Tag Archive for: Beth Walters

HCFCD Starts More Repairs on Taylor Gully

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has begun a three-month repair project on Taylor Gully near Maple Bend Drive in Kingwood’s Woodstream Forest. The repairs will extend 750 feet upstream and 1500 feet downstream of Maple Bend. The entire length of the project lies within a man-made channel and does NOT extend into the natural area on the northeast. See below.

Orange line indicates approximate extent of repair project. Image courtesy of Google Earth. Water flows toward the upper right.

This work activity will have no effect on wetlands; threatened or endangered species or their habitats; cultural or historic resources; or rookeries.

Looking upstream from Maple Bend. Photo taken 1/19/2021.
Looking downstream across Maple Bend bridge toward next phase of project, which will stop before the woods. Note outfall replacement pipe stored on right bank in distance. Photo taken 1/19/2021.

Purpose of Project

The purpose: to repair erosion and side-slope failures; repair or replace outfalls; rectify flowlines; and rehabilitate existing backslope swale systems.

  • Erosion repairs include the placement of fill material, placement of 3″x5″ granular fill and the placement of grade #1 riprap.
  • Channel cross sections will be restored to the original design where feasible.
  • The oldest recorded drawing on file is for the proposed channels from Elm Grove Village to White Oak Creek completed in March 1982. Record drawings typically show a 6-foot wide channel bottom with 3:1 side slopes.

Several homes in this neighborhood flooded during Imelda when water backed up into streets. While the rainfall amounts exceeded the capacity of storm drains, damaged outfalls could also have contributed to such backups. So restoring damaged outfalls will help reduce flood risk.

The earthwork will consist of installation of granular fill and Grade 1 riprap below the ordinary high-water mark. Sediment will be excavated to contour channel side slopes and bottom dimensions to match previously rectified conditions.

Start of side slope repairs. Photo taken 1/19/2021.

Previous Repair History

HCFCD record drawings show a general repair project on G103-80-03.1 in July 2012. According to HCFCD records, an emergency repair on the baffle structure on G103-80-03.1 was completed in October of 2019.

Baffle previously repaired after Imelda. Photo taken 1/19/2021. The structure required an emergency repair due to significant erosion and a rip-rap dam that had formed, severely blocking flow.

Such baffles slow the flow of stormwater to enable the channel downstream of the structure to drain efficiently, according to Beth Walters, a spokesperson for HCFCD.

Taylor Gully was twice severely damaged by excessive flow from Woodridge Village upstream at the Montgomery County Line in 2019. The new development flooded severely on May 7 and September 19 when sheet flow from heavy rains poured into the gully before Woodridge Village’s detention ponds were completed. This is the second major repair project since then. The first extended from the county line to near West Lake Houston Parkway.

Taylor Gully repairs from Maple Bend Bridge on 1/19/2021

Utility Crossings

Utilities along this reach of Taylor Gully (G103-80-03.1) include natural gas, telecommunication, electric, sanitary sewer and water. The CenterPoint gas line, telephone line, and water line all cross the channel at Maple Bend Drive. A 10” sanitary sewer line crosses the channel at the downstream end of the project.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/19/2021 with thanks to Beth Walters, Harris County Flood Control District

1239 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 488 since Imelda

Getaway During Lockdown: Cruise Down Ben’s Branch in Josh Alberson’s Jet Boat

When I saw this meme, it made me realize that people feel walls closing in on them from the virus lockdown.

So take a quick getaway. Cruise down Ben’s Branch with Josh Alberson in his jet boat. Jetboats have a very shallow draft, so they can get into areas too shallow for propeller-driven boats.

First Video Shows HCFCD Excavation Work Up Close

Josh sent in two videos. One shows the area where Harris County flood control is currently excavating the last of almost 80,000 cubic yards of sediment. In this video, Josh’s boat moves slowly so as not to create wakes that endanger workers.

As he moves under the West Lake Houston Parkway Bridge, you can see an excavator stacking wet soil on the shore where it will drain before trucks haul it away.

Video courtesy of Josh Alberson

Said Beth Walters of Harris County Flood Control, “The material placed along the south bank of Ben’s Branch is drying out. It will be disposed of offsite. The south bank of the bayou will remain in the same location. This is a maintenance project to restore the channel.”

Second Video: High Speed to Lake Houston

The second video is more exciting. It makes you want to go out and buy a jet boat and explore the river and its tributaries.

As Josh moves past the YMCA and approaches the Deerwood Club, he pulls the throttles out all the way to Lake Houston.

Says Josh, “The Mouth Bar really extends all the way to shore. From the visible island to the park in the Cove, it is all only 2 ft or so deep. While Ben’s Branch may be up to 6 ft deep, it dumps out into a 2 ft deep flat.”

Video courtesy of Josh Alberson

But that’s City property and another project for another day.

Plans for Area South of Kingwood Drive

These videos do not show Ben’s Branch immediately south of Kingwood Drive to the Kingwood Library. Many readers ask about the aesthetics of that reach. Even though the construction has moved past that area, it still looks ragged.

Said Walters, “The contractor will be required to dress up the site so that turf grass establishment can occur. Contractors typically dress up the site and complete all final grading just before moving off site. Once dressed, HCFCD’s vegetation team will place turf grass placed upon it. The final condition of the entire project site will be as it was before, with turf grass on all of the earthen berms and banks.”

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/8/2020 with thanks to Josh Alberson, Beth Walters and HCFCD

953 Days since Hurricane Harvey