In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, our community has shown the world what it means to be Texas Strong. Last week, I spoke with Mayor Sylvester Turner and others regarding what steps have been taken to address flood mitigation since the hurricane.
Already, Congress has acted to provide $122.9 billion in total funds for disaster mitigation and flood control efforts. This staggering sum, secured by the bipartisan Houston delegation, can be used for both disaster recovery and flood mitigation. My conversation with Mayor Turner was productive, and brought good news! The recent rains demonstrated, once again, that the San Jacinto River (from the 59 bridge all the way to Lake Houston) will continually flood outside of its banks if action is not taken. I am working to ensure that federal money from the recent Hurricane supplemental will be used for this project so that it can begin immediately.
Currently, the City of Houston has excess money left over from FEMA disaster relief. I strongly support the Mayor's decision to put this money towards debris removal from the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston. We are working to ensure that FEMA agrees, as it is considered flood mitigation and part of the disaster recovery process. This is an emergency situation, and quick action is needed. With Hurricane season fast approaching, the time for action is now.
I have been working with the Army Corps of Engineers, San Jacinto River Authority, the Harris County Flood Control District and the City of Houston to ensure this project happens quickly. While the San Jacinto River does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers, they have agreed to the city's request for assistance. On Friday, the Corps placed a boat in the San Jacinto and began a preliminary evaluation of the river. The results of this evaluation are being expedited. Many of the federal environmental requirements will be waived due to the urgent nature of the project. The Army Corps of Engineers has tentatively agreed to begin debris removal from these waterways and have already started evaluating the possibility of dredging. We expect to see the preliminary evaluation results in the next few days.
Addicks/Barker Area Harvey Update
A comprehensive review of the 12 updates regarding the areas surrounding Addicks and Barker Reservoirs can be found on my website. After continually monitoring the recovery process, I believe some of the ideas that must be considered that could help the Bear Creek community are the creation of a third and fourth reservoir, opening the floodgates sooner on Lake Conroe, and Lake Houston, and expanding the capacity of Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Before the latest rain, the City of Houston wisely let water out of Lake Houston. I support the Cities consideration of adding additional gates to Lake Houston.
As detailed plans are formulated for the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston in the coming days, I will continue to keep the community apprised of the details. Moving forward, all communication regarding the Lake Houston area flood control efforts will be sent through a separate email list. Please sign up to receive regular updates related to Lake Houston Flooding Prevention efforts. As always, my office stands ready to help with any specific questions or concerns.
GOD and TEXAS,
Member of Congress