Tag Archive for: Bloch

HCFCD Crews Work on Thanksgiving Day to Clear Ben’s Branch

Earlier this week, I reported an improbable meeting in Huffman on the eve of Thanksgiving that showed promise to increase conveyance on Luce Bayou. This story is even more amazing holiday miracle. Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) crews worked on Thanksgiving Day to clear trees blocking Ben’s Branch.

HCFCD has a right to cut trees 50 feet on either side of the centerline of the Ben’s Branch and clearing started Thanksgiving week. Photo courtesy of Thomas Blailock.

I did not personally see them but received an email with images from Thomas Blailock Thursday. Blailock says, “The contractor is UFLGC from Ackerman, MS. They had 7 trucks and around 20 employees clearing on Thanksgiving Day. They have been here for 4-5 days.”

I saw evidence of their work at Tree Lane. The areas on either side of Bens Branch look like they got a haircut.

Such clearing reduces the chances that trees will fall into the creek during storms, get hung up on other trees and form “beaver dams” that back water up into neighborhoods.

Result of One Year of Negotiation

The clearing follows a year of negotiation between HCFCD, Friendswood and Bear Branch Trail Association. The Association owns the greenbelt, but Friendswood still exercises deed restrictions.

The Community had mixed reaction to news of the agreement. Many were thankful for progress. Others felt the agreement didn’t go far enough. Many, like Blailock, hoped the creek could be widened or straightened.

Judging by how difficult it was to work out terms of this compromise, widening or straightening won’t happen any time soon – even as upstream development continues to dump more water faster into the creek.

An Alternative That Could Help

I have heard, however, that HCFCD has examined the possibility of widening the Kingwood Diversion ditch that runs down the western side of Woodland Hills and crosses under Kingwood Drive near the fire station. Preliminary reports from HCFCD indicate that a) their easement includes enough room to widen the ditch, b) no bridges would have to be widened (they were built with enough room under them to widen the ditch), and c) that could divert water from Ben’s Branch that would help reduce flooding along the creek.

Looking south down the diversion ditch from over Northpark Drive. That’s Woodland Hills on the left and Kings Mill on the right.
Looking north along the diversion ditch toward where it intersects with Ben’s Branch in front of the new St. Martha Church. That’s Ben’s Branch crossing left to right, parallel with the power lines.
HCFCD’s easement and the bridges are wide enough to widen the ditch without rebuilding the bridges. Note the extra room under the bridges on the right of the water.

Nothing is final yet. The Kingwood Area Drainage Assessment is not yet complete. So things could change. But don’t be surprised if you see this as a future recommendation.

For a full review of issues along Ben’s Branch from Kingwood Drive north past Northpark Drive and St. Martha’s new church, check out this thorough, thought-provoking presentation by Chris Bloch. It underscores the need to use all means possible to improve conveyance.

For more information about HCFCD work in the Kingwood Area, see this page on their new, updated website.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/30/2019 with help from Thomas Blailock and Chris Bloch

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