directions

Please join a civic and civil discussion about issues that face the entire Houston community.
Could Houston be the next New Orleans? Today Houston is a rising star in the world economy. But what would its future look like if Buffalo Bayou flooded everything from the Addicks and Barker Dams to the Ship Channel? Jim Blackburn leads off the evening with a 30-minute presentation outlining the factors that have converged to create a perfect storm on Buffalo Bayou. Afterward, he moderates a discussion with city and county leaders about how to preserve this great city Houstonians call home.

Jim Blackburn, environmental lawyer and co-director of the SSPEED Center (Severe Storm Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters) at Rice University. 
Stephen C. Costello, council member at-large, Houston City Council; chair, budget and fiscal affairs committee; registered professional engineer, civil engineering and drainage.
Thomas M. Colbert, AIA, associate professor, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston, specialist in the forces that shape the built environment. 
Kevin Shanley, CEO SWA Group, with expertise in low-impact development and hydrologic design; past president and chairman of the board, Bayou Preservation Association. 
Lawrence G. Dunbar, P.E., hydrology and computer modeling; Dunbar Harder PLLC, specialist in water and drainage law.
This event is free, but tickets are required. To secure your seats, get your tickets in advance! Tickets are available online (printer required to print out ticket), by phone at 713.639.7771, at any museum admissions desk, or at the auditorium box office one hour before the program starts.
Questions? E-mail

Buffalo Bayou, the thread of life that is the heart of Houston, has been the center of much civic attention lately as improvements abound from Shepherd Drive through downtown Houston. But what is being done about the imminent risk of failure of Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, two of Houston's most important flood protection areas?

Related to the potential failure of Addicks and Barker are increased releases during major rainfall events—increased releases that make flooding more likely in neighborhoods adjacent to the bayou from above Beltway 8 through River Oaks. Further complicating the picture of Buffalo Bayou is the vulnerability of the Houston Ship Channel to hurricane-surge flooding and to the potential of immense and dangerous spills.