Getting Started

What is a watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that water flows across, through or under on its way to a stream, river, lake or ocean.

WatersheddiagramSource: Pollution Probe: The Source Water Protection Primer


Do you live in a watershed?
Yes. Everyone lives in a watershed. All land area is part of a watershed. Do you know which one you live in? All land that drains water to a common drainage system is considered to in the same watershed.


Introduction to your Watershed
The Highland Bayou Coastal Basin — dark green, below — refers to an area of bayous and waterways in southern mainland Galveston County. The basin covers almost 120-square miles and many of its waterways are influenced by the tides. Urbanized communities within the basin include Texas City, La Marque, Hitchcock, Santa Fe, Bayou Vista, and Tiki Island. Around these communities are sizable areas of industrial activity, agriculture, rangeland, and recreational areas, as well as extensive estuaries, marshes, and coastal prairies.

The basin discharges into the Galveston Bay system via several bayous: Highland, Marchand, Moses, Basford, and the Carancahua Bayous. The Highland Bayou is the largest of these. The receiving waters of Galveston Bay and West Bay are impaired from elevated levels of bacteria in oyster- producing waters. The Highland and Marchand Bayous are listed on the 2008 303(d) list for decreased levels of dissolved oxygen and for elevated levels of bacteria. The Highland Bayou runs twelve and one-half miles before it flows into the Bay. The Marchand Bayou is a tributary that joins the Highland. This project is designed to provide a coordinated framework for prioritizing protection and restoration strategies guided by environmental data.


What is a Watershed Protection Plan (WPP)?
The watershed plan identifies and tackles the issues that are important to citizens,  local businesses, city, county and state agencies, industries, academic institutions, civic groups, and environmental organizations, within the Highland Bayou Watershed.

This plan will serve as a powerful tool in addressing the following concerns:

  • ¬†Protecting people within the watershed from flooding
  • Preserving and protecting natural areas within the watershed
  • Providing adequate recreational public access to the bayou
  • Maintaining the economic viability of the bayou and the watershed
  • Addressing land uses and trends effecting the watershed
  • Improving or maintaining the water quality of the bayou


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