Cotton Bayou Watershed Characterization Project

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is working with stakeholders in the Cotton Bayou Watershed to improve water quality by characterizing and identifying sources of bacteria in the bayou.

Watershed Characteristics

Cotton Bayou is a stream segment in Chambers County located between Cotton Lake and an area approximately one mile north of Interstate 10 in Mont Belvieu. Approximately 40 miles of stream network including the main tributary, Hackberry Gully, drain into Cotton Bayou. The 16 square mile watershed area includes portions of the cities of Mont Belvieu, Cove and Old-River Winfree as well as parts of Beach City and Baytown.

About the Project

Surface water samples from Cotton Bayou have high bacteria concentrations. High levels of bacteria may indicate a health risk to people who come into contact with surface water during recreation activities. To improve the water quality of Cotton Bayou, trends in bacteria concentrations and their potential causes need to be characterized. This is the first step in a multi-year project working toward determining the level to which bacteria concentrations need to be reduced to comply with state water quality standards, also known as a Total Maximum Daily Load. By combining scientific analyses of surface water monitoring data with stakeholder knowledge, an assessment of current water quality conditions and goals for improvement will be developed. Stakeholder involvement will also be an important part of the decision-making process for developing reduction strategies to achieve these goals.

Materials and information from previous project meetings can be viewed with the links below. We invite you to join us for future meetings and encourage you to contact us with any questions or feedback.


Cotton Bayou MapView full sized image.