Tag Archive for: public comment

Public Comment Period on Taylor Gully-Woodridge Village Plan Open to December 28

Last night, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) revealed its long-awaited recommendations to reduce flood risk along Taylor Gully. The recommendations involve channel improvements, another Woodridge Village stormwater detention basin, and a new bridge at Rustling Elms.

HCFCD is seeking public comment on the plan through December 28, 2022.

Outline of Recommended Alternative

Excessive runoff from Woodridge flooded hundreds of homes in Elm Grove, North Kingwood Forest, and Mills Branch twice in 2019 after a developer clearcut 270 acres without sufficient mitigation.

To fix the problem, HCFCD examined four different alternatives outlined in this presentation, but recommended Option 1. It includes building:

  • A concrete-lined, low-flow channel within the existing channel to expand conveyance from 350 feet downstream of Creek Manor Drive to 1500 feet downstream of Mills Branch Drive. The concrete portion would be four feet deep and 20 feet wide.
  • An additional dry-bottom, 412.5 acre-foot detention basin on the northern portion of the site.
  • A new clear-span bridge at Rustling Elms to replace the current bridge over two culverts.
Four-foot-deep, 20-foot-wide concrete channel-in-a-channel (not drawn to scale) would expand conveyance without expanding current width of main channel.
Scope of recommended alternative. Does not show work on E&R contract already underway or replacement of Rustling Elms bridge. But those would be included.

The recommended alternative would not require any right-of-way acquisition. Translation: no buyouts required.

166% Increase In Stormwater Detention Capacity

Not shown in the diagram above is the stormwater detention basin that Sprint Sand and Gravel is currently working on. Under the terms of their excavation and removal contract with HCFCD, the contractor has up to three years to excavate 500,000 cubic yards. A spokesperson for HCFCD said, “We expect that they will excavate the full amount. The E&R area, like the existing Perry Homes basins, will eventually connect to or become part of the Woodridge detention-basin network to complement the recommended alternative.”

Five hundred thousand cubic yards equals 309 acre feet. With the new pond, that would add 721 acre-feet of stormwater detention to the existing site. The site currently has 271 acre feet of detention. So, the detention volume would increase 166%. It only needed to increase 40% to meet Atlas-14 requirements. Net: the recommended fix should create a considerable margin of safety.

Not Included in Recommendations

The plan does NOT include any improvements near White Oak Creek at the downstream end of Taylor Gully. HCFCD determined that flooding at that end of the channel was caused by backup from White Oak and Caney Creeks.

Area circled in red floods from water backing up from White Oak Creek, not Taylor Gully.

However, discussion during the meeting suggested that the recommended detention basins further upstream on Taylor Gully could help that area to a minor degree. The plan primarily addresses flooding along and either side of the channel highlighted above to the left of the red circle.

Bridge Replacement

Because of the concrete-lined, low-flow channel conveyance improvements that are a part of the recommended alternative, the existing culverts at Rustling Elms Drive (below) would need to be replaced. See below. An open-span bridge like the one in the background would likely replace it. The current bridge built over culverts (below) backed water up considerably during the 2019 floods and contributed to flooding homes for several blocks on either side of it.

Rustic Elms Bridge on Taylor Gully
The bridge at Rustling Elms (foreground) caused backups after Woodridge was clearcut. This would be replaced.

Comparison of Alternatives

HCFCD recommended Alternative #1 because it removes the most structures, acres and roadway from the floodplain for the second lowest cost. Compare the alternatives below. For a fuller description of each alternative, including those not recommended, see the complete presentation.

Alternative #1 is recommended.

What Comes Next?

The sequence below outlines project steps. We are currently discussing the preliminary engineering phase. After public comments have been incorporated in that report, HCFCD will deliver it to commissioner’s court and begin final design.

After close of public comments, they will be incorporated into plan transmitted to Commissioners Court.

Then, the final design will begin for all improvements. Once complete, the final design will dictate final costs and timing.

To View Video of Meeting and Comment…

HCFCD wants your input. To review the hour-long video of the meeting and/or submit a public comment, see this page (F-14 Taylor Gully Flood Risk Reduction Project).

Review the entire presentation here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/15/22

1934 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Public Comment Period on Gates Closes Monday

The Army Corps’ public comment period for adding additional gates to Lake Houston will close on Monday, 8/23/2021. The Army Corps first posted the public notice on 7/22/21.

