ENVIRONMENT Task force to target Cypress Creek ood mitigation with drainage district
BY EMILY LINCKE The Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force is seeking to speed up ood mitigation eorts along Cypress Creek by creating a drainage district by June, should Texas legislators approve the idea. “The creation of the special district would enable us to seek state funding and federal funding for ood control eorts,” said Glenn Wilkerson, pres- ident of the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force, a local organization made up of community leaders. “Right now, we have no voice to help us do that, so the creation of this district is desperately needed.” The Cypress Creek watershed has a history of ooding with 29.3 inches of rainfall received and 9,450 homes ooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, according to the Harris County Flood Control District. Flooding events such as Harvey have sparked eorts to mitigate ooding, such as the task force’s proposed drainage district. Since the communities along Cypress Creek in the Cy-Fair and Spring areas are largely within unin- corporated Harris County, there is no central government entity to assist with these funding eorts. The district would be led by a board of directors who would decide what ood mitigation eorts to pursue along the Cypress Creek watershed, Wilker- son said. Before the district can be cre- ated, however, it must be led in a bill proposed by a local legislator. The task force has been working with state Rep. Sam Harless, RSpring, to le the legislation to create the drainage district.
SPEAKING UP FOR CYPRESS CREEK
The Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force’s proposed drainage district would cover the Cypress Creek watershed in areas excluding the Willowbrook community and the cities of Waller, Tomball and Prairie View.
Proposed drainage district
Little Cypress Creek
THE DRAINAGE DISTRICT EXPLAINED What would the Cypress Creek drainage district do? It would pursue ood mitigation projects along the Cypress Creek watershed. How will the district be created? A local legislator would le a bill that would be approved this session. Q: A: Q: A:
Who would run the district? A temporary board of directors. A permanent board will be up for election as soon as November. How would the district be funded? The permanent board would determine this once elected. What is the soonest the district could be created? After the November election
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SOURCES: CYPRESS CREEK FLOODING TASK FORCE, HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT
Moving toward change If the legislation to create the task force’s drainage district is led and passed by the Texas Legislature, the bill would go before Gov. Greg Abbott for approval in June. The bill would create a temporary board of directors for the district, Wilk- erson said. The temporary board would then call a districtwide election as soon as November for the community
to vote on a permanent board of direc- tors and “conrm the creation of the special district,” he added. The task force’s initial plan was to have a local legislator le a bill directly giving the drainage district taxation powers if approved by voters in an election. However, this idea has since been scrapped, Wilkerson said. “The purpose of the legislation the task force is proposing is to create a
“I certainly am interested in [the drainage district], but I want to make sure that there’s not a tax increase on my constituents or that there’s not a bond proposed,” Harless said Nov. 23. As of press time on Jan. 25, Harless had not yet led the bill. March 10 is the deadline for legislation to be led for the ongoing legislative session, which began Jan. 10 and will end May 29.
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