Batches 1 and 2 of Cypress Creek Major-Maintenance Projects Completed, More to Come
Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has essentially completed Batches 1 and 2 of Cypress Creek major maintenance projects, according to District spokesperson Karen Hastings. On 9/12/22, I photographed the freshly repaired and reseeded channel K131-00-00 (Spring Gully) at Cypresswood Drive, one of the last projects in Batch #1. See the pictures below.
Such projects typically involve desilting. That involves removing accumulated sediment that reduces the conveyance of the channel.
Even though maintenance on Spring Gully may be complete for the time being, additional projects are in the works to provide even more flood relief to the area.
TC Jester Stormwater Detention Basin
Among them is the capital improvement project below. Note the two red ovals in the photo. They loosely represent the locations of what will become two large detention basins on either side of TC Jester.
E&R stands for Excavation and Removal. HCFCD has owned this property and the property across TC Jester for years. Knowing that someday a detention pond would be built here, HCFCD entered into an E&R contract with a dirt company. Such contracts give dirt companies the right to excavate the dirt and haul it away for pennies a truckload. The company then makes its money by selling the dirt at market rates.
Such contracts also create a quadruple-win situation.
- Taxpayers get dirt removed virtually for free.
- HCFCD gets a head start on excavation.
- The hauling company reduces its costs.
- Home- and road-builders reduce their costs.
The main restriction: excavated dirt must be taken outside of the floodplain.
The main drawback: If the market slows, so does excavation.
This contract is very similar, if not identical to the one with Sprint Sand & Clay on the Woodridge Village property in Montgomery County. There, HCFCD hopes to more than double the stormwater detention capacity on the site.
Crenshaw Earmark Will Accelerate Construction
U.S. Congressman Dan Crenshaw obtained a $9.9 million earmark earlier this year to help build a stormwater detention basin near TC Jester.
Crenshaw is also seeking another $15 million next year to expand stormwater detention basin capacity in the area.
Together, the projects will mitigate the risk of future riverine flooding by providing a safe place to temporarily store stormwater runoff. That will reduce both the size of the floodplain and the water level within it.
Crenshaw and HCFCD say that approximately 2689 structures are located nearby in the existing 100-year floodplain. The proposed detention basin east of TC Jester could reduce stormwater elevations in a 100-year storm by half a foot. The first phase will remove 87 structures from the 100-year floodplain. When complete, the full detention basin will remove 271 structures from the existing floodplain.
Spending this money now should save money in the long run – money that would otherwise go to more costly post-disaster recovery programs.
More Major Maintenance and Capital Items
In addition to that, HCFCD just started its third batch of major maintenance projects in the Cypress Creek Watershed. HCFCD also expects a fourth and fifth batch. Altogether, HCFCD built $60 million into the 2018 flood bond for Cypress Creek maintenance projects. (See Project CI-012).
Separately, Crenshaw has also requested another $8.25 million to begin building the planned Westador Stormwater Detention Basin farther east along Cypress Creek at Ella Blvd.
None of these projects will provide an instant fix for the entire Cypress Creek watershed. But together they will reduce risk in areas along it.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/15/22
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