Public comment periods are not only for those who object to plans. The public may also support plans. And I plan to support the plan.

Cross section of proposed improvements to dam.

The Corps’ website contains the full public notice, which features a summary of the project, the project plans, and an analysis of the alternatives. These are much more thorough and detailed than any documents published to date. For the historical record, I have copied them to Reports Page of this website under the “Lake Houston Dam Spillway Improvement Project” tab. See:

Project Description

The City of Houston proposes to improve 1,000 feet of the uncontrolled Ambursen spillway with the installation of new, controlled, Obermeyer spillway gates along the western portion of the existing Lake Houston Dam structure.

To accomplish this, the existing spillway crest would be lowered approximately 3.5 ft and fitted with an Obermeyer spillway gate structure. To further stabilize the dam structure, 150,000 cubic yards of rubble backfill will be deposited within the same 1,000 ft of the existing concrete structure.

The temporary cofferdam would be installed in sections that would enable the construction of a single Obermeyer spillway gate at a time. To facilitate access from the downstream side, backfill would then be installed within the Ambursen bays and in the downstream concrete-lined channel.

The spillway crest of the existing Ambursen spillway would then be demolished and the new concrete crest with the associated Obermeyer spillway gates and hydromechanical works would be built. The timeframe to complete this project will be approximately 18 to 24 months.

Avoidance and Minimization of Negative Impacts

The City conducted a thorough and extensive planning process to design a project that avoids and minimizes impacts to wetlands, special aquatic sites, and Waters of the United States as much as possible and feasible, while also satisfying the need.

During Hurricane Harvey, rainwater entered the lake at a rate of 430,000 cubic feet per second. An estimated 20,000 homes and businesses were flooded upstream. The reservoir passed the equivalent of its own storage capacity every half hour.

Due to the large influx of water over a short amount of time, the Lake Houston Dam was not able to release water fast enough to protect area homes, businesses, and public infrastructure from floodwater. Improvements are needed to the Lake Houston Dam to enable controlled releases ahead of major storm events and to further stabilize the 70-year-old structure.

This 36-page analysis shows the alternatives considered by project engineers. It also contains a matrix comparing the pros and cons of 11 alternatives, and which among them was the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative.

By improving the existing dam, floodwaters can be rapidly released under controlled circumstances or stored to meet drinking water needs.

Please Support

Lake Houston Area leaders identified the need for a larger release capacity early on as one of three primary objectives (upstream detention to slow down inbound water, dredging to speed up throughput, and more gates to speed up outflow).

Approximately 20,000 homes and businesses flooded when water could not get out of the lake fast enough. We need this project.

  • Benefits of the project include:
  • Reduction of flood heights
  • Protection of property
  • Faster release rate reduces uncertainty associated with pre-releases when attempting to add extra capacity to the lake in advance of approaching storms.
  • Saves water needed for drinking

How to Submit Comments 

To support this project, email comments to the Regulatory Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District by clicking this link:  Public Notice Comment Email. Make sure you reference the public notice number: SWG-2020-00271, and be sure to include your name address, and phone number.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/21/21

1453 Days since Hurricane Harvey


Your Chance to Ask Questions About the San Jacinto Watershed Master Drainage Plan

The San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan (SJMDP) partners will host a virtual public meeting on August 13, 2020. The purpose: to provide information about study’s progress, and encourage public participation and input. 

Heat map in draft shows where most flood damage has occurred historically by sub-watershed.

Goals of Project

The SJMDP study began in April 2019 to identify flood mitigation projects that can be implemented in the near- and long-term. Their purpose: to reduce flood risks to people and property throughout the San Jacinto River watershed.

The study area includes nearly 3,000 square miles in seven different counties and approximately 535 miles of stream. Overall, the study aims to:

  • Provide an up-to-date technical basis to identify flooding vulnerabilities
  • Understand impacts of future growth
  • Improve flood resiliency within the watershed.

The SJMDP is scheduled for completion in fall 2020. 

Community engagement is an important component of the Harris County Bond Program. The partners want your participation as the program is implemented. 

Details of Virtual Meeting

The virtual community engagement meeting will be held on:

Thursday, August 13, 2020

6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Join online at PublicInput.com/SanJacMasterPlan 

Or by phone at 855-925-2801 with Meeting Code: 9742 

Note: HCFCD says that the “Join Online” link above will convert from a registration to a presentation link on the day of the webinar.

