Yesterday’s open house at the Kingwood Community Center seemed to be a hit. The SJRA, City of Houston, Harris County Flood Control and Montgomery County – all partners conducting the San Jacinto watershed study – had the subject-matter experts actually conducting the study there. The open house format gave residents a chance to interact with them one on one, tell their flood stories, and discuss possible mitigation scenarios.
Difference Between Listening and Learning
As one resident said, “I got more from 45 minutes here than a dozen town hall meetings.” I appreciate the town hall meetings, but he was right.
Quality one-on-one interaction made the difference between listening and learning.
I suspect the professionals there felt the same way. They came seeking input and they got it.
It felt like a collaboration, not a presentation.
For example, I got to quiz Adam Eaton, one of the engineers working to add more gates to the Lake Houston Dam. Finding hard information about this project has been difficult. But Mr. Eaton provided it. See budget, timeline and project milestones below.
Engineers hope to finish design and receive environmental approval by mid-2020. From there, TDEM and FEMA will review the plans and then hopefully release funds for construction. I asked Mr. Eaton whether there was a chance construction could NOT be approved. Answer: It’s possible, but very unlikely.
Details in Big Picture Context
I also talked at length with Matt Zeve, deputy executive director of Harris County Flood Control. Zeve, who has studied channel hydrology all his life, helped me understand why upstream communities don’t automatically benefit from projects that decrease downstream flood levels. He also helped me understand big picture issues, some of which weren’t even on my radar yet. For instance, how the extension of Highway 99 could affect flooding in Liberty County and on the East Fork twenty years from now.
David Parkhill, an author of the Brown & Root report published in 2000 was there, too. They called it a Regional Flood Protection Study back then. But it had the same objectives as the SJR Master Drainage Plan: to identify flood mitigation projects that will make a difference. Mr. Parkhill helped put the current effort in historical context. He was both fascinating and helpful!
Huffman Meeting on Thursday, 3-7:30 at May Community Center
If you missed the Kingwood meeting on Tuesday, I urge you to attend the Huffman meeting tomorrow. It will have all the same information and experts that the Kingwood meeting had. And it will be your last chance to visit an open house in this area until the next round of public comments next Spring.
The quality of input you give in this process will determine the quality of output you get.
- Thursday, December 19, 2019
- 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- May Community Center
- 2100 Wolf Road
- Huffman, Texas 77336
The open house will include information about the following projects, studies, and efforts:
- San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan
- Kingwood Area Drainage Analysis
- Huffman Area Drainage Analysis
- Spring Creek Watershed Planning Study
- Luce Bayou Watershed Planning Study
- Willow Creek Watershed Planning Study
- Jackson Bayou Watershed Planning Study
- Cedar Bayou Tributary Analysis
- SJRA-led Projects
- City of Houston-led Projects
- Harris County Permit Office
- Harris County Engineering Department – Recovery and Resiliency Division
- Hurricane Harvey Repair Efforts
- Information about services provided by Harris County Flood Control District, Harris County and Montgomery County
The open house will last from 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The format lets attendees arrive and participate at their convenience. No formal presentation will be made.
Provide Input on Master Drainage Plan
You can comment on the plans at the meeting in Huffman and throughout the duration of the study.
If you can’t attend in person, mail comments to:
- Harris County Flood Control District
- 9900 Northwest Freeway
- Houston, Texas 77092
- Attn: San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan
Alternatively, you may submit comments online.
For more information about the San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan, visit www.sanjacstudy.org.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/18/2019
841 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 90 since Imelda