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Whiteoak Bayou: Implementing Low Impact Development

This completed project installed low impact development (LID) features in a two-block area of the Cottage Grove subdivision located within Whiteoak Bayou watershed in the Houston area, which was being redeveloped from single family residences to town houses.


Whiteoak Bayou Above Tidal (Segment 1017) flows through a primarily urban landscape in the Houston area. Water-quality testing found elevated bacteria concentrations within the the bayou and its tributaries, posing a risk to people who swim or wade in them. Urban stormwater runoff is a significant contributor of pollutant loads, so LID is an effective management strategy in urban watersheds.

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Project Description

This project incorporated a set of LID features into a redevelopment project in the Cottage Grove Subdivision and evaluated their effectiveness. The 5200 and 5300 blocks of Darling Street were reconstructed with six bulb-out rain gardens at intersections and 20 curb-inlet tree boxes.

The City of Houston continues to document the water quality benefits of the LID features by collecting stormwater quality data. One storm runoff event was monitored prior to construction at the project site and at an adjacent two-block area without LID features to compare water quality results. The city established and conducted a scheduled to maintain the LID features.

To evaluate possible city-wide application, the City compared the costs of construction, annual operation, and maintenance costs with the costs of conventional practices. The city also reached out to residents with educational activities and materials to inform them about the benefits of LID.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at

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