The meeting will begin with a brief presentation to share project updates, followed by a moderated Q&A session with Flood Control District team members.

Residents will be able to submit questions and comments throughout the presentation. Any comments not addressed during the Q&A session will receive a response after the event. 

For Those Who Cannot Attend…

The study partners will post a recorded version of the meeting on the Flood Control District’s website and YouTube channel after the event.

For questions, please contact the Flood Control District at 346-286-4152, or complete the online comment form.

You can also mail comments to:

  • Harris County Flood Control District
  • 9900 Northwest Freeway
  • Houston, Texas 77092
  • Attn: San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan

For more information about the San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan, visit www.sanjacstudy.org

For Those with Disabilities

Those with disabilities can make special meeting accommodations. If needed, please contact 346-286-4152 at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. 

Project Funding

The SJMDP is jointly funded with 75 percent from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Planning Program and 25 percent from the four local partners: Harris County Flood Control, Montgomery County, City of Houston and the SJRA.

Posted by Bob Rehak on July 30, 2020

1037 Days after Hurricane Harvey

Answer Day for High-Rise Developer

A reminder. Today, Romerica Investments, LLC. owes the Army Corps of Engineers answers to all of the questions, comments and concerns raised during the public comment period for its proposed high-rise development and marina resort.

More than 700 Protest Letters Filed

The Corps is ruling on a permit application for a 3.2 million square foot development near the floodway of the San Jacinto West Fork. The proposed development would surround the Barrington, and be adjacent to Kingwood Lakes, Trailwood, King’s Cove Deer Ridge Estates, Deer Ridge Park and River Grove Park.

According to the Corps, Kingwood residents raised a record number of concerns. More than 700 people and groups submitted letters of protest. Let’s look at just a few of the concerns; read some of the letters that include impacts on:

  • Water quality
  • Wetlands
  • Streams
  • Erosion
  • Flooding
  • Traffic congestion of local thoroughfares
  • River navigation/congestion
  • Air traffic interference
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Wildlife
  • Noise levels
  • School overcrowding
  • Neighborhood aesthetics
  • Conservation easements
  • Water supply
  • Subsidence
  • Safety
  • Surrounding communities

Additional Concerns

People and groups also raised concerns about:

And That Was Just for Starters

It will be interesting to see how Romerica responds to all these concerns. They can change their plans for the future. But they can’t change their past.

At a public meeting held AFTER the public comment period, Gabriel M. Haddad, co-owner, of a maze of related companies, partnerships, LLPs and LLCs in different countries and states, said it could take up to two years for the Corps to rule on his permit application.

The Corporate Maze Related to Romerica

I have a call in to the Corps to discuss next steps and how long they will take. Stay tuned.

Note: Ideas expressed in the post represent my opinions on matters of public interest. They are protected by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/27/2019

606 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Next Countdown Clock Starts Ticking for Romerica’s High-Rise Development in Kingwood

The Galveston District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch announced today public comments were forwarded to Romerica Investments, LLC, regarding permit application SWG-2016-00384 for a project in Kingwood, Texas.

Poster of Commercial District displayed by Romerica at Kingwood Public Meeting on 3/18/2019

Thirty Days from March 28

“We appreciate the time and effort of those concerned to meet the extended deadline,” said Elizabeth Shelton, a USACE Galveston District Regulatory project manager. “We have forwarded the public notice comments received to the applicant for response by letter dated 28 March 2019.  The applicant has 30 days from the date of the letter to respond to the comments received.”

That means Romerica has until April 27 to respond to the hundreds of letters written by concerned residents and environmental groups. At this point, that means they have 24 days left to respond.

Discharge of Fill into Wetlands and Streams

Shelton said the Corps Regulatory Division’s role, in this permit application, is to evaluate, under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the proposed activity, the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S., and the compliance of this proposed activity with other Federal laws, as applicable.

“The Division is evaluating the discharge of 68,323 cubic yards of fill material into 42.35 acres of wetlands and an estimated 285 cubic yards of fill material into 771 linear feet of streams adjacent to the West Fork of the San Jacinto River,” said Shelton.

The initial close of comment period was January 29. Corps Regulatory Division officials made the decision to allow for 30 additional days which extended the comment period to March 1. 

