FEMA Awards Nearly $250 Million to HCFCD for Sediment Removal

This morning, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) announced an award of nearly $250 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to remove accumulated sediment from eight watersheds. They include:

  • Willow Creek
  • White Oak Bayou
  • Spring Creek
  • Little Cypress Creek
  • Greens Bayou
  • Cypress Creek
  • Barker Reservoir
  • Addicks Reservoir
Cypress Creek erosion near TC Jester. Photographed on 7/24/2021.

Removing More than 2 Million Cubic Yards Deposited by Harvey

Extreme flooding from Hurricane Harvey deposited the sediment when banks eroded and in some cases collapsed.

“This award allows us to continue the huge task of removing sediment from Flood Control District channels. It is estimated that more than 2.13 million cubic yards of sediment accumulated in multiple watersheds during the storm – enough to fill 213,000 dump trucks,” said Alan Black, Harris County Flood Control District Interim Executive Director. 

$6.25 Million Leverages Almost a Quarter Billion

“It will take several years to complete construction, but this award will allow us to make repairs to the drainage system and to restore the facility back to pre-disaster design, capacity and function. The federal cost share for this project is 90 percent, which allows our local taxpayer dollars to go further. We are extremely thankful to FEMA and TDEM (Texas Division of Emergency Management),” he continued.

The Flood Control District will be responsible for the remaining 10 percent of the project cost.  However, thanks to legislation passed by the Texas State Legislature in 2019, which established the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund – Hurricane Harvey Account, the State of Texas is expected to reimburse up to 75 percent of that local share, bringing the total cost to the Flood Control District down to approximately $6.25 million.  

Construction to Start in Late 2022

According to Black, the cutting edge methods used by the Flood Control District team have rarely, if ever, been used on such a scale and took several years of close collaboration with TDEM and FEMA to receive approval.

As we have seen with other projects since Harvey, this is a complex process involving multiple steps. The money first has to work its way down from Washington. Then HCFCD must get it from TDEM. After that come preliminary engineering, final engineering, permitting, bidding, and approvals.

HCFCD expects first construction to start sometime in late 2022.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/9/2021

1441 Days since Hurricane Harvey