GLO Announces Regional Mitigation-Project Approvals Totaling $128 Million

Two pieces of good news came out of the Texas General Land Office (GLO) in two days! Yesterday, the GLO announced that both Houston and Harris County met their respective expenditure goals for Harvey disaster-relief funds. Today, Commissioner Dawn Buckingham M.D. announced the approval of more than another $128 million worth of flood-mitigation projects in the region.

This batch of funds includes several major projects in the north Houston region:

  • City of Dayton received $1.45 million for sewer rehabilitation.
  • Liberty County received $21.27 million to develop a master-drainage plan and make drainage improvements.
  • Waller County received $6.7 million for drainage improvements and another $2 million for Prairie View Water Improvements and a Planning study.

Of these, the Liberty County batch stands out for its sheer size. And Liberty County will need it. That’s because of the recently completed Grand Parkway. It cuts a wide arc through the county’s farms and fields. Thousands of acres are currently under development thanks to improved transportation. And they will stress local watersheds, such as the San Jacinto East Fork and Luce Bayou.

Intersection of State Highway 99 (Grand Parkway) and FM1960 shortly before grand opening last year.
Just north of the Grand Parkway, Colony Ridge is doubling in size.

Another Liberty County example.

FM2090 at East Fork of the San Jacinto in Liberty County on May 3, 2021. New development has flooded Plum Grove and areas farther south along the East Fork.

And another.

FM 1010
Also in Plum Grove, FM1010 washed out at Rocky Branch during Harvey and has yet to be repaired.

Scope of HUD/GLO Awards

The GLO awarded the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds to improve street, water and drainage facilities in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Polk, San Jacinto, and Waller Counties.

This is a separate tranche of money from the Houston and Harris County disaster-relief funds discussed in yesterday’s post.

$128,208,664 will benefit 19 federally eligible infrastructure projects to improve streets as well as water and drainage facilities. The cities of Aransas Pass, Coldspring, Corrigan, Dayton, Freeport, Hitchcock, Iowa Colony, Katy, La Marque, Palacios, Pearland, Richwood, Rosenberg, Shepherd, Texas City, and the counties of Jefferson, Liberty, and Waller will all receive the mitigation dollars.

Difference Between Disaster Relief and Flood Mitigation

Disaster relief dollars help individuals recover from past floods. Mitigation dollars, on the other hand, help strengthen infrastructure against future floods.

According to the GLO, HUD defines mitigation as “Activities that increase resilience to disasters and reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of loss of life, injury, damage to and loss of property, and suffering and hardship, by lessening the impact of future disasters.”

Locally-Led Methods of Distribution

The approvals announced today will filter down to cities and counties through regional councils of governments (COGs), such as the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC).

Through its Regional Mitigation Program, the GLO enabled local prioritization. This local prioritization will have a tremendous impact across multiple regions, according to Commissioner Buckingham.

“Locally-led prioritization of mitigation projects is important because it strengthens critical infrastructure and protects communities against the impacts of natural disasters,” said Buckingham. “At the Texas General Land Office, we are not only helping those in need, but also supporting our communities as they grow.”

Who Will Get What

The table below shows a high-level description and the award amount for each of the 19 projects. For detailed descriptions of each project, click the caption below the table.

For project descriptions, click here.

How the Money Got from D.C. to Texas Projects on the Ground

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) allocated $1,166,997,000 in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Regional Mitigation Program. The program aims to reduce the risks and impacts of future natural disasters.

Each Council of Government (COG) with HUD-designated eligible counties developed a method of distribution (MOD) for allocation of funds to units of local governments. Each COG developed its MOD through extensive public participation.

HUD requires that at least 50% of total funds must be used for activities benefiting low- to moderate-income (LMI) persons.

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Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/20/23

2121 Days since Hurricane Harvey