Public Flood Planning Meeting May 18

Regional Group Seeks Public Comments

Plus Meeting May 13 to Consider New Members

May 12, 2021

Updated May 17, 2021

The San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group is inviting the public to contribute comments about regional flood planning at a virtual meeting Tuesday, May 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The purpose of the meeting is to “gather community concerns to aid with the development of the regional flood plan,” according to an announcement.

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), which now appears to have only two members, has divided the state into fifteen groups based on river basins in order to develop regional plans to reduce flood risk, as required by the state legislature in 2019. The San Jacinto group is Region 6.

The deadline to deliver the draft regional flood plan to the TWDB is Aug. 1, 2022. The groups must then deliver regional flood plans to the TWDB on January 10, 2023, and every five years thereafter. The state flood plan, to be based on adopted regional plans, must be prepared and adopted by the TWDB by September 1, 2024, and every five years thereafter.

The state board is also charged with administering the Flood Infrastructure Fund, which will be used to finance flood-related projects.

Here is how you can find out more about the Water Development Board and the regional flood planning groups.

Register in advance at http://hcfcd.org/regfloodplan to join the San Jacinto regional meeting on May 18.

Find the meeting notice and agenda here.

If you wish to provide written comments prior to or after the meeting, email your comments to SanJacFldPG@eng.hctx.net and include “Region 6 Flood Planning Group: Pre-Planning Meeting” in the subject line of the email.

Here is background on the May 18 public meeting, the San Jacinto region and the voting and non-voting members of the group.

Update May 17: Board Selects Technical Consultants, Presents Draft Drainage Plan at May 13 Meeting

At its regular virtual meeting May 13, the board of the San Jacinto group revealed that the Freese and Nichols engineering firm had been selected as the technical consultants for the regional flood planning effort.

They also selected Galveston City Manager Brian Maxwell for the new Coastal Communities position and Christina Quintero for the Public Position.

The group received a presentation on the San Jacinto River Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan.

As the outgoing representative for Environmental Interests, Sarah Bernhardt pointed out that the drainage plan is heavy on channelizing streams, which has been shown to increase rather than reduce flooding.

Presenter Andrew Moore responded that the channelized streams would be lined with grass rather than concrete. However, they would still be streams stripped and excavated to increase the flow, which is what causes flooding.

Here is how to submit a comment to Harris County Flood Control about the proposed master drainage plan.

Elisa Donovan, who represents agricultural interests, questioned the definition of “nature-based solutions” in the technical guidelines recently released by the Texas Water Development Board.

She also pointed out that berms and levees were not a benefit to agricultural interests and that agricultural lands should remain agricultural.

Bernhardt is the outgoing chief executive officer of the Bayou Preservation Association. The public has until May 28 to nominate someone to take her place as a voting member representing Environmental Interests on the San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning board.

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Regular Meeting to Consider New Voting Members

The San Jacinto group is also holding a regular virtual meeting Thursday, May 13, at 9 a.m. The meeting will address recommendations for the new voting positions representing Public and Coastal Communities. Find meeting materials here.

Register at https://bit.ly/3tigMgp prior to the meeting for login information.

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Graphic courtesy of the Texas Water Development Board

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