Lessons from A&M Community Health and Resource Management Workshop for East Montgomery County

On July 23rd, the Texas A&M Agrilife Extenstion, FEMA and Texas Community Watershed Partners held a Community Health and Resource Management workshop. Attendees included 29 officials, municipal staff, and stakeholders from Conroe, Patton Village, Montgomery County, Harris County Flood Control District, SJRA, Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, the Bayou Land Conservance, Red Cross, United Way and more.

Community Health and Resources Management Workshop in action.

Protecting Growth from Flooding

Organizers dedicated the majority of the workshop to using a GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping platform, developed by AgriLife Extension’s Texas Community Watershed Partners. The platform allows communities to digitally draw different growth and development scenarios on a map of their community. Then they can see the implications, in real time. Which scenarios will increase or decrease disaster risk? 

The organizers challenged participants to double growth without increasing flood risk. The outcomes of the workshop have real-life implications for urban planning, building codes, flood mitigation and disaster recovery.

Here is the entire presentation of outcomes from the workshop.

Strategies Explored by Participants

The teams in the workshop explored strategies, such as:

  • Creation of more detention areas 
  • Public Education 
  • Flood Planning with community leaders 
  • Filling 
  • Public Involvement 
  • Education on flood insurance 
  • Messaging on flood risk
  • Buyouts 
  • Apply for HUD Community Development Block Grants 
  • Implementing higher standards 
  • Changes in Building Codes 
  • Collaboration with agencies, organizations 
  • Buyouts 
  • Future studies 
  • And more

This presentation provides an excellent demonstration of the linkage between planning, land use and long-term-risk.

External Links in Presentation Lead to Valuable Tools

One of the most valuable parts of the presentation: links to related resources from participants and planners.

For instance, this base-flood elevation viewer contained information that FEMA’s national flood hazard layer viewer did not. Using the former tool, I was able to look up Woodridge Village in Montgomery County. I found that much of it was in the high risk 1-percent flood plain. That explains why the developer is raising it so much.

All in all, if you have five minutes to explore this presentation, it could help you connect some dots.

Posted by Bob Rehak with thanks to Paul Crowson and Bob Bagley

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