Today is the third anniversary of the day Tropical Storm Imelda flooded approximately 600 homes in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest. A major contributing factor: clearcutting 268 acres immediately upstream. Here are several pictures and videos that people sent me.
Before the clearcutting, these areas had not flooded – even during Hurricane Harvey.
Lawsuits against the Woodridge Village developer and its contractors quickly followed. And flood victims won a major settlement. But the clearcutting lessons learned in court seem to be lost on other developers.
Lately, it seems that developers all around northern Harris, southern Montgomery, and Liberty Counties have employed clearcutting.
- Mavera is clearing 2,015 acres at FM1314 and SH242.
- Preserve at Woodridge is building 13-homes to the acre on 17 clearcut acres adjacent to a tributary of Bens Branch.
- Laurel Springs RV Resort completely cleared 20 acres after promising to leave as much vegetation as possible. They even cut down trees in Harris County’s Edgewater Park for good measure.
- Royal Pines clearcut 200 acres at the north end of West Lake Houston Parkway.
- Townsend Reserve, Ltd. and Forestar USA clearcut approximately 600 acres in Splendora.
- Valley Ranch cleared hundreds of acres on the southwest side of I-69 and SH 99.
- Kingland West is clearing 1,100 acres at FM1010 and the Grand Parkway. More than 8,000 could be cleared eventually.
- St. Tropez and Los Pinos are beginning to clear 3700 acres in Huffman.
These represent just a few of the clearcutting stories I’ve covered in the last few months. So far, they’ve been lucky. We haven’t had any tropical storms like Imelda.
But still, risk remains. You’d think developers would hedge that risk by leaving some trees. They reduce erosion. Suck up rainwater. Slow down runoff. And filter water that may overflow detention basins.
But it’s their property. And your problem if we get another Imelda.
Posted by Bob Rehak on September 19, 2022
1847 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 3 years since Imelda