Private Creeks

Before and after photos of creek maintenance

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Living with Your Creek

If your property has a creek or a waterway, the maintenance of the private creek is your responsibility. Typically, the private property extends to the center of the creek and not just to the fence line. These private creeks are an important part of our City's drainage system and are regulated by City Ordinance.

When the creek area is not properly maintained, the resulting obstructions can lead to increased flooding, changes in the course of the creek, and increased erosion. Proper creek care includes removing blockages (whether natural or man-made) that could cause flooding, keeping banks vegetated to prevent erosion, preventing pollutants from entering waterways, and removing trash to help maintain a healthy watershed. It is imperative that the work be conducted in such a manner that it will not adversely affect the natural habitat of vegetation and wildlife that share the creek with us, and in a way that will preserve the beauty of our creeks.

Guidelines for Private Creek Maintenance

The Public Works Department recommends the following guidelines be followed when maintaining the creek on your property to protect your property and that of your neighbors.

1. Trees, brush, and wood debris

Remove fallen trees, brush, and tree limbs from the creek since they catch trash and cause stagnant water and sediment build-up. This can act as a breeding ground for mosquitos and block the natural flow of the creek, which can lead to flooding.

Any single tree of 2-inch in diameter or greater which is living and not leaning toward the creek may remain. Some trees are protected by City Ordinance. A tree removal permit may be required. Contact Building Inspections at 972-291-1090 for more information on protected trees.

2. Debris, trash, and litter

Storm runoff may deposit trash or litter in the drainage way. Regular removal of litter will help maintain the creek's natural appearance, improve water quality, and deter the presence of rodents and other animals. 

3. Slope protection

Creeks and waterways naturally change and evolve over time regardless of agricultural, commercial, industrial, or residential development. Non-maintained creeks can lead to the erosion of the creek bank, which can damage and negatively impact the value of your property. Any slope stabilization measures that are in place should be inspected at least twice a year and repaired promptly at the first sign of any damage or erosion. Slope stabilization measures include but are not limited to retaining walls, fabric mesh coverings, and rip-rap. This will save you money and preserve your property in the long run. 

If these measures require any repair or if you want to install a measure to stabilize your slope, you must first contact the City Engineer at 972-291-5126 x2812 to obtain a drainage or grading permit.

4. Maintain planted ground cover in the creek area

The root systems of established grasses and plants should be left in place as they help stabilize the soil and prevent slope erosion. Ground cover and other vegetation should be kept trimmed to prevent overgrowth and promote strong roots. Do not clear the creek slopes to bare ground, and replace grasses and ground cover that is lost during high flow.

Public Nuisance

Allowing or maintaining obstructions in a creek is a public nuisance under the City of Cedar Hill Code of Ordinances and is subject to enforcement.

Additional Contacts

  • Public Works Engineering 972-291-5126
  • Building Inspections 972-291-1090
  • Code Enforcement 972-291-1090
  • Environmental Services 972-291-5126
  • TCEQ Water Quality Division 512-239-4671
  • US Army Corps of Engineers 469-487-7007