The notice can be viewed at: https://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Media/Public-Notices/Article/1722068/swg-2016-00384-romerica-investments-llc-west-fork-of-the-san-jacinto-river-harr/

Romerica At BizCom

Romerica will be giving a brief presentation at the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce BizCom meeting, on Thursday, April 4th, , 11 a.m., at Kingwood Park High School. Ms. Leah Manlove Howard, CMC, Chief Strategy Officer, VP and Program Chair of the American Advertisers Federation – Houston; and Michelle Hundley, President & CEO, Stratus Consulting will deliver the Heron Project Update, according to the Chamber.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/3/2019

582 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Public Notice: Army Corps and TCEQ Soliciting Comments on High-Rise Development Near River Grove Park

Romerica Investments, LLC has applied for a permit to develop wetlands, flood plain, and floodway in the area around Barrington and River Grove Park in Kingwood. Rumored for years, many residents, including me, assumed the project died after Harvey. After all, who would be crazy enough to build high-rises in the path of 250,000 cfs? But as they say in horror movies, “It’s baaaa-aaack.” The proposed development includes: a marina/resort district, a commercial district, a residential district, and roadway expansion.

Here’s a link to a video that describes the architect’s vision for the development. It was posted to Vimeo in February of this year. Note the sky-blue waters of the San Jacinto. (This is what you get when a developer in Mexico uses an architect in Rome.) See more specifics below.

Location of Romerica’s proposed development.
The major pieces of Romerica’s proposed Kingwood development. For details see below.

River and Floodway Alterations

The applicant proposes to construct a new navigation channel on the West Fork to the south of the proposed marina and expand the existing channel on the east for better connectivity between the proposed marina and the West Fork San Jacinto River. 

Features of Proposed Resort District

The applicant proposes to develop the 25 acres north of the proposed marina into a resort district. The resort district will consist of a resort hotel, commercial, and residential space. The applicant proposes to construct:

  • Five towers within the resort district at a height of 90 feet for the western hotel parcel
  • Residential condominium towers at a height of 260 feet, and at a height of 500 feet (50 stories) for the eastern hotel and condominium parcel. 
  • Fill material would be used to raise the elevation of the resort district 12 feet from 45 to 57 feet to raise the proposed structures above the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100-year floodplain of the West Fork San Jacinto River.  

Features of Proposed Commercial District

In a 47 acre commercial district, the applicant proposes to construct:

  • Retail, residential, and office space.
  • Three towers ranging in height from 230 to 400 feet for the retail offices and residential condominium towers.
  • Additional mid-rise residential and retail spreads at a height of 70 feet. 
  • Fill material would raise the elevation of the commercial district from 45 feet to 57 feet over base flood elevation and raise the proposed structures over the FEMA 100-year floodplain of the West Fork San Jacinto. 
  • Parking garages with two below grade levels and concealed above grade levels to increase the footprint density. 
  • A 19.25-acre lake (from an existing 16.25-acre lake) to create a smaller marina area for personal watercraft parking.
  • A 125-foot wide channel between the 80-acre marina and the 19.25-acre marina and the marina/resort district and the commercial district. 

Features of Proposed Residential District

The 64-acre residential district would include:

  • Condominium structures, 65-feet high, on pier and beam foundations with elevated first floor parking and four stories.
  • They would use fill to elevate them to 58.5 feet, which is above the FEMA 100-year floodplain of the West Fork San Jacinto River. 
  • 25-story condominiums with parking garages.
  • Nearly 2 miles of 41 foot wide roadways with bridges over canals and streams.

Expansion of Woodland Hills Drive

The applicant also plans to bring in more than 1700 cubic yards of fill to raise and expand Woodland Hills Drive. Woodland Hills would become four lanes all the way to Hamblen.

Wetlands Mitigation: Somewhere Else

To compensate for all the fill they are bringing into the floodplain and wetlands, they would purchase mitigation credits from outside the Kingwood area. Basically this means that all of this development would be filling in local floodplains and floodway without commensurate local compensation. Said another way, it would constrict the flow of the West Fork during floods.

To review the complete text of the public notice, click here.

To review the proposed plans, locations and schematics, click here.

Comments are used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity. For accuracy and completeness of the record, all data in support of or in opposition to the proposed work should be submitted in writing. Concerns should contain sufficient detail to furnish a clear understanding of the reasons for support or opposition. Prior to the close of the public comment period on January 29, the Corps’ District Engineer will determine whether sufficient cause exists to hold a public hearing.

If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections.

