Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced July 5 plans to spend roughly $17.4 billion in money allocated by the U.S. Congress for recovery efforts in areas hit by disasters in 2017, including about $5 billion for Texas.
About $45 million of that funding will go toward the long-awaited completion of a widening project for the White Oak Bayou.
Work on the project—officially called the White Oak Bayou Federal Flood Damage Reduction Project—started in 1998, but has been stalled for the last few years due to a lack of funding. In March, Harris County moved forward with its own efforts to advance the final phase of the project—between FM 1960 and Tidwell Road—with hopes that the Army Corps would follow up with additional funding.
At the time, officials in the city of Jersey Village advocated for the project, saying that it represented a major improvement identified in the city’s own flood recovery plan that was adopted in 2017.
Harris County began negotiations for engineering services on the project in March. The design and construction process could each take a year to complete, county officials said at the time.
Additional federal money has been dedicated to the widening of Brays Bayou, Hunting Bayou and Clear Creek, all projects that were already underway but in need of funding to continue. The bulk of the $5 billion is set aside for coastal protection projects between Port Arthur and Galveston Bay.
Following the announcement, U.S. Rep. John Culberson, who represents District 7 in Texas and serves on the House Appropriations Committee, released a statement that said the funding will allow the bayou widening projects to be finished at full federal expense.
“The funding will allow for Brays Bayou, Hunting Bayou, Clear Creek, and White Oak Bayou in Harris County to be finished at full federal expense,” he said. “Nearly $4 billion of construction funding is also included for the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay project, an important step in developing a comprehensive coastal spine to protect the Texas coast.”
The Army Corps will also fund several studies, including a Houston Regional Watershed Assessment, which will cost about $3 million. A full breakdown of the funding for Texas can be found below:
- Brays Bayou: $75 million
- Clear Creek: $295.17 million
- Hunting Bayou: $65 million
- White Oak Bayou: $45 million
- Buffalo Bayou and tributaries: $1.45 million
- Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay: $3.96 billion
- Dallas floodway extension: $53 million
- Dallas floodway: $222.91 million
- Lewisville Dam: $91.96 million
- Lower Colorado River Phase 1: $73.29 million
- Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resiliency Study: $6 million
- Houston Regional Watershed Assessment: $3 million
- Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study: $1.9 million
- Brazos River in Fort Bend County Study: $3 million
- Guadalupe and San Antonio River Basins Study: $3 million