Not the detention basin. This is the entrance to Royal Pines.

This Is Not the Detention Basin

The photo below does not show the Royal Pines detention basin. It’s their main entrance at West Lake Houston Parkway.

And this was not a repeat of Woodridge Village on May 7th, 2019, when 7 inches of rain fell in one day. It was three separate rains totaling less than four inches spread out over four days.

Lake Royal Pines?

I’m not sure I’d want to buy a home in Lake Royal Pines. Here’s what it looks like from a lower angle.

Any more rain and the dump trucks would have to do double duty as high-water rescue vehicles.

Best Practices Call for Clearing One Section at a Time

Construction plans show that contractors appear to have clearcut 202 acres all at once. Seriously folks! This is why you don’t clearcut 200 acres all at once.

Best management practices suggest clearing one portion at a time and building the detention basin for that portion in a step-and-repeat fashion. That’s how it was supposed to work at Woodridge. But the boys on bulldozers got carried away.

This isn’t the only problem at Royal Pines. Earlier this month, runoff from the northwest corner flooded a neighbor’s property.

To their credit, the contractors subsequently put up extra silt fences in an effort to try to catch runoff. They also dug some trenches to channel runoff.

But despite the old high-school try, the measures still didn’t stop runoff from flooding the neighbor’s property for the second time in three weeks. The last time, though, it took less than an inch of rain. So at least they’re headed in the right direction.

Still, had they built the detention pond first…

Where the detention pond will go in the NW corner. Contractors appear to have graded their property toward this corner with nothing to catch the runoff except some flimsy fabric.
Runoff cascading toward the NW corner blew through and over the silt fences onto neighboring property. Photo by resident.

The mud line on the silt fences above represents the high water mark from the peak of the storm. This silt fence appears to be about 36″ tall and water pushed over the top of it in places.

Looking west from over flooded property. Despite the trench to channel runoff, earlier, the contractor graded the slope toward the left foreground where the detention pond will go.

The large trench above (and below) likely intercepted a lot of runoff and carried it away from the neighbor’s property. However, contractors dug the trench in the middle of the property. Not near the neighbor’s property. And it’s a pale imitation of the natural depression that they apparently filled in. See below.

The USGS National Map shows that, before clearcutting, the home on the left green marker was more than 7 feet above the low point several hundred feet east of the NW corner.
Looking South at trench.

Below, it looks as though they may have tried to start a second trench closer to the neighbors’ property, but if that’s what it is, it’s not nearly as deep or prominent.

Looking N. at trench (center). Notice second trench on the left that contractor started to dig but then filled in for unknown reasons.

Impact of Clearcutting on Runoff

To see a simple experiment that dramatizes the impact of runoff in clearcut areas, check out this 90-second video.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/26/22

1915 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.