Comments and requests for additional information should reference USACE file number, SWG-2016-00384, and should be submitted to: 

  • Evaluation Branch, North Unit 
  • Regulatory Division, CESWG-RD-E 
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
  • P.O. Box 1229 
  • Galveston, Texas 77553-1229 
  • 409-766-3869 Phone 
  • 409-766-6301 Fax 
  • swg_public_notice@usace.army.mil 

Rehak’s Concerns

  1. If not removed, the mouth bar will back flood water up into this area during major floods.
  2. I thought Friendswood deed restrictions limited the height of commercial structures to 3 stories. When I built my commercial property, that was the limit. It was also a major point of contention during the construction of the new Emergency Hospital at 59 north of Kingwood Drive. I wonder how they’re getting around that. All these high rise buildings in the middle of a residential area will significantly change the character of the community. Most residents bought into Kingwood because of those deed restrictions.
  3. Filling in our floodplain with mitigation credits purchased from somewhere else will significantly alter floodplain characteristics here. When KSA explored building a dog park in River Grove Park, the City engineer told us that the width of the fence posts could not reduce flood conveyance by .000001%. The maximum allowable was 0%.
  4. Boat navigation on the West Fork has been if-fy for decades and getting worse due to sediment washed downstream from sand mines. Dredging may improve a two-mile stretch, but until the mouth bar is removed, boats will have a difficult time navigating beyond that. The Army Corps is having to dredge its way up and down the river. Any marina likely could not survive the kinds of floods we had in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Other structures would also likely be damaged.
  5. If damaged in a future flood like Harvey, who would have pockets deep enough to repair these huge structures? Few would want to inhabit them. The one office building on Hamblen has flooded repeatedly in the 35 years I have lived here. It’s not just repairing water damage this close to the river; Harvey deposited 5 feet of sand in River Grove Park. How do you clean all of that sand out of a luxury resort?
  6. The paving and filling of all this wetland will increase and accelerate runoff that endangers downstream properties.
  7. It appears that no environmental impact study has been filed.
  8. All of the floodplain calculations are based on old surveys which are currently being revised. Before these buildings could even be built, floodplain maps will be redrawn. Remember, USGS reclassified Harvey flooding at Highway 99 as a 42-year storm. The area where many of these buildings would be built has been under three feet of water at least four times this year.
  9. I’m not an engineer, but will the soil support structures this large?
  10. It already can take a half hour to get in and out of Kingwood at rush hour. This high density development could add thousands of additional cars when residents have indicated they do not want to widen Kingwood Drive or Hamblen Road. The information provided to date makes no mention of traffic loads.

Having said all that, the architects renderings look gorgeous. If they could solve those concerns, the development might be an asset to the community.

Please send your feelings, pro or con, to the address above.

These are my opinions on matters of public policy protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP statutes of the great state of Texas.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/29/2018

487 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Public Comment Period for TWDB State Flood Assessment Closes October 3

The TWDB (Texas Water Development Board) has completed its first statewide assessment of flooding. The public comment period on the first draft is open now, but closes on October 3.  That’s next Wednesday at 5pm. I plan to write about what I believe is an error of omission. You may have other concerns. One thing is certain. If something isn’t in the report, legislators won’t give it a high priority in the next session.

What/who is TWDB?

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) provides leadership, information, education, financial assistance, and support for planning,  conservation and development of water resources throughout the state.

First Draft of Statewide Flooding Study

The TWDB just finished a draft of its first statewide assessment of flood risks, planning, and mitigation, and is seeking public comment.

Download the 69-page report here.

The cover note on page one says, “Your information and thoughts on flood mitigation in our state are vital to this first comprehensive assessment on flooding in Texas. As such, please consider taking part in the public review and comment period on the Draft State Flood Assessment.”

“Your input will inform decision-making regarding the need for, and benefits of, future flood planning and financial investment.”

The public review and comment period ends at 5:00 p.m. on October 3, 2018. You can email comments to: PUBLIC-COMMENT@twdb.texas.gov.

The executive summary states the main reasons for and conclusions of the report:

  • Flooding has never been assessed at the statewide level.
  • Flood risks pose a serious threat to lives and livelihoods.
  • Much of Texas is either unmapped or uses out-of-date maps, leading to widespread
  • confusion.
  • Rainfall drives most flood events in Texas, but the rainfall data used to inform planning
  • and design are decades old.
  • Texas does not have a statewide strategic plan to address flood risk management.
  • Significant funding is required to mitigate flooding in Texas.
  • Stakeholders identified the need for additional resources directed toward floodplain
  • management and mitigation.
  • Sound science and data are the core elements of effective planning and flood mitigation.

