Projects & Studies

Upper Langham Creek Frontier Program

The Upper Langham Creek Frontier Program is one component of the Harris County Flood Control District’s overall Frontier Program, which is an organized effort to plan for drainage infrastructure in advance of future land development.

The Upper Langham Creek Frontier Program focuses on a 16-square-mile, 10,000-acre portion of the Langham Creek watershed upstream of the confluence of Dinner Creek with Langham Creek near Barker Cypress Road. It provides an innovative approach to the way drainage infrastructure is planned and constructed in the land development process: By collaborating with land owners and developers, the program works to identify a large-scale, mutually beneficial plan for drainage that cost-effectively maximizes stormwater mitigation and water quality, as well as opportunities for public recreational amenities and open space.

This approach is in contrast to typical efforts in which individual land owners and developers install drainage infrastructure that serves their site alone, resulting in smaller, isolated stormwater detention basins and minimum-width channels for stormwater management. Often, regional approaches are considered only in reaction to a major flooding event.

Major elements of the Upper Langham Creek Frontier Program plan include:

  • At the downstream end, a regional stormwater detention basin near the intersection of Greenhouse and Longenbaugh roads, formally identified as HCFCD Unit U500-02-00 and commonly referred to as Greenhouse Stormwater Detention Basin. The 190-acre basin site is also home to a Harris County Precinct 3 community center and recreation area. Initial developer excavation of this basin began in 2007 and is ongoing. Multi-phase construction on this basin by the Flood Control District began in 2014 and is ongoing in 2018. The basin ultimately will provide approximately 860 acre-feet of detention storage.
  • At the upstream end, a regional stormwater detention basin to be bounded by future Peek and Tuckerton Roads to the east and north, respectively, by West Road to the south, and by Katy Hockley Road to the west. The 865-acre basin site, formally identified as HCFCD Unit U502-02-00, is the future home of Precinct 3’s John Paul’s Landing park. Construction on this basin began in 2015 and is ongoing in 2018. The basin ultimately will provide approximately 2,360 acre-feet of detention storage.
  • A six-mile, 700-foot-wide, 14-foot-deep floodplain and stream corridor encompassing Langham Creek, formally identified as HCFCD Unit U100-00-00, between the two regional stormwater detention basins. The variable-width, undulating corridor design features wide flood terraces (or benches), gentle side slopes and in-line detention storage volume for the mitigation of stormwater flows. Within the corridor, Langham Creek will be redesigned as a natural stable stream, with adjacent forested borders, native grasses and stormwater quality mitigation features. A downstream portion of the channel already has been excavated between Greenhouse and Fry Road, and it is anticipated that the channel will be excavated in phases from downstream to upstream to serve new developments, as they occur. Developer excavation within the Upper Langham Creek channel corridor began in 2008.  As of mid-2017, about 1.2 miles of the corridor have been excavated upstream of the Greenhouse basin. About 3,000 feet of the U100 corridor is nearing completion by FedEx, north of its new distribution center near John Paul’s Landing.
  • A one-mile, 300-foot-wide stream corridor just west of Greenhouse Road, encompassing a manmade tributary of Langham Creek formally identified as U132-00-00. Excavation of this channel is complete and ownership of the channel right of way was transferred to the Flood Control District in 2016.
  • A 350-foot-wide stream corridor north of the John Paul’s Landing basin, encompassing a manmade tributary of Langham Creek formally identified as U133-00-00, which connects the U502-02-00 stormwater detention basin to Langham Creek. A portion of this channel has been constructed as part of the U502-02-00 stormwater detention basin design. Design and construction of the remaining portions of the channel is expected to begin as neighboring development dictates.

The Upper Langham Creek Service Area is roughly bounded by West and Longenbaugh roads to the south; Queenston, Barker-Cypress and Greenhouse roads to the east; Hebert and House Hahl roads to the north; and Katy Hockley Road to the west. As of 2016, about 40 percent of this service area has been or is currently being developed.

Developers in the Upper Langham Creek service area participate in the Frontier Program in several ways:

  1. Payment of a per-acre impact fee of $3,100, which was adopted by Harris County Commissioners Court in 1986. The Upper Langham Creek Frontier Program may use the impact fees paid by land developers to:
  • Acquire additional public right of way within the Upper Langham Creek corridor,
  • Make necessary pipeline and utility adjustments,
  • Construct in-line flow control structures, which may incorporate roadway or utility crossings,
  • Establish plantings for stormwater quality features, and
  • Provide environmental mitigation for impacts within the stream corridor and basins.
  1. Excavation within the two regional stormwater detention basins and the channel corridor, to mitigate for the effects of their development and fill placed within the existing floodplain.
  1. Negotiation of an impact fee reciprocation agreement in which a land owner/developer conveys right of way required for the program in return for credit towards future impact fees.