Drainage update: Clear Creek detention projects nearly done; Friendswood agrees to basin in 1776 park

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Drainage improvements are underway in the area, across multiple flood control and drainage districts. Here are four updates for October 2018.

Current projects

Clear Creek

  1. Phase 1 of the Mud Gully and South Belt stormwater detention basin on the northern edge of Friendswood is complete, and Phase 2 was 90 percent complete as of Sept. 25, officials said. The two phases have created 497 million gallons of runoff storage. There are plans for a third basin in the federal Clear Creek flood mitigation project, but a timeline has not been set.

Timeline: September 2014-October 2018
Cost: $20 million
Funding sources: Harris County Flood Control District, Galveston County

2. Phase 2 of a Clear Creek selective clearing project wrapped up in August, and a third phase is now underway at a cost of about $350,000 and will take three to four months. Crews are working to clear debris along 3,500 feet downstream to improve the flow of water. There are five total phases planned along the creek in Friendswood. After the clearing work, crews will then shelve the creek walls—leveling them to the high-water mark—to create in-line detention.

Timeline: December 2017-TBD
Cost: $350,000
Funding sources: Galveston County Consolidated Drainage District, city of Friendswood

Mary’s Creek

3. A slope paving project began in May along the walls of the creek near Village Green. Concrete slopes prevent erosion and keep the creek walls from destabilizing during high-water events.

Timeline: May 2018-January 2019
Cost: $450,000
Funding source: Galveston County Consolidated Drainage District

Future Project

4. The city of Friendswood approved an agreement Sept. 10 with the GCCDD to turn 20 acres of former buyout property inside 1776 Memorial Park into a new detention basin where Mary’s and Clear creeks converge. The project is in the early design phase but could be as much as 250-acre-foot basin, capable of diverting 81 million gallons of stormwater. As part of the agreement, the city will reinstall park improvements and maintain the park as usual after the basin is excavated.

Timeline: TBD
Cost: TBD
Funding source: TBD

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COMMENT
  1. The article is accurate, but there is more to the story: None of these measures are for a multi-day tropical storm or hurricane like Harvey, Allison or Claudette which happen twice before you pay off your first mortgage. Mud Gully and South Belt Detention is designed to slow the flow of 13 inches of rain for 1 day on 5,000 acres. In contrast, storms like Harvey, Allison and Claudette rain that much or more each day for multiple days on 20 times that many acres that drain rain water to Clear Creek in Friendswood. Detention is a delay strategy, but unless it matches the storm size and duration, it can be the same as doing nothing. Mary’s Creek slope paving is a conveyance increase into Clear Creek in Friendswood which backs up and floods homes. The 1776 Park location for detention would need to be sized for 870 million gallons for the 50,000 acres that drain there, whereas the proposed pond has a capacity of only 81 million gallons. Due to the size and location mismatch, the 1776 project literally does the same as digging a hole and filling it with dirt for the type of storm we are concerned about. More devastating is that the pond slows water down where we need to move water out to save homes.

    Clear Creek in Friendswood floods catastrophically because inflow exceeds outflow. The agreements made by politicians between cities keep us from moving flood water downstream but there is not enough real estate to contain the flood waters in our cities. If we are not moving water more efficiently to the ocean, then we are only sloshing it around in a closed system making some places better while making other places worse.

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Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018. A graduate of the University of Houston, Matt was most recently the director of community outreach and engagement at the Columbia Missourian and a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.
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