Energy & Environment

Houston’s Trashed Bayous: What Could Make A Difference

A national expert on cleaning up rivers and streams is giving Houston advice about its bayous.

Photo of Trash along shore of Buffalo Bayou
Trash along shore of Buffalo Bayou near Memorial Park

Rain washes a deluge of trash off streets and parking lots into Buffalo Bayou. You can see the plastic bottles and bags floating as a result. Pretty ugly.

If you ever seen it and wondered, could anything be done about it then you'll want to meet Chad Pregracke.

"To date we've had over 94,000 volunteers get in our boats and help us clean up. It's been very successful and removed about 9 million pounds of garbage since we started," Pregracke told News 88.7.

 Pregracke speaking
Chad Pregracke founded Living Lands & Waters

Pregracke is a kind of pioneer in cleaning up rivers and streams. He grew in Illinois working on the Mississippi River, saw how much garbage was in it, and now runs a group full-time that's devoted to cleaning up waterways. He was in Houston speaking to local officials and the Bayou Preservation Association.

"The biggest change I've seen in the last 10 years is the amount of plastic bottles. Millions and millions of them. It's kind of a bad discouraging thing, " Pregracke said.

Pregracke said one way to minimize that is reduce the use of plastic water bottles by promoting water fountains that have a special facet just for reusable bottles. He said Houston faces a huge challenge given its size and population, but he said he was encouraged to hear how much work local groups have already done, picking up tons of trash from Houston's bayous.

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Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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