SAVE BUFFALO BAYOU

Let's work with nature, not against it.

Houston, TX   |  www.SaveBuffaloBayou.org

Mission

Save Buffalo Bayou advocates for Buffalo Bayou, its many creeks and streams, for nature and modern flood management. The 18,000-year-old river is our main waterway flowing through Houston, much of it relatively natural. Most of what we do is journalism. We write about how streams work and why nature-based flood management works best, costs less, and is better for us and our world. From 2014 through 2017 our efforts centered on a misguided project to dredge and reroute a forested public stretch of the bayou. Since Harvey in August 2017, our broader focus is the most effective policy and practice to reduce our region’s flood threats. We believe in stopping stormwaters before they flood our streams. Slow it down, spread it out, and soak it in. It’s what the rest of the world is doing.

Ruling year info

2015

President, Executive Director, and Trustee

Susan Chadwick

Main address

3614 Montrose 706

Houston, TX 77006 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

47-2086976

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Forest Conservation (C36)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Floodplain management and drainage policies in Harris County are outdated, dominated by costly, "grey" engineering solutions rather than more advanced, more effective and cost-efficient "green" solutions informed by the processes of nature. As a result our vital waterways are destroyed -- widened, deepened, stripped, and straightened in a misguided, backwards, and futile attempt to accommodate more and more and faster and more polluted runoff from our paved and built city. Leaving "room for the river" creates cleaner, healthier, more biologically diverse waterways and focuses attention on solutions that can actually help. Enlarging our streams is like building bigger highways -- it doesn't solve the problem. We are working to address that.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Advocacy Journalism

Researching, writing, and publishing articles describing the life and function of rivers and streams, particularly Buffalo Bayou, and the most advanced and enlightened practices in river and floodplain management around the world. Investigating and reporting on current practices locally.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Float down Buffalo Bayou with geologist/naturalist/river guide Tom Helm and discover the ancient geology of this historic nature area as it flows past the forested banks of Memorial Park.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of press articles published

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Advocacy Journalism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

These results include radio and television appearances as well as newspaper articles published about us or quoting us, editorials by members of the board of Save Buffalo Bayou, and films about us.

Number of donors retained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Advocacy Journalism

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This number represents donations from foundations and individuals.

Number of undesirable activities stopped

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Advocacy Journalism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

After disastrous flooding, we fought projects that make flooding worse, stopped destructive maintenance, increased understanding of streams, meanders and vegetation, ownership, and best management.

Number of organizational partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Advocacy Journalism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our interests are aligned with the Houston Sierra Club, Katy Prairie Conservancy, Bayou City Waterkeeper, Residents Against Flooding, and others, and we help publicize their work.

Number of requests for advocate products or information, including downloads or page views of online material

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Advocacy Journalism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

More than 7,700 followers on our Facebook page, with an email list of over 2,000, including hundreds of local and national media, political, academic and expert contacts.

Number of meetings with policymakers or candidates

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We attend public engagement meetings, speak with concerned residents and public officials, address decision-makers, make presentations at conferences and to neighborhood organizations.

Number of policymakers or candidates reached

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our articles and reports are regularly sent to all city and county representatives as well as federal, state, and local public officials, civic leaders, and local academics.

Number of press releases developed and distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Advocacy Journalism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Figures are estimates. We regularly send out press releases when we post articles and reports on our website.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our founding mission was to protect one of the last forested, publicly accessible stretches of Buffalo Bayou flowing through the center of Houston. We were successful. This started us on the path of educating the public and policy makers not just about the outdated assumptions behind that project but also about our outdated flood management policies in general. We now work to bring attention to wider issues of floodplain and flood risk management in the county. We are fighting to influence current policies and practices and bring them in line with advanced thinking elsewhere in the country and around the world. We try help people understand why we are flooding and the most effective way to do something about it. We hope to prevent costly, high-maintenance flood control projects that destroy our streams and the environment and ultimately won't work.

Our strategy is primarily advocacy journalism. We investigate, research, write and publish articles on our website, in local newspapers and on our Facebook page. We have more than 7,600 followers on our Facebook page. We also send our articles and information to more than 1,000 members of the media, politicians and civic leaders. We speak on the radio and to civic groups, meet with politicians, attend conferences, and network with other organizations involved in related activities such as prairie, wetland, and forest preservation, and protection against flooding. We use our marketing and communications experience and contacts to help other organizations publicize their issues and activities also.

Our executive director, Susan Chadwick, is an accomplished writer and journalist with decades of experience. She is a native Houstonian who grew up on Buffalo Bayou and happens to know a whole lot of influential people. In addition, our advisory board includes working geologists, environmental and earth scientists, and one of the world's leading river experts.

We have succeeded in stopping the project we opposed, a project to strip, dredge, and reroute more than a mile of one of the last publicly-accessible, forested stretches of Buffalo Bayou in the city. We managed, through our articles and editorials, to change the conversation, create a debate, and bring new facts into the discussion. We pointed out serious conflicts of interest. We have now widened the discussion to floodplain management and policy in general, helping to clarify issues and misunderstanding about stream function and solutions to flooding for people who live and work up and down the bayou, many of whom flooded badly during Hurricane Harvey. The impulse is to blame the river, to think that nature and protection from flooding are somehow at odds. There are calls to straighten and dredge all of the bayou. Our mission now is to explain that working with nature for flood management is the best, most effective, and cheapest solution.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The people we serve are the people who care about our local environment and who support and benefit from our advocacy for Buffalo Bayou, its tributaries, forests, and wetlands, and for enlightened flood risk management that focuses on nature. We depend on the public to help us stay informed about what is happening in the region.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Suggestion box/email, Facebook, website,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To understand the impact of public policy and practice and flood management.,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Through our journalism and published reports.,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

SAVE BUFFALO BAYOU
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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SAVE BUFFALO BAYOU

Board of directors
as of 8/18/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Susan Chadwick

Blaine Adams

Prometheus Trust

Olive Hershey

Hershey Foundation

Richard Keeton

McGuireWoods

Susan Chadwick

William Heins

Professional research geologist

Thomas Helm

Consulting geologist

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Not applicable
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Not applicable
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data