9/25/23 – Approximately 425,000 people live in the 204 square mile Cypress Creek watershed which has severe repetitive flooding. At a press conference this morning, County, State and Federal officials announced $50 million in funding for a massive complex of stormwater detention basins on Cypress Creek at T.C. Jester Blvd. to help protect those people.
The basins will span approximately 150 acres on both sides of T.C. Jester and include 1200-acre feet of planned stormwater detention capacity, wet bottoms, and recreational trails.
The existing pond covers approximately 2 acres and the new areas will cover more than 150.
Thanks to County, State and Federal Governments
The $50 million will come from three primary sources:
- State Representative Sam Harless secured $12 million in State of Texas funding.
- U.S. Congressman Dan Crenshaw secured $9.9 million in Federal earmarks.
- Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey, P.E., announced a planned $27,774,000 from the Texas General Land Office (GLO) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is part of a larger $750 million allocation to the county in CDBG-MIT and CDBG-DR funds.
Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director Tina Petersen also reminded everyone of the money designated for Cypress Creek in the Flood Bond, which was considerable.
The GLO/HUD money has been requested but not yet confirmed although all indications are positive at this time. GLO Commissioner Dawn Buckingham has committed to making sure that people in all parts of Harris County benefit from the $750 million.
Timetable and Project Scope
HCFCD Director Dr. Petersen addressed the next steps in the projects. “A portion of the projects on the east side of T.C. Jester will start construction in the next 6 to 9 months. The remainder should go into construction no later than the end of 2024. So we’re going to see these projects move quickly. This type of progress would not have been possible without the critical funding that our Congressman and Representative secured “
The overall project includes three stormwater detention basins within a broader footprint. Two basin compartments are on the east side of T.C. Jester Boulevard and another is on the west side.
Excavation of the west side basin (see below) has already begun under an E&R (Excavation and Removal) Contract. A private contractor is removing the dirt, almost free of charge, then selling it at market rates to recoup costs and make a profit. An estimated 120,000 cubic yards of material has already been excavated to date.
The contractor began removing dirt in the general area to get a head start on construction, even before final design of the basin. The final design will begin soon.
Each basin will have a wet-bottom with maintenance berms, side slopes and high banks along the outside.
Construction for all basins should begin no later than Q4 2024. They have estimated 8-month construction timelines.
Extent of Benefits
The three stormwater detention basins will work together – taking stormwater from the main stem of Cypress Creek and holding it until water levels recede on the main stem.
The projects will also have recreational benefits such as hike and bike trails.
Director Petersen stated that the projects will primarily benefit the local area, i.e., benefits will not extend very far downstream. The 1200 acre feet will likely take several thousand homes out of the floodplain.
Even though those homes will be in the Cypress Creek area, 1200 acre feet being held back upstream is 1200 acre feet that won’t be in the living rooms of Lake Houston Area residents during the next big flood.
More to Come
Ramsey also pointed to more projects to come, though he didn’t elaborate. He said, “This is $50 million of the $100 million that will be spent over the coming months in the Cypress watershed. So hold on. We’re getting started. This isn’t the end. This is the beginning.”
Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/25/2023
2218 Days since Hurricane Harvey