On August 12, 2021, the West Houston Association brought together leaders from the private and public sectors to discuss flood control challenges facing the region at the federal, state, and local levels. The forum included a series of presentations by Andrew Weber (US Army Corps of Engineers), Kathleen Jackson (Texas Water Development Board), and Johnathan St. Romain (Harris County Flood Control District). The event was moderated by Tim Buscha (IDS Engineering) and the Chair of WHA’s Flood Control and Drainage Committee.
Kathleen Jackson kicked off the forum discussing how funding authorized by the 86th Texas Legislative session have been used to date. She noted that 110 projects have been committed to, totaling $311,493,625 in state funding dedicated to working on flood related challenges throughout the state with numerous projects happening locally in Harris and Fort Bend counties. Emphasizing the importance of properly funding projects, she noted, “what happens upstream effects those downstream.”
Andrew Weber updated the audience on the US Army Corps of Engineers’ activities within Addicks and Barker reservoir projects, in particular the Dam Construction Mega Project. Weber informed the audience that construction involving the Addicks and Barker Dams was completed in December of 2020 and environmental mitigation is currently underway. As the project manager overseeing the Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resiliency Study, he shared details on the history of BBTRS as well as next steps with the project. The West Houston Association through Houston Stronger provided commentary on the BBTRS Interim Report and continues to work with the USACE towards better flood control solutions.
Johnathan St. Romain wrapped up the forum discussing multiple projects the Harris County Flood Control District is working on in the West Houston region. Specifically, he detailed the channel rehab projects upstream and within Addicks and Barker, and the asks for federal funds to aid the rehabilitation of the drainage area. Additionally, he discussed some upcoming detention projects including Clay @ Grand Parkway and Dinner Creek, as well as the Upper Langham Creek and Little Cypress Creek Frontier programs.
At the end of the program, each of the speakers noted that WHA members could help by keeping the conversations about flood alive and keep actively engaging in discussions like these about flood control and drainage issues. WHA is committed to working on flood control challenges and identifying new opportunities to increasing flood resilience across the Greater West Houston region.