Clean & Green Program

The Houston area storm water drainage system directs street water and debris into curb catch basins that route the runoff through an underground system that empties into the city’s waterways. Discarded cans, cups, bags and other pieces of litter from the streets enter the drainage system and flow into the Port of Houston Turning Basin on the way to Galveston Bay, the largest estuary on the Texas coast and part of the National Estuary Program. Trash is left in the water and along the banks, trapped in trees and other vegetation, which degrades water quality and negatively impacts the ecosystem.

In response to this challenge and to advance our mission of revitalizing Houston’s historic waterway, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) launched a cleanup operation in 2002. Thanks to ongoing support from Harris County Flood Control District and Port Houston, BBP continues to successfully implement the Clean & Green Program, a much needed and effective initiative to collect and remove trash and debris from Buffalo Bayou, its tributaries, and the Port of Houston.

Five days a week, BBP’s Field Operations staff directs and works alongside community service workers to collect litter and debris from the waterway. Crews work on land, but mostly by boat, to clean storm drains, banks and other natural collection areas. For more efficient collection, BBP utilizes collection booms that are strategically placed on Buffalo Bayou and neighboring bayous. Also integral to Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s cleanup operation is the custom-built Bayou-Vac, a second-generation, industrial strength vessel that vacuums floatable trash from the water.

In 2021, BBP removed over 2,000 cubic yards of trash and debris from the waterway, which equals approximately 167 commercial dump truck loads.

BBP’s cleanup improves water quality for the region and keeps litter out of reach of animals, birds and fish. In the end, our organization’s efforts lead to a healthier ecosystem and provide restored habitats for wildlife. Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s Clean & Green Program is invaluable to enhancing our city’s greatest natural resource, attracting more bayou visitors of all ages and backgrounds, and improving the quality of life for Houstonians. Support the Clean & Green team by making a donation.

BBP's Field Operations Team at Work

Check out this video by BBP’s David Rivers and see how our team removes floating trash from Buffalo Bayou.

Let's Talk Trash

You can help decrease the amount of trash in Buffalo Bayou by committing to do your part and reduce, reuse, recycle. Learn how here.

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