Hurricane Harvey


Hurricane Harvey left debris piled up in most Harris County bayous and creeks. Downed trees and other storm debris can create blockages to stormwater flow, especially along natural forested channels. Removing this debris is a high priority for the Flood Control District and its Hurricane Harvey recovery effort.

  • In the months immediately after the storm, the Flood Control District removed more than 101,339 cubic yards of debris from hundreds of locations around the county, using in-house and contract crews.
  • In late September 2018, the Flood Control District completed removal of more than 7,028 tons (640 truckloads) of debris on Buffalo Bayou, using self-loading barges, backhoes and other equipment.
  • The Flood Control District is currently focusing effort on Cypress Creek to remove additional debris. Recently in this area, crews have removed more than 3,294 tons (249 truckloads) of material. Crews currently are accessing the creek near T.C. Jester Boulevard and Aldine Westfield Road.

Residents are encouraged to report bayou and creek blockages to the Harris County Flood Control District’s Citizen Service Center at, or by calling (713) 684-4197. If possible, please:

  • “Drop a pin” to obtain and share coordinates of the blockage, or
  • Include the nearest street address
  • Include a photo!
  • Include email and/or phone contact information, in case Flood Control District personnel need help in locating the site

(Crews use heavy equipment to remove blockages.)


(Crews assess storm debris caught up in downed utility lines and vegetation on Buffalo Bayou.)

Typically, crews will access project sites via public easements such as bridge crossings. In some cases with limited public access, the Flood Control District may also seek a temporary right of entry from adjacent landowners to reach the channel. The Flood Control District also uses Unmanned Aircraft Systems to conduct aerial channel assessments.

So that personnel and equipment can reach the creekbed and our drainage easements, our crews may clear 10- to 12-foot-wide access paths to the creek in multiple locations. Where these paths cross private property, our contractor will obtain a written temporary right of entry from the underlying property owner. Then, in order to reach the blockages with the necessary equipment, our crews will clear limited portions of the streambank within our easement, upstream and/or downstream from the access points. Where access to our right-of-way is limited, access paths may be maintained for the future.

These access paths are generally chosen so as to reach the blockages with the least necessary amount of streambank clearing.

Because of the nature and size of the debris, some locations may require the use of heavy equipment. Crews will use smaller-track vehicles and small tractors for a reduced footprint whenever possible.

After the debris is removed from the channel, it may be temporarily stockpiled on the creek bank in multiple locations for collection and transportation to an appropriate disposal site.


IMPORTANT: Do not place household storm debris in drainage channels or on flood control rights-of-way. The Harris County Flood Control District is currently assessing and clearing bayous, creeks and other channels of storm debris left by Hurricane Harvey. Flood Control channels and right-of-way MUST be clear to handle the next rain event, and for access by repair crews and equipment.

> Unincorporated Harris County Storm Debris Collection Information

> City of Houston Storm Debris Collection Information