Tag Archive for: Bear Branch Trail Association

HCFCD Completes Removal of Another 10,000 Cubic Yards From Bens Branch

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) contractors have completed removal of virtually another 10,000 cubic yards of sediment that had accumulated in Bens Branch between Rocky Woods Drive and Kingwood Drive. While a little cleanup work and equipment removal remains, we can call this job “well done.”

Scope of Work Completed

HCFCD widened and deepened half mile stretch of the creek/ditch. Flood Control also re-sloped the banks, straightened the flow lines, replaced backslope interceptor drains, restored the original conveyance of the ditch, and replanted grass.

Tens of Millions in Nearby Damages during Harvey

During Harvey, dozens of homes flooded along both sides of this channelized stream. So did Kingwood High School and the old H-E-B shopping center north of Kingwood Drive. The shopping center is still mostly vacant because of flood damage. And the Humble ISD spent $70 million to restore Kingwood High School which flooded to the second floor.

Approximately 1000 Truckloads of Sediment Removed

Given that your average dump truck holds about 10 cubic yards, contractors removed about a 1000 truckloads of sediment during this phase of the Bens Branch project.

While the truck traffic got intense at times, contractors finished months ahead of schedule. They originally scheduled completion for early July.

Before/After Photo Essay

The first photo below was taken in January before the start of the project. I shot the rest on April 16.

Bens Branch at Rocky Woods in January 2021 before start of clean-out project.
Bens Branch at Rocky Woods after completion of project on April 16, 2021. The greenish tinge on the slopes is hydro mulch. Hydro mulch is grass seed embedded in a gelatin which can be sprayed on the slopes. Nutrients in the gelatin help ensure that grass will begin to grow in the least amount of time possible, hopefully before heavy rains can erode the slopes.
In fact, new grass shoots are already poking out of this ground. This new drain at Laurel Garden replaces one that had collapsed and become almost totally blocked. The average service life of galvanized corrugated metal pipe is up to 40 years.
New entrance to drain behind maintenance road on side of ditch.
Note the warning. Waste dumped in these drains blocks them and contributes to neighborhood flooding. Even if waste does not block the drain, it can wind up in Lake Houston or Galveston Bay.
Looking back upstream toward the new drain at Laurel Garden.
This shot dramatizes the proximity of Kingwood High School to the ditch. Looking downstream. Notice Lake Houston in the background in the upper left.
Looking upstream from Town Center
Looking downstream from the middle of the Bens Branch project toward Town Center.
Only removal of the temporary crossing and three pieces of equipment (lower left) remain. Every building in the background flooded during Harvey.

No More Bens Branch Projects Scheduled At This Time

This was the fourth and final phase of Bens Branch restoration. Previous projects addressed Bens Branch from:

HCFCD says it has no plans at this time to address the portion from the Y to the West Fork near Kings Harbor.

No one can guarantee that this work will prevent a future flood, but it will certainly make one less likely.

Thanks to the women and men of HCFCD and their contractors who kept the Bens Branch project moving through the pandemic. And to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service which provided partial funding.

Thanks also to the Bear Branch Trail Association, Kingwood Service Association and Kings Forest CA. All helped provide access to the project area across their property.

Onward to other projects such as Woodridge Village Detention, Taylor Gully restoration, and Diversion Ditch expansion. More on those in future posts.

Posted by Bob Rehak on April 17, 2021

1328 Days since Hurricane Harvey