This week, ReduceFlooding.com passed up a million total page views. I launched the site on 3/3/2018, about six months after Hurricane Harvey. In the early days, it averaged 10-20 page views a day. This month, views ranged from 1,000-5,000 a day. That’s not bad for a one-issue website focused a small geographic area. Especially one that doesn’t promote itself. Over half of local business websites receive less than 500 visits a month.
Objectives Have Never Changed
Since the beginning, I have posted 1,596 news stories and taken 26,211 photos. After all that, my objectives have never changed. They remain to:
- Raise awareness of how sedimentation and other man-made factors contribute to flooding along the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston
- Describe ways to reduce flooding
- Inform people how they can get involved in the political process and help
- Provide concerned citizens with resources to bring about change.
Major Ongoing Stories
Through the years, several ongoing stories stand out:
- Sedimentation and sediment dams, such as the West Fork Mouth Bar, that block our rivers and channels
- Dredging successes and setbacks
- Developments upstream without enough detention ponds and with drainage reports based on faulty premises
- Romerica, which wanted to build 50-story high rises on the edge of the West Fork floodway without suitable evacuation routes
- Perry Homes, its subsidiaries and contractors which twice flooded hundreds of homes in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest
- Delays in federal relief funds working their way down to the local level
- The water baron of MoCo and his Lonestar Groundwater Conservation District board members who deny subsidence and the impact it could have on flooding
- The $2.5 billion Harris County Flood Bond and subsequent attempts to reinterpret “equity” in its language
- Tropical Storm Imelda, how it affected areas like Plum Grove, and contributed to a growing East Fork Mouth Bar
- The struggle of individuals to rebuild their homes and lives
- Lax upstream regulations and enforcement that make downstream flood mitigation a case of one step forward and two steps back
- The complexity of flood mitigation and funding for it
- Difficulty of making legislative and regulatory changes to reduce flooding
- How a temporary seasonal lake-lowering program pitted the Lake Conroe Area against the Lake Houston Area
- Why Harvey flood mitigation is taking longer than World War II.
Reporting as a Learning/Sharing Process
Several things have become clear to me while researching, writing and photographing hundreds of stories about flooding and flood mitigation.
Flooding is not very high on most political agendas unless we make it so. People pay attention to flooding after major floods. Then they hear about big dollars for flood mitigation funding and assume the money is being put to work immediately. It’s not.
- It can take years for the money to work its way down to the local level.
- There are far more needs than dollars.
- Growth is a bigger incentive to most politicians in outlying areas than flood avoidance. Flooding is rare. Once it’s out of the news, priorities turn elsewhere.
Flood Mitigation Is a Dog Fight
Unless communities stay on top of flood mitigation and people work together to ensure they get their fair share of funding, they won’t. It’s a dog fight. We collectively have more needs than dollars. Never assume the machinery of government is working for you.
As State Senator Brandon Creighton once said, “If you don’t get involved in government, you’ll get run over.”
That’s why I want to thank each and every reader of ReduceFlooding.com. Your continued interest creates a collective voice that is louder than any of us could have as individuals.
So thank you again for the ideas, photos, tips, and suggestions that hundreds of you send in each month. You help shine a light on the problems. Thanks a million for your support.
Thanks also to our local representatives: Dave Martin, Mayor Pro Tem and District E City Council Member, City of Houston; Ted Poe, former US District 2 Representative; Dan Crenshaw, current US District 2 Representative; US Senator Ted Cruz; US Senator John Cornyn; State Representative Dan Huberty; State Senator Brandon Crenshaw; Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle; and Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/29/2021
1369 Days since Hurricane Harvey
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.