DISASTER & RECOVERY
“Harvey was the most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in United States history, both in scope and peak rainfall amounts.”
– National Hurricane Center, January 25th, 2018
For Texans in the 2nd District, flooding is frequently on our minds. As your Representative, I’ve been focused on two challenges: (1) providing relief to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, and (2) implementing the long-term solutions that will prevent future flooding.
A year ago, I said my role in Congress will be to work with local entities to exert pressure on the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to take action without delay. And we’ve done just that.
While we still have a long way to go to fully recover from Harvey, we’ve made some real progress.
I’ve worked in a bipartisan fashion to get the Administration to release the much-needed $4 billion in federal disaster relief funding for mitigation projects. Those funds are expected to be released in the very near future.
I’ve worked closely with local officials to ensure FEMA approved the Lake Houston Dam Gates project to help manage the flow of water in the San Jacinto watershed. This is an area that suffered some of the worst of Harvey.
Our coalition also convinced the Army Corps of Engineers to not classify Langham Creek as wetlands, so that Harris County Flood Control District could remove the silt to mitigate future flooding.
Another project we’ve had success with is the dredging of the San Jacinto River. It is crucial that it is restored to pre-Harvey conditions. Not only has the Army Corps of Engineers completed much of this, but the Corps extended the project to the confluence of the West Fork of the San Jacinto and Lake Houston. This is a great start, but we cannot forget the East Fork.
In addition to these projects, we’re closely watching the results of two crucial studies: the 216 study led by the Army Corp of Engineers and the San Jacinto Watershed Master Drainage Plan led by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), City of Houston, and Montgomery County.
The 216 study is still under way, but once it is completed we will have a strong understanding of the best ways to mitigate flooding in the Addicks and Cypress Creek.
The San Jacinto Watershed study is also still in the works. The goal of the study is to develop a plan to mitigate flooding for the San Jacinto and 27 of its major tributaries.
Additionally, we are working with the Harris County Flood Control District to ensure that the White Oak, Hunting, and Brays Bayou projects are fully reimbursed under the 211 (f) authority. When completed, these bayous will increase conveyance and mitigate flooding in the future.
I’m proud of the success we’ve seen so far, but we are not finished. Flooding continues to be my number one priority.