Spring Creek Flood Control Dams are back in the news. The San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) recently announced the first of three meetings related to a feasibility study. So save the date – April 7.
According to Matt Barrett of the SJRA, this feasibility study is a continuation of the Spring Creek Siting Study which came out of the San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan project (SJMDP). The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) and multiple partner agencies including SJRA developed the Master Drainage Plan.
Overview of Feasibility Study
The Spring Creek Siting Study from December 2020 explored multiple alternative locations that could provide flood-mitigation benefits to the Spring Creek watershed. Two of the more cost-effective were dams on Walnut and Birch Creeks.
The Spring Creek Flood Control Dams Feasibility Study will include:
- A conceptual design for each dam
- Benefits and costs for each dam and a combination of the two dams.
The goal: to determine the most feasible and economical alternative(s) for possible future design and construction.
The cost of the study is estimated at $1 million. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) grant program will provide half. City of Humble, HCFCD, and five (5) Municipal Utility Districts will fund the other half. SJRA is performing in-kind services to reduce the local match amount to be funded by the Partners.
One Crucial Step of Many
This project is currently only in the feasibility phase. Construction of one or both dams, if feasible, would likely not occur for several years. Partners still need to identify a project sponsor and funding. They also need to perform final design, obtain environmental permits, and acquire land.
Details of Public Input Meeting
Public input and participation are critical components of this study, and SJRA wants to hear from you. A public meeting related to the study will be held on/at the following date and location:
Thursday, April 7, 2022
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Fields Store Community Center
26098 FM 362
Waller, Texas 77484
The meeting will be in an open-house format, allowing members of the public to come and go at their convenience at any time between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. A five-minute, high-level, project-summary presentation will be given at 6:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.
Between these presentations, project team members will answer questions and collect input. If you can’t attend in person, you can view the summary presentation on SJRA’s Facebook page following the meeting. You may also submit questions via email and the project team will answer them.
Below, see preliminary maps. These project areas could change based on the results of study efforts.
The next map shows parcels of land that partners would need to acquire to develop the project(s).
Projected Benefits of Projects
As presently conceived, the Birch Creek dam could reduce water surface elevations by a half foot in a 100-year storm for almost 26 miles downstream. The larger Walnut Creek dam could produce a similar benefit for 41 miles downstream.
Barrett currently estimates that the Birch Creek Dam could remove 815 structures from the 100-year floodplain and the Walnut Creek Dam could remove 1205. However, he also points out that those numbers will likely change as a result of updated modeling in the current study now underway.
How much would these dams benefit people in the Lake Houston Area? Barrett admits the impact would be small that far downstream. But he also points out that these represent the first two of 16 similar projects proposed in the Master Drainage Plan, and that they could have a major cumulative impact.
Every little bit helps. Even if you can’t attend the meeting, I hope you submit a public comment via email in support of the project.
How to Learn More and Provide Public Comment
For more information about the Spring Creek Flood Control Dams Feasibility Study, please visit www.SpringCreekStudy.com.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/18/2022
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