Projects & Studies

Cedar Bayou

Drainage Area Watershed Population Open Stream Miles Primary Streams
202 Sq. Miles 36,878 (Harris County portion) 128 Miles Cedar Bayou


Watershed Overview

The Cedar Bayou watershed is located in east Harris County. The channel forms most of the boundary between Harris County and Liberty and Chambers Counties, with about half of the watershed in Harris and the remainder in the other two counties. Cedar Bayou flows in a southward direction from its headwaters in Liberty County to its mouth at Galveston Bay. The watershed covers approximately 202 square miles, with Cedar Bayou being the sole primary stream. There are about 128 miles of open streams within the watershed, including the primary stream and tributary channels. Based on the 2010 U.S. Census, the estimated population of the Harris County portion of the Cedar Bayou watershed is 36,878.

Mowing Downstream from Ramsey Road, Cedar Bayou, 2003.

Although a large floodplain exists in the upper and middle reaches of Cedar Bayou, this portion of the watershed is sparsely developed, and therefore, the flooding is more threatening to roads and agriculture than structures. Flooding along the tributaries in the urbanizing portions of the watershed is a concern.

Land Use

Much of the Cedar Bayou watershed is undeveloped with the exception of the City of Baytown, located in Harris and Chambers Counties and Mont Belvieu, located in Chambers County. The watershed is primarily rural and agricultural, with the most development activity related to large commercial grass farming operations. Development of residential housing and/or industrial and commercial facilities is expected to increase slowly.


Most of the primary stream and floodplain is environmentally sensitive due to the saltwater marshlands in the lower reaches and the undeveloped natural channel reaches upstream of Baytown. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department considers the area around the mouth of Cedar Bayou to be a critical wildlife habitat.