Cypress Creek

Cypress Creek

Last Modified: 08/20/2020 10:36 AM

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watershed overview

Drainage Area Watershed Population Open Stream Miles Primary Streams
267 Sq. Miles 347,334 (Harris County portion) 250 Miles Cypress Creek
Little Cypress Creek

The Cypress Creek watershed is located in northwest Harris County and extends into Waller County. Rainfall within the 267 square miles of the Cypress Creek watershed drains to the watershed’s primary waterway, Cypress Creek, indicated below as K100-00-00. There are 250 miles of open waterways in the Cypress Creek watershed, including Cypress Creek and its major tributaries. 

By size, the watershed is one of the largest in Harris County. By population, it is the fifth-largest of the county’s 22 main watersheds, with an estimated population of approximately 347,000 (2010 U.S. Census). 

Like much of Harris County, the Cypress Creek watershed is flood prone. The downstream or eastern portion of the watershed was developed prior to our current understanding of floodplains and restrictions on building in the floodplains. The upstream or western portion of the floodplain was developed later, with more robust development regulations requiring stormwater detention to prevent downstream flooding impacts. 

History

The Cypress Creek watershed, like the rest of Harris County, has a long history of flooding. Records of flooding events date back more than a century. In the aftermath of an 1875 storm, the New York Times reported, “What is known as the Hockley Prairie presents a perfect sea of water, and cattle were seen swimming in many places.” Significant floods occurred along the creek in 1929, 1935 and 1949. (Historical high-water marks along portions of Cypress Creek indicate that the October 1949 flood was the highest-known flooding event until Hurricane Harvey in 2017.) 

More recent Cypress Creek watershed flood events occurred in 1979 (two separate floods), Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, the Tax Day Flood in 2016 and, most significantly, Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Rainfall associated with Hurricane Harvey averaged 33.7 inches across the county – the worst storm event ever recorded in the U.S. for a similar square mile area. In the Cypress Creek watershed, the four-day Harvey total was 29.3 inches, which resulted in record flooding along Cypress Creek and many of its tributaries from US 290 east to Cypress Creek’s confluence with Spring Creek. A total of 9,450 homes flooded in the Cypress Creek watershed during Hurricane Harvey.

Bond Funded Projects

In August 2018, Harris County voters approved a $2.5 billion bond program for flood risk reduction projects. This includes more than $291 million in projects for the Cypress Creek watershed, all of which have been initiated and are now in various stages of development. Many of these projects incorporate partner funding to maximize local benefits. 

2018 Bond projects build on nearly $71 million the Harris County Flood Control District had spent in the previous 10 years in the Cypress Creek watershed. This includes $52 million for voluntary home buyouts in flood-prone areas and capital improvement projects, and nearly $19 million for maintenance along Cypress Creek and its tributaries. Completed maintenance in the watershed includes erosion repairs, channel restoration and a $515,000 effort after the 2016 Tax Day Flood that removed 32,000 cubic yards of storm debris. In the two years after Hurricane Harvey, the Flood Control District spent an additional $1.8 million to remove storm debris, including hundreds of downed trees, along 25 miles of Cypress Creek. As of late 2019, approximately $4 million has been spent so far in the watershed to repair drainage infrastructure damaged during Harvey. A total of $22.6 million will be used for these repairs by the year 2020.

Photo: Mike Gavin

Cypress Park (Harris County Precinct 3) includes a Flood Control District stormwater detention facility that has been enhanced with a walking trail, a playground and other public amenities. The work underway in the Cypress Creek watershed is in keeping with the Flood Control District's mission of providing flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values.


Watershed FAQs

Cypress Creek Watershed

Cypress Creek by The Numbers

Activities in the Cypress Creek Watershed

Champions Stormwater Detention Basin

Learn more about the Raveneaux acquisition

HCFCD unit numbering system

Naming convention for our channels 

Projects In Cypress Creek Watershed

The Harris County Flood Control District has a significant number of flood damage reduction projects occurring all over Harris County as part of its on-going Capital Improvement Program (CIP), Operations and Maintenance, and the 2018 Bond Program. Click the Project ID on the Map to learn about projects’ details. Some early-stage projects are not highlighted on the map. The map will be updated when projects advance or when more information becomes available.

How Water Flows In The Cypress Creek Watershed