Flood control officials aim to shift from passive to aggressive under new project strategy for Cypress Creek

A historically passive approach to flood mitigation along Cypress Creek could be changing as officials with the Harris County Flood Control District work to roll out a new strategy for implementing projects in the area. (Screenshot courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)
A historically passive approach to flood mitigation along Cypress Creek could be changing as officials with the Harris County Flood Control District work to roll out a new strategy for implementing projects in the area. (Screenshot courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)

A historically passive approach to flood mitigation along Cypress Creek could be changing as officials with the Harris County Flood Control District work to roll out a new strategy for implementing projects in the area. (Screenshot courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)

A historically passive approach to flood mitigation along Cypress Creek could be changing as officials with the Harris County Flood Control District work to roll out a new strategy for implementing projects in the area.

At its core, the Cypress Creek Implementation Program is a watershed-wide approach to planning projects and carrying out projects that are already underway, said Jonathan St. Romain, a project manager with the district. A similar approach is being taken in several other watersheds where projects are underway, he said, including Cedar Bayou and Halls Bayou.

"Before the bond program, we would tackle things at an individual project level," St. Romain said. "Now we're trying to take a more holistic approach. That helps with efficiency, to look at things with a broader view."

In the past, the district's efforts in Cypress Creek were mostly focused on acquiring land adjacent to Cypress Creek to prevent development, St. Romain said. In a flood control bond referendum passed in 2018 in response to Hurricane Harvey, a little under $300 million in local money was dedicated to projects in the Cypress Creek watershed. The biggest chunk of money—$100 million—was dedicated specifically to right of way acquisition, while the next three largest funding areas were creek maintenance, home buyouts and drainage, which netted $60 million, $47 million and $34 million, respectively.

Although land acquisition efforts have been successful to a degree, St. Romain said the new approach involves using that land for additional flood control measures that could provide regional benefits on a shorter timeline, including detention basins and channel improvements.


A Cypress Creek watershed study updated in February found flooding along Cypress Creek tributaries was predominately caused by stormwater from Cypress Creek backing up into tributaries. This, St. Romain said, indicates that stormwater detention basins on the creek could be a viable way to reduce that flooding.

"The watershed master plan update is sort of the starting point for this implementation plan," he said. "The implementation plan transitions us from this more passive approach of flood plain preservation to a more aggressive approach to actually try to reduce the severity of flooding."

Only one new basin has been officially approved so far and is still in the early stages, St. Romain said, but more are likely to launched. A 171.5-acre basin is in the planning phase at T.C. Jester and Cypress Creek, near Cypresswood Drive, and another potential basin is being investigated east of the Hardy Toll Road, he said. The district is awaiting the results of the grant application before deciding whether to move forward on the latter basin, St. Romain said.

Two other specific sites had their own investigations funded with 2018 bond money: one new basin at Cypress Creek and Steubner Airline Road and one existing basin that could be expanded at Cypress Creek and North Eldridge Parkway. Both projects were recommended for funding in the February tributary study.

"We look at all of the potential properties up along Cypress Creek and essentially develop or build this roadmap for what we can do in the Cypress Creek watershed over the next five, 10, 15 years," St. Romain said.

The TC Jester basin and potential future basins will likely be funded through a mix of flood control district dollars and federal grants, St. Romain said. Read more about the implementation program and find updates on Cypress Creek flood control projects here.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston region in 2017. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
How Harris County residents can prepare for hurricane season

After the most active hurricane season on record in 2020, Harris County officials said residents should be prepared for the upcoming season starting June 1.

More than 385,600 vaccine doses have been administered in the Cy-Fair area. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
22% of Cy-Fair residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19

As of April 19, about 385,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to individuals across the 10 ZIP codes within Cy-Fair ISD’s boundaries, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at an April 19 press conference at a mass-vaccination site at NRG Park. (Screenshot courtesy Facebook Live).
Harris County accepting walk-ins for vaccine at NRG Park

As demand for vaccines has fallen, officials are looking for ways to make them more accessible.

Cy-Fair ISD's mask mandate is set to end June 7. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
End in sight for Cy-Fair ISD's mask mandate, future of virtual learning still uncertain

Superintendent Mark Henry released a statement about the future of the district's mask mandate and virtual learning option.

More COVID-19 cases were confirmed last week in Cy-Fair ISD. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
78 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Cy-Fair ISD schools April 12-18

The district saw about a 9% decrease in new cases confirmed over the previous week.

Early voting runs April 19-27 with the election on May 1. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
See what is on the ballot for May 1 elections in Cy-Fair

April 19 marks the first day of early voting for May 1 elections.

Vaccinations at any of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic's 26 Greater Houston-area locations are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment only at no cost to the individual or family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Houston-based Kelsey-Seybold Clinic expands vaccine eligibility to age 16 and older

Vaccinations at any of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic's 26 Greater Houston-area locations are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment only at no cost to the individual or family.

Harris County residents seeking a COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be required to sign up for a waitlist effective immediately. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
COVID-19 vaccines now available on demand in Harris County

The announcement comes as officials say vaccine demand is falling and will soon be in line with supply for the first time.

Customers can find baked goods and more at The Chef's Bag. (Courtesy The Chef's Bag)
The Chef’s Bag market now offering locally made products in Cy-Fair

Chefs Jennifer Burnett and Kevin Mason recently opened a market where community members can purchase products made by local chefs.

Costco Business Centers, of which there are only about 15 in the country, carry different products and provide a different shopping experience to members than do traditional Costco Wholesale stores. (Courtesy Costco Wholesale)
Costco Business Center being built in Stafford; see live music in The Woodlands and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the Houston area from the past week.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

A grand opening for the local drive-thru coffee spot Mudslinger's has been set for the end of April. (Courtesy Facebook)
Grand opening for Mudslinger's coffee shop set for weekend of April 30

The locally-owned, drive-thru coffee shop will serve specialty coffee, tea, infused energy drinks and breakfast/pastry items.