Other Key Findings

Several things jumped out at me. One that hit home on page 26 said, “Local hazard mitigation planning … is not sufficiently scoped to provide collaborative, watershed-based strategic flood planning.”

Another on page 26 also resonated. “Only half of stakeholders reported that their jurisdiction has identified flood risk and conducted local planning efforts to develop mitigation solutions.” The Lake Houston area suffers from this problem. We are affected by Montgomery County which has no flood control district. And until recently, the SJRA had no flood mitigation division. The SJRA is trying to launch a watershed-wide study on flood mitigation, but has been trying to cobble together funding for it since March.

On page 32, the report addresses another issue that has plagued our area. It draws the distinction between planning for water supply and flood control, and the confusion between the two. Remember the protestations of the SJRA about Lake Conroe NOT being a flood control reservoir?

Floodplain Mapping, Planning and Sedimentation

The report includes very little discussion of sedimentation and its role in flooding. Chapter 4 discusses floodplains and mapping. In regard to riverine flooding, it states, “The boundaries of a natural floodplain change with each flood event as sediments are scoured and deposited within the river channel and upon adjacent lands.”

Chapter 5 also briefly mentions sedimentation in regard to planning. On Page 26, the report states that TWDB works with farmers to control sediment. However, there is no mention of sand mining in floodways, a major omission in my opinion.

Flood Mitigation

Chapter 6 on page 33 begins the discussion of flood mitigation activities. Generally, they fall into two categories: structural and non-structural. The chart below indicates the type of activities discussed by stakeholders during input sessions. The size of the rectangles indicates the frequency of responses.

Rectangle size represents frequency of responses when asked about flood mitigation activities.

Sadly, there is no mention of sediment control in regard to flood mitigation. Such omissions, represent, in my opinion, the biggest flaw in this first draft and merit public comment.

Anticipated statewide mitigation costs range from $31.5 to $36.0 billion. However, there is a statewide flood funding shortfall of $18.0 to $26.6 billion after subtracting available funds. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

The remainder of this chapter discusses funding issues.

Confusing Roles and Responsibilities

Chapter 7 discusses other barriers to implementing flood mitigation programs. They include:

  • Lack of access to local match funding sources. Only 20% of communities have a funding source for local match requirements of grant programs.
  • Confusing funding options. Currently five state agencies and five federal agencies share responsibilities for administering 16 funding programs.
  • Complicated application processes. 42 percent of stakeholders requested additional technical training and guidance in navigating the complex deadlines, requirements, and paperwork associated with both state and federal funding programs.
  • Lack of staffing. Stakeholders said insufficient staffing at all levels of government slows down the flood mitigation process. Chokepoints exist at every step of project timelines which exacerbate this issue.
  • Lack of training. No state-level requirement exists for training or certification of floodplain administrators or others with flood-related responsibilities. This problem is especially acute in rural areas. Respondents from small communities report difficulty in attending classes because of a lack in staff availability, travel funding, or related resource constraints.
  • Prolonged timelines. Project timelines for flood mitigation grant programs can take anywhere from months to years between the start of an application to the start of construction or project implementation (if non-structural). The more complex the processes, the lengthier the application review and disbursement period. Stakeholders expressed frustration with this aspect of project implementation, requesting more streamlined processes and increased transparency.

If this sounds familiar, perhaps its because I blogged about it months ago.

What I Plan to Do

Studies like these become legislative guides. If there’s no focus on sedimentation, the problem doesn’t merit debate in the next session. So…

I plan to write and ask them to include a paragraph about how excessive sedimentation contributed to flooding on the San Jacinto and how sand mines in floodways exacerbated that problem.

As always, these are my opinions on a matter of public policy, protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP statute of the Great State of Texas.

The email address is: PUBLIC-COMMENT@twdb.texas.gov. I would put Statewide Flood Assessment Public Comment in the subject line to ensure your thoughts are filed correctly.

All comments received by the deadline (Wednesday at 5pm) will be considered. For more information, visit www.texasfloodassessment.com. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Mindy Conyers of TWDB’s Surface Water staff at 512-463-5102.

Posted on September 30, 2018 by Bob Rehak

397 Days since Hurricane Harvey