Buffalo Bayou Community Plan


In 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued the Interim Report for the Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resilience Study favoring two solutions, channelizing Buffalo Bayou and constructing a reservoir on the Katy Prairie in the Cypress Creek Watershed. However, both face heavy community opposition.

Houston Stronger provided critical feedback to USACE and offered a substitute plan known as the the Buffalo Bayou Community Plan that provides a road map to achieve effective flooding solutions with community support.

Houston Stronger Buffalo Bayou Community Plan Map


Click map to enlarge.

The Buffalo Bayou Community Plan is formulated with the following goals:


  • Use short and long-term projects to contain and convey stormwater from events similar in magnitude to Hurricane Harvey (2017).
  • Contain flood waters within the boundaries of federally owned lands for Barker and Addicks.
  • Add conveyance downstream of Barker and Addicks Reservoirs without channelizing Buffalo.
  • Reduce flooding conditions in Buffalo Bayou watershed downstream of the reservoirs resulting from local rainfall.
  • Avoid negative environmental impacts and enhance long term environmental benefits, especially in the Katy Prairie and along Buffalo Bayou as well as areas downstream and in the Houston Ship Channel.
  • Have broad and prolonged community support from a diverse group of stakeholders and take advantage of various funding opportunities.

Click to download full 39-page Houston Stronger
Buffalo Bayou Community Response:

Houston Stronger Buffalo Bayou & Tributaries Resiliency Study and Interim Report

The Buffalo Bayou Community Plan is comprised of four components that aim to accomplish these goals. All require additional study.

Component 1

Construct an estimated 40-foot diameter tunnel capable of conveying flood waters from Barker and Addicks Reservoirs to the Houston Ship Channel while avoiding impacts to water quality. Tunnel interceptors along IH 10 and Buffalo Bayou will significantly increase flood protection for Harvey-type events to neighborhoods north and south of the tunnel.

Component 2

Provide an additional ±58,000 acre-feet of storage within the Addicks Reservoir and ±94,000 acre-feet of additional storage capacity within the Barker Reservoir (for a potential total of 152,000 acre-feet). The dredge material from the excavations can be used to reinforce the aging levees, and to create new topography within the reservoirs adding new ecological and recreational value while reducing transportation costs related to the disposal of the dredge material.

Components 3 & 4

Today, Addicks and Barker Reservoirs can store 210,512 acre‐feet of floodwater on government owned land. The needed additional storage will be determined based on modeling of storm scenarios.

  • Component 3 calls for up to 120,000 acre‐feet of added storage, using medium‐size retention basins south of Cypress Creek and creekside retention along S. Mayde and Bear Creeks.
  • Component 4 calls for 17,000 acre‐feet of added storage created through land acquisition and restoration in the upper Cypress Creek Watershed.