Tag Archive for: Rehak

First Members of Harris County Community Flood Resilience Task Force Appointed, Rehak Among Them

On 8/11/2020, Harris County Commissioners Court approved creation of a new Community Flood Resilience Task Force (CFRTF). The first five of 17 appointments to the Task Force have been made by the County Judge and each of the four Commissioners. The first five will select the remaining members.

I seldom insert myself in a story. But it will be impossible not to in this case. Read on.

Purpose of Community Flood Resilience Task Force

According to the bylaws approved in commissioners court, the purpose of the CFRTF is to serve in an advisory capacity to the County’s Infrastructure Resilience Team and the Harris County Commissioners Court. The CFRTF will promote collaboration among stakeholders. The Task Force will also encourage equitable resilience planning and flood resilience projects that:

  • Support holistic, innovative, and nature-based solutions to building flood resilience and mitigating flood risks;
  • Achieve multiple short- and long-term benefits for as many Harris County communities as possible;
  • Take into account the needs and priorities of the community and promote equitable community-level outcomes in the face of flooding; and
  • Protect communities, homes, and businesses across Harris County from flood-related hazards.
US59 during Harvey. Photo by Melinda Ray.

Task Force Objectives

CFRTF objectives include:

  • Provide feedback on the development and implementation of flood resilience planning efforts.
  • Strengthen flood resilience.
  • Evaluate implementation of the existing flood-bond project prioritization framework and schedule.
  • Identify and develop funding strategies for flood resilience efforts.
  • Provide oversight and encourage transparency in the development and implementation of Harris County’s future flood-resilience planning efforts.
  • Improve community engagement. Obtain feedback from the community on flood resilience planning efforts and projects.

Rundown on Five Initial Members

The five members appointed by the Judge and Commissioners include:

Remaining Members Will Be Selected by the End of the Year

The remaining 12 members of the Task Force will be selected by the five members above. To date, there have been no official meetings as the final member, Rehak, was approved today.

Composition of the final 17 member task force must include at least:

  • Two members from low-income, flood-prone communities
  • Two members from communities of color impacted by flooding
  • Three members with scientific and/or technical expertise related to environmentally sustainable flood resilience or flood-risk mitigation
  • One City-of-Houston employee with responsibility for flood resilience
  • One member from each of eight competency areas below (who may also represent categories above)

Competency Areas

  1. Public Housing
  2. Public Health
  3. Engineering/Construction
  4. Urban Design/Planning
  5. Flood-Risk Mitigation
  6. Environmental Sustainability
  7. Grassroots Community Organization
  8. Equity and Social Justice

Remaining members should be selected by the end of this calendar year.

A Personal Note

I didn’t seek this position. Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle nominated me. I accepted his nomination and feel honored. I promise to make the proceedings of this group as open and transparent as possible. That is one of the core objectives. And ReduceFlooding.com provides an ideal platform to help achieve that. If you have input that could help the task force, please feel free to email me through the Contact Page on this web site. In the meantime, I will continue posting as I have since Harvey about the causes of flooding and ways to mitigate it.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/13/2020

1141 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Report on September Meeting of Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative

Matt Zeve, Bill Fowler and I each made presentations at the Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention initiative this evening.

Zeve Addresses Flood Bond and Flood Map Updates

Zeve, Director of Operations for Harris County Flood Control District spoke about the recently approved $2.5 billion Harris County Flood Bond and updates to flood maps. He indicated that timetables for projects should be completed within the next several weeks. He also indicated that the county has already approved drainage work in Huffman and fielded numerous questions from the audience about Taylor Gully, Ben’s Branch, upstream detention and more. Zeve expects flood maps to be updated in 2021 and stated that mitigation efforts could affect those, but that homeowners will have a chance to appeal them.

Rehak Presents Updates on Dredging, The Mouth Bar and Sand Mining

Bob Rehak updated residents on .Dredging, The Mouth Bar and Sand Mining. Dredging, he says, officially started today though not in the way that some expected. The first of two dredges launched today, a 270-ton diesel powered dredge. The launch had been delayed by a key part that had to be remanufactured and reshipped, then inclement weather. The tall construction cranes had to shut down every time lightning was heard in the area because they act like lightning rods. When the dredge finally started making it’s way downriver today, a mechanical dredge had to clear the way. The river was 18 inches deep in places but the dredge draws 3.5 feet of water. That’s how bad the sedimentation was; we needed a dredge for the dredge.

Dredging will take place to the left of the white line, but not to the right. Chimichurri’s in Kings Harbor is the dividing line. Those thousands of numbers on the image represent survey points by the Army Corps Average depth around the mouth bar is 1-3 feet. Max depth is 5 feet in some cross sections. Water will actually have to flow uphill about 40 feet to get past the mouth bar.

Dredging will start near Chimichurri’s just east of West Lake Houston Parkway. The Corps and Great Lakes will then work their way back toward River Grove Park. They expect to finish dredging by April 1, next year. Demobilization could take until early May.

Rehak also addressed the issue of the mouth bar and updated residents on political efforts by City, County, State and Federal officials to jumpstart the next phase of dredging before this one ends so that $18 million in mobilization and demobilization fees do not have to be duplicated for a second job. No plans have gelled yet, but Houston City Council Member Dave Martin may have an announcement to make at his Town Hall Meeting on October 9.

The final part of Rehak’s presentation addressed efforts to reduce sedimentation at its source to reduce the cost of dredging over the long run. Potential solutions include upstream detention, sand traps, and legislation or regulation that changes the way sand mines operate. Rehak specifically mentioned that moving sand mines out of the floodway would solve a host of problems.

Grassroots Co-Chair Clarifies Lake-Lowering Policies, Floodgate Possibilities, and Need for Flood Insurance

Bill Fowler, co-chair of the Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative, opened the meeting by updating the community on policies to coordinate the lowering of Lake Conroe and Lake Houston to provide residents with extra protection from flooding when severe weather is expected. Fowler also gave an update on additional flood gates for Lake Houston. Then he discussed flood insurance and the related issue of redrawing flood plain maps which Harvey made obsolete. Copies of Fowler’s presentations can be found here.

Zeve did not work from a presentation. His remarks were supported by material from the Harris County Flood Control District website. He did, however, specifically urge residents to review the ever expanding Kingwood section of the site.

Diverse Audience of Approximately 200

Approximately 200 residents attended the meeting. Surprisingly, about a third of those did not flood during Harvey. The large turnout by non-flooded residents may have had to do with the flood insurance theme. Fowler emphasized that everyone needs flood insurance;

45 percent of the people who flooded in Harvey were outside of the 500-year flood plain and 64% of those did not have flood insurance.

Thanks to Volunteers

Many thanks to Dianne Lansden, also a co-chair for the Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative for coordinating the meeting; Fran Barrack for refreshments and Bill McCabe for sign ins.

Posted by Bob Rehak on September 18, 2018

385 Days since Hurricane Harvey