U.S. Congressman Dan Crenshaw of the Texas Second Congressional District has secured $26.4 million earmarked for six specific flood-mitigation projects in his district. They include:
Appropriations for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- $1.6 million for Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) for the Taylor Gully channel improvements.
- $1.6 million for HCFCD’s Kingwood Diversion Ditch improvements.
- $1.67 million for Harris County for the Forest Manor drainage-improvement project in Huffman.
- $3.39 million for Memorial City Redevelopment Authority’s detention-basin improvements.
Homeland Security Appropriations
- $8.2 million through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Community Project Funding for the Westador Basin Stormwater Detention Basin.
- $9.9 million through FEMA’s Community Project Funding for the TC Jester stormwater detention basin.
Necessary Projects, Not Pork
Kaaren Cambio, District Director for Congressman Crenshaw, pointed out that “Our earmarks were just for necessary flooding projects that the county has not funded.”
Earmarks made a comeback this year for the first time since they were banned in 2010. This Houston Chronicle story points out the pros, cons and restrictions of the new earmark system. The amounts are limited. And representatives can have no financial connection to the projects. The key word is “necessary.” This money is NOT for building bridges to nowhere just to bring money to a district.
The need for the two projects in the Kingwood Area became apparent only after the completion of the Kingwood Area Drainage Study. The projects had not been identified when the flood bond passed.
Kingwood Diversion Ditch Improvements
These improvements will divert stormwater runoff from Bens Branch to lower the risk of structural flooding along the portion of Bens Branch within the Kingwood area. This project will also provide capacity to allow for future neighborhood drainage improvements that outfall into the Diversion Ditch and Bens Branch.
The Kingwood Diversion Channel was constructed with expansion in mind. So HCFCD will only need to acquire minimal additional right-of-way. The project includes:
- Channel conveyance improvements
- A concrete diversion structure from the confluence at Bens Branch in Montgomery County
- A new proposed outfall into the West Fork San Jacinto River.
This project will remove 62 existing structures from the 100-year floodplain inundation area. It will also provide capacity for future drainage improvements that benefit an additional 586 structures – 295 and 291 from along the Diversion Ditch and Bens Branch respectively.
The proposed improvements also provide increased flood protection for Kingwood High School and Saint Martha Catholic School.
Taylor Gully Improvements
An engineering study found the upper portion of Taylor Gully insufficient. Large numbers of structures have flooded upstream of Rustling Elms Drive. This project will restore a 100-year level of service for Taylor Gully from the upper limits of the channel to Maple Bend Drive.
The improvements include maintaining the existing top of banks, and constructing a concrete 20 foot by 6 foot (max) low flow channel section. This will remove 387 structures from the 100-year floodplain inundation area. It will also provide capacity for future improvements that could benefit an additional 62 structures.
Forest Manor Project in Huffman
The project would help reduce flood risk for 98 homes. Less than 15% of homes in the subdivision are in the regulatory FEMA 100-year floodplain, yet more than 40% of the homes have reported flood claims in recent years (with 30% consisting of repetitive losses).
The project will improve and deepen an existing detention basin. It will also better connect adjacent roads (Windhover, Westview, Cedardale, and Demaret) with the improved stormwater infrastructure. Stormwater capture will prevent structural and roadway flooding, and reduce non-point source pollutants from flood events. These pollutants result from structural and private property flooding. They include pollutants such as oil, grease, debris, and other contaminants. Without mitigation, these pollutants would end up in Galveston Bay.
TC Jester Detention Basin
This stormwater detention mitigation project will reduce flood damage within the Cypress Creek Watershed. It will retain storm runoff, and reduce floodplain width and depth. Approximately 2689 structures are currently at risk of riverine flooding during a 100-year rain. This proposed project will capitalize on an existing Harris County detention pond with an additional 0.18 acres of wetlands to create a basin footprint of 25 acres. The proposed project will capture overbank flooding so that water elevation in a 100-year storm does not exceed 0.49 feet. This proposed project will remove 87 structures from the existing 100-year floodplain. When complete, the full detention basin will remove 271 structures from the floodplain.
Cypress Creek Westador Basin
The Cypress Creek Westador Stormwater Detention will significantly reduce flood risk, the floodplain, and water levels. Phase I will be functionally independent of this multi-phase project and will remove 128 structures from the existing 100-year floodplain.
Thanks to Crenshaw and Staff
Many thanks to Congressman Dan Crenshaw and his staff. These projects will make a difference for thousands of people who have flooded repeatedly.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/14/22
1658 Days since Hurricane Harvey