Below are two videos taken by Jim Zura of Zura Productions before and after Harvey. Together with other still images, flooding statistics and the Army Corps’ Value Engineering report, they demonstrate how radically Harvey transformed the West Fork. As you review these, keep in mind that the proposed new high-rise development in this area based its engineering on pre-Harvey assumptions.
Zura, a videographer and local drone pilot, shot this first video in 2016. River Grove Park looked pristine. Beyond it, a massive clear cut area surrounds an idyllic little lake. This is where a developer plans to build a high-rise resort around a marina. The drone then rotates to reveal a river without blockages downstream, or in front of the boat docks. In just 18 months, everything would radically change.
River Grove Before Harvey and the Sand
Hurricane Harvey brought with it massive rainfalls that washed sediment downstream, clogging the West Fork. Onshore, they reached up to five feet and stretched 450 feet inland.
Result: a park that normally floods once every over year flooded six times in one year – three times in the last month alone – 12X greater than normal.
The Reason for Increased Flooding Frequency
It’s called reduced conveyance of the river. The Army Corps documented this in its Value Engineering Study. Here are some shots I took after Harvey from a helicopter. Consider them within the context of the videos above and below. You will understand why River Grove has been near-continuously inundated for a month. I wonder how the owners of luxury high-rise condos would feel about not being able to access their property for that long.
I fail to see how the high-rise developer filling in hundreds of additional acres of floodplain with 12-feet of fill could have zero net impact. If every engineering survey ever submitted for a flood plain development were correct, the world would have no flooding problems.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/8/2018
497 Days after Hurricane Harvey