As part of a nearly $17.4 billion federal funding package for disaster recovery, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will complete a decades-old project to improve drainage throughout the Clear Creek watershed, the Corps announced today.
The project was one of many recovery-related projects in line for funding under a bill that was signed into law Feb. 9, but it had not yet been clear which would move forward.
Over $295 million has been specifically set aside for Clear Creek in the plan announced July 5.
"Projects like Clear Creek will prevent thousands of homes from potential future flooding. I thank the Army Corps for recognizing the importance of these projects to the Houston region," Rep. Pete Olson, R-Pearland, said in a release. "I’m glad we can finally begin work on these critical projects to keep folks safe and prevent future flooding damage.”
The project may also rely on local funding partners, including the Harris County Flood Control District, which is asking for $70 million of an upcoming county bond election to go toward Clear Creek. As originally proposed, the project would cost $249 million, with 39 percent coming from local jurisdictions, including Harris County Flood Control District, Galveston County Consolidated Drainage District and Brazoria County Drainage District No. 4.
The project, last updated in 2012, calls for channel improvements along Clear Creek, Mud Gully, Mary's Creek and Turkey Creek. The majority of the construction is along the Brazoria-Harris county portions of the creek, but just because construction is done upstream does not mean there are no benefits downstream, said Karen Hastings, a communications coordinator for the Harris County Flood Control District.
"There are flood risk reductions downstream of Dixie Farm Road along Clear Creek due to the proposed inline detention upstream and work on Mud Gully and Turkey Creek," Hastings said. "In addition, the project was limited downstream of Dixie Farm Road because of the high environmental impact mitigation costs of any channel work, since Clear Creek is a natural channel and protected by federal law."
The corps estimates 2,000 homes will be removed from the 100-year flood plain and another 3,000 will be removed from the 500-year flood plain as a result of the project, resulting in $20 million a year in annual savings from reduced damages.
To complete all of the improvements, the project was expected take 10 years, but officials with the Corps say that with the new funds coming, it can be expedited.
“This secured funding will allow us to complete these projects in a much shorter timeframe—as compared to the uncertainty of annual appropriations—and will reduce flood risks for thousands of Harris County residents,” said Russ Poppe, executive director of the Harris County Flood Control District.
Clear Creek federal project briefing
Explore details of the Clear Creek Federal Flood Risk Management project below.