Harris County Flood Control District officials recommended $743 million worth of projects for new detention, channel projects and buyouts in the Cypress Creek watershed during its project progress and community engagement meeting Oct. 21.

The meeting, which included a video presentation and a community open house, focused solely on the Cypress Creek watershed and updated residents on two specific projects funded through the bond approved by voters in August 2018: “Regional Drainage Plan and Environment Investigation for Major Tributaries in the Cypress Creek Watershed," or bond project CI-035, CI-35 and CI-020; and “Major Maintenance of Cypress Creek and Tributaries," or Bond Project CI-012.

An identical meeting will be held Oct. 24 from 6-8 p.m. at Houston’s First Baptist Church, located at 11011 Mason Road, Cypress. To view the full presentation, see the video below.

According to the presentation, the Cypress Creek watershed is the largest of Harris County’s 22 main watersheds, covering 267 square miles in Harris and Waller counties, and is the fifth-largest in terms of population.

The area is prone to flooding due to its flat topography and impermeable clay soils. The downstream, eastern portion of the watershed was developed in the 1980s prior to the current understanding of flood plains; thousands of homes were thus built in flood-prone areas.

According to the presentation, the 2018 bond includes $291 million in projects for the Cypress Creek watershed, all of which have been initiated.

Bond projects CI-035, CI-36 and CI-020 update the 2003 Regional Drainage Plan, expand the existing storm water detention basin off Eldridge Road and look at potential storm water detention sites near Cypress Creek and Stuebner Airline Road, respectively.

The results of the feasibility study for this project included recommendations for increasing storm water detention in the watershed by 24,759 acre-feet, which could reduce water height along Cypress Creek between Hwy. 290 and I-45 and remove the 100-year flood plain from hundreds of structures. Another $743 million worth of projects were also recommended—for new detention, channel projects and buyouts along Cypress Creek and its tributaries.

While the bond program does not include enough funding for all of these projects, Flood Control District officials said they intend to get started with preliminary engineering and property acquisition and will seek additional funding thereafter.

Bond Project CI-012 concerns major maintenance along Cypress Creek, which includes removing silt and blockages, repairing erosion, replacing failed outfall pipes, increasing storm water conveyance and returning tributaries to their original design conditions.

According to the presentation, $60 million from the bond is allocated for these efforts, and the Flood Control District is currently surveying the first 24 miles of Cypress Creek, between west of Hwy. 249 and east of the Hardy Toll Road. Construction on this portion of the creek is expected to begin in early 2020, the presentation stated.

Flood Control District officials said next steps include continued surveying, preparing more projects for construction bidding in 2019 and beginning construction in early 2020.

To give feedback on these projects or any other flood bond projects, click here. To request service or report a concern along a Harris County bayou or tributary, click here.