Armand Bayou Restoration

Armand Bayou and Taylor Bayou lie at the heart of the Armand Bayou Nature Center. These two water bodies are estuarine streams, receiving inputs of tidal energy as well as larval and juvenile forms of marine life from Galveston Bay. They also receive substantial inputs of freshwater, sediment and nutrients from the surrounding upland areas and tributaries. Significant environmental impacts are evident on both bayous. The scope and scale of the needed restoration and management activities represents a critical challenge to ABNC.

"Armand Bayou will prove to be a difficult environmental management problem compared to other potential coastal preserves. The key aspect of the problem is that environmental rehabilitation, rather than protection, is a likely objective."

Mitchell & Windsor 1991

Armand Bayou is a meandering estuarine stream some thirteen miles in length, emptying through a narrow mouth into Clear Lake, a tertiary bay of the Galveston Bay system. Its watershed encompasses 63.5 square miles (40,647 acres) through urban and suburban development, NASA's Johnson Space Center and the Bayport petrochemical complex. Salinity is usually stratified and highly variable, becoming increasingly fresh upstream. After large rainfall events, salinity may be depressed into the fresh to weakly brackish range of 0-5 ppt (ppt= parts per thousand) through much of its length. During dry summer periods, salinity can reach 20 ppt. Myers (1995) divided the length of Armand Bayou into four zones, based upon the physical and biological characteristics of the stream. Taylor Bayou extends approximately four miles in length, approximately half of which is located within the boundaries of the Nature Center. Like Armand Bayou, it empties into Clear Lake through a constricted mouth, but also has a secondary connection at its head directly to Galveston Bay via a man-made channel to the Bayport Shipping Terminal. Salinity is generally higher than that of Armand Bayou and remains consistent through its length, suggesting that tidal influences are being introduced at both ends.

Armand and Taylor Bayous have changed drastically during the past three decades due to a number of environmental impacts, including: subsidence, loss of wetlands, poor water quality and the expansion of invasive exotic species. Go to Bayou Conservation Efforts for information about the conservation efforts of Armand Bayou Nature Center and our friends.