On 8/11/2020, Harris County Commissioners Court approved creation of a new Community Flood Resilience Task Force (CFRTF). The first five of 17 appointments to the Task Force have been made by the County Judge and each of the four Commissioners. The first five will select the remaining members.
I seldom insert myself in a story. But it will be impossible not to in this case. Read on.
Purpose of Community Flood Resilience Task Force
According to the bylaws approved in commissioners court, the purpose of the CFRTF is to serve in an advisory capacity to the County’s Infrastructure Resilience Team and the Harris County Commissioners Court. The CFRTF will promote collaboration among stakeholders. The Task Force will also encourage equitable resilience planning and flood resilience projects that:
- Support holistic, innovative, and nature-based solutions to building flood resilience and mitigating flood risks;
- Achieve multiple short- and long-term benefits for as many Harris County communities as possible;
- Take into account the needs and priorities of the community and promote equitable community-level outcomes in the face of flooding; and
- Protect communities, homes, and businesses across Harris County from flood-related hazards.
Task Force Objectives
CFRTF objectives include:
- Provide feedback on the development and implementation of flood resilience planning efforts.
- Strengthen flood resilience.
- Evaluate implementation of the existing flood-bond project prioritization framework and schedule.
- Identify and develop funding strategies for flood resilience efforts.
- Provide oversight and encourage transparency in the development and implementation of Harris County’s future flood-resilience planning efforts.
- Improve community engagement. Obtain feedback from the community on flood resilience planning efforts and projects.
Rundown on Five Initial Members
The five members appointed by the Judge and Commissioners include:
- Harris County Judge’s Office: Iris Gonzalez, CEER
- Precinct 1: Dr. Earthea Nance, Professor of Urban Policy at Texas Southern University and activist with CEER
- Precinct 2: Lisa Gonzalez, Executive Director at HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center)
- Precinct 3: Bill Callegari, Former State Rep
- Precinct 4: Bob Rehak, Host of ReduceFlooding.com
Remaining Members Will Be Selected by the End of the Year
The remaining 12 members of the Task Force will be selected by the five members above. To date, there have been no official meetings as the final member, Rehak, was approved today.
Composition of the final 17 member task force must include at least:
- Two members from low-income, flood-prone communities
- Two members from communities of color impacted by flooding
- Three members with scientific and/or technical expertise related to environmentally sustainable flood resilience or flood-risk mitigation
- One City-of-Houston employee with responsibility for flood resilience
- One member from each of eight competency areas below (who may also represent categories above)
- Public Housing
- Public Health
- Urban Design/Planning
- Flood-Risk Mitigation
- Environmental Sustainability
- Grassroots Community Organization
- Equity and Social Justice
Remaining members should be selected by the end of this calendar year.
A Personal Note
I didn’t seek this position. Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle nominated me. I accepted his nomination and feel honored. I promise to make the proceedings of this group as open and transparent as possible. That is one of the core objectives. And ReduceFlooding.com provides an ideal platform to help achieve that. If you have input that could help the task force, please feel free to email me through the Contact Page on this web site. In the meantime, I will continue posting as I have since Harvey about the causes of flooding and ways to mitigate it.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/13/2020
1141 Days since Hurricane Harvey