The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has advanced four of five San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) abridged grant applications to the next round for consideration. TWDB named them as priorities for the 2020 Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) cycle. That advances SJRA one step closer to funding for the projects.
SJRA Now Invited to Submit Full Applications
With these rankings, SJRA will now submit full grant applications for four projects for approval. In the two-stage process, applicants first submit an abridged application. TWDB then prioritizes them within the overall available funding capacity.
Senate Bill 7 last year made the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) possible. Senator Brandon Creighton sponsored it. The Legislature passed it and Texas voters approved it through a constitutional amendment. FIF provides financial assistance in the form of loans and grants for flood control, flood mitigation, and drainage projects.
Why SJRA Seeks Grants, Partnerships
As with most Texas river authorities, SJRA is not a taxing entity, therefore these large-scale flood mitigation projects require regional and local partnerships as well as grant funding.
“Hundreds of abridged applications were submitted by entities—cities, counties, other political subdivisions—as part of this competitive process. We are very proud SJRA was selected to move ahead in the approval process on four of our five abridged grant applications,” said Chuck Gilman, SJRA Director of Water Resources and Flood Management. “The next step is to find local partners who, along with SJRA, will commit to the local-match funding and in-kind services. These large-scale, impactful projects come with a very high price tag. It will take a regional approach with various funding commitments to see these projects through to completion. The FIF funding is an essential piece of that process.”
Flood Infrastructure Fund Criteria
According to Flood Infrastructure Fund criteria, eligible projects must fall under one of four categories:
- Flood Protection Planning for Watersheds
- Planning, Acquisition, and Design, Construction/Rehabilitation
- Federal Award Matching Funds
- Measures Immediately Effective in Protecting Life and Property
TWDB will review the full grant applications and make final selections for grant and loan funding later this year.SJRA
Proposed Projects Advancing to Next Round
Would identify and create a plan for implementing potential sedimentation solutions in the Upper San Jacinto River Basin (Lake Houston watershed). It would evaluate the input, output, and storage of sediment for the entire basin as well as for sub-watersheds.
Would perform a conceptual engineering feasibility study of two potential dam/reservoir locations within the Spring Creek watershed. This is the next phase of the Spring Creek Siting Study, which is currently being completed as part of the San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan. Harris County Flood Control District leads the Master Drainage Plan effort. SJRA and other regional partners support it.
Would develop a joint reservoir operations and communications strategy for Lake Conroe and Lake Houston.
The City of Houston is currently studying new tainter gates for the Lake Houston dam. They could greatly increase the controlled release capacity.
The main goal of the plan: to determine the most efficient and safe operation of the two reservoirs in series. The study would evaluate multiple individual components of a joint operational strategy.
It will evaluate:
- Operational synergy between the two reservoirs
- Joint notification and communications protocols
- Impacts on water supply
- Use of forecasting tools.
This project will benefit both water supply and flood mitigation in the region.
Would provide for installation of rain and river/stream gages at three locations identified as critical by San Jacinto County to provide early warning information to the county during storm events.
- Winters Bayou at State Highway 150
- East Fork San Jacinto River at FM 945
- Peach Creek at FM 3081.
Rain and river/stream stage data obtained at the sites would be transmitted to SJRA’s ALERT2 network and displayed on SJRA’s Contrail system. The data could be viewed online via SJRA’s website. That lets San Jacinto County staff and residents view the data at any time.
Not Advancing to Next Round
The SJRA had also submitted a first-round grant application to develop preliminary designs for sand traps. The sand traps were supposed to reduce the amount of sediment moving downstream. SJRA confirmed that this grant application will not move forward.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/24/2020 based on input from SJRA
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