Spring - Klein Edition | August 2022

The aftermath of HARVEY In the ve years since Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast, the Harris County Flood Control District has initiated 181 projects included in the $2.5 billion bond passed in 2018. This timeline is not comprehensive.


The HCFCD presents the ndings of a feasibility study on underground ood tunnels, which estimates the cost of the tunnels to be $30 billion . The Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force proposes the creation of a local drainage district to cover the Cypress Creek watershed and provide funding through taxes to build the 22 stormwater detention basins proposed by Jones & Carter. Members of the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force and the Cypress Creek Flood Control Coalition meet to discuss the task force’s proposed drainage district. July


Construction begins on the rst batch of major desilt

and repair sites for Cypress Creek for $13.43 million .



January 2020

January 2022

The 2003 Texas Water Development Board Cypress Creek Tributary Study , which was initiated in 2018, is completed.

August 2018

Cypress Creek tributary major maintenance work is completed after construction began in October 2018. The HCFCD begins a $4.4 million project to restore channel conveyance capacity at Pillot Gully, aiming to complete construction by December 2024. 27.6 acres of land including the former Raveneaux Country Club is acquired by the HCFCD for $11.4 million to construct a regional stormwater detention basin.

Jones & Carter recommends 22 potential stormwater detention sites along the creek between Hwy. 290 and the Hardy Toll Road estimated to cost more than $597 million.

2017 August

A $2.5 billion bond is approved


for the HCFCD with about 86% of voters supporting the measure on Harvey’s rst anniversary.

Hurricane Harvey makes landfall near Rockport as a Category 4 hurricane.


Extreme rain event swales are constructed on six buyout lots in the Cypress Creek watershed.


January 2019


The demolition of Raveneaux’s remaining facilities begins.

The Harris County Flood Control District begins collecting thousands of “notice of voluntary interest” forms from

Harris County approves an agreement with a rm to manage a countywide ood hazard assessment with new rainfall data to produce the county’s most comprehensive set of ood hazard maps.

homeowners interested in home buyouts.

way acquisition and ‹ood plain preservation projects are also ongoing. In May, the HCFCD began demolition at the site of the former Raveneaux Country Club. The HCFCD acquired the property along with 27.6 acres of land for $11.4 million in January 2020 to construct a stormwa- ter detention basin. However, negotiations with the Cypress Forest Public Utility District, which owns the remaining 206 acres of land, stalled in December. Meanwhile, a Cypress Creek study released in January by engineering ™rm Jones & Carter recom- mended 22 stormwater detention basins be added to the watershed. The projects are expected to cost $597.1 million over the next several years, and o‰- cials are working to identify funding sources. The bond also allocated $20 million for a study to determine the feasibility of constructing under- ground tunnels countywide to move stormwater from ‹ood centers to a larger body of water. The HCFCD completed Phase 2 of the study in June and estimated a system of eight tunnels—which would follow Harris County waterways, including Cypress Creek—would cost $30 billion. Innovative solutions If approved by the Texas Legislature, the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force’s proposed drainage dis- trict would be on the ballot for voters in November 2023. The earliest the district could be submitted as legislation for consideration is in the upcoming 88th Texas Legislature, which will start in January. In June, task force President Glenn Wilkerson esti- mated the drainage district’s tax rate would be about $0.10 per $100 valuation. To get the drainage district on the November 2023 ballot, the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force brought its proposal to local representatives. State Rep. Sam Harless, R¢Spring, said in a July 8 email that

November, the

district would use property taxes and government fund-

IMMEDIATE IMPACT Estimates show Hurricane Harvey was the second- costliest hurricane in American history. HURRICANE HARVEY CAUSED: $125 BILLION

ing to help fund the construction of 22 stormwater detention basins recommended for the watershed. “About 10% of … [the] Harris County [population] is in the Cypress Creek watershed,” task force Project Chair Calvin Cobb said. “If you can get all of them involved in some kind of modest tax rate, then you can generate enough money to help with the build- out of these detention sites.” Making progress One of the ™rst projects executed from the 2018 bond was an update of a 2003 regional drainage plan for Cypress Creek. Jim Robertson, who serves on the board of the Cypress Creek Flood Control Coalition, said the local organization advocated for this updated study to re‹ect the present needs of the community. The new study was released in early 2020 and rec- ommended about 8.6 billion gallons of stormwater detention be added to the Cypress Creek watershed. Robertson said funding for these e¨orts was not necessarily included in the bond since the updated study came later, but he was pleased to see $291 mil- lion of the bond set aside for Cypress Creek. “Our view is that Cypress Creek has been under- funded through the decades, … and Cypress Creek did get more funding in the bond issue than histor- ically what we’ve seen,” he said. HCFCD ‹ood mitigation projects underway in the Spring area along Cypress Creek include a $4.4 million project launched in 2020 to restore channel capac- ity along Pillot Gully, which is expected to be com- pleted by December 2024. Maintenance e¨orts along Cypress Creek and its tributaries as well as right of

154,170 ooded homes in Harris County, including

in damage 36 ood- related deaths 600,000 ooded vehicles countywide

9,450 in the Cypress Creek and Little Cypress Creek watersheds


these projects that we’ve been studying and design- ing are going to happen,” Petersen said. Flood mitigation is underway along Cypress Creek with more planned as funding becomes available. To supplement the $2.5 billion in bond funding—which becomes available to the district over time—the HCFCD anticipated receiving an additional $2.5 bil- lion from grants and local partnerships. But in May 2021, the Texas General Land O‰ce excluded Harris County from an expected $1 billion in federal fund- ing, leaving the district with a funding gap. As county ‹ood projects continue, local organiza- tion the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force is trying to speed up the process by creating a drainage dis- trict across the Cypress Creek watershed. If approved by the Texas Legislature in 2023 and by voters next



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