FAQ for Clear Creek Federal Project

FAQ for Clear Creek Federal Project

Clear Creek Federal Project FAQ's

Who will benefit from the Clear Creek Federal Project?

When complete, the Clear Creek Federal Project is expected to help reduce the risk of flooding for thousands of homes and businesses within the Clear Creek watershed, primarily between State Highway 288 and Interstate 45. There is a separate but complimentary study currently underway to evaluate and establish a flood risk mitigation plan for the lower portion of the watershed, downstream of FM 1959.

I live downstream of the Clear Creek Federal Project. Does that mean I am going to experience more flooding after the project is complete?

No. The Flood Control District has a “No Adverse Impact” policy, meaning project engineers must ensure that improvements made on one part of the channel will NOT increase flooding on another part of the channel. To account for increased conveyance capacity upstream and to ensure no downstream impacts, the construction of four offline stormwater detention basins in addition to the already included inline basins are concurrently moving forward along Clear Creek: the Reverend William A. Lawson Stormwater Detention Basin (formerly known as the Christia V. Adair or Dagg Stormwater Detention Basin), the Hughes Stormwater Detention Basin and the South Belt Stormwater Detention Basin. The Reverend William A. Lawson and South Belt basins are already under construction. More information and the location of these projects can be found at www.hcfcd.org/ClearCreek.

Will the Clear Creek Federal Project eliminate flooding in Clear Creek?

Although the Clear Creek Federal Project will reduce the risk of flooding along Clear Creek and tributaries, a residual risk of flooding will remain. The Flood Control District recommends that everyone in Harris County and surrounding areas have flood insurance to insure against the possibility of personal and financial loss. Visit www.hcfcd.org/MAAPNext to learn about the Flood Control District’s MAAPNext initiative, which aims to produce Harris County’s most comprehensive and complete set of flood hazard maps and information.

Will the natural appearance of Clear Creek be preserved?

The Flood Control District’s mission is to provide flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. While the exact project plans are still being finalized, the Flood Control District is performing environmental habitat modeling, as well as working with an interagency coordination team (ICT) to design mitigation and planting requirements, which includes but is not limited to rehabilitating existing floodplain forest, reconnecting remnant oxbows, planting native trees, adding a tree buffer zone, maintaining a minimum canopy cover and aggressively removing and treating invasive species.

The ICT membership includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas General Land Office, Brazoria County Drainage District No. 4, the City of Pearland, the Galveston Bay Foundation and the Houston Parks Board.

Will concrete be used in the channel improvements?

Outside of the Mud Gully channel conveyance improvements, along Beamer Road in the Scarsdale Boulevard area, concrete channel lining is not planned for the remaining parts of the Clear Creek Federal Project. However, in some areas where erosion is a concern, limited armoring, such as buried concrete rip rap or limited slope paving around structures such as bridges, could be utilized to prevent further erosion and protect the channel from side slope failure.

Will the main stem of Clear Creek be widened and deepened as part of the project?

It is anticipated that the existing channel will be widened or an additional parallel channel will be constructed in areas where it is best to avoid work in the existing channel. Where work is being performed in the existing channel, work will remain above the ordinary high water mark to minimize environmental impacts and no channel deepening will occur. Any increased flows from channel conveyance improvements will be mitigated by local stormwater detention basins, ensuring no adverse impact.

Is the project design taking the new Atlas 14 rainfall data into consideration?

The project design is not based upon Atlas 14 rainfall standards as it was authorized by the federal government prior to Atlas 14 standards being developed. The design is based upon the 1998 U.S. Geological Survey rainfall standards. The Flood Control District will conduct an analysis of the project design, utilizing the Atlas 14 standards, to identify risks that may remain after project completion.

Will there be any recreational amenities developed as part of this project?

The Flood Control District supports the multi-use of its facilities for recreation and open space, as long as there is a financial partner to build and maintain those amenities, and those activities do not interfere with the property’s primary flood risk reduction purposes.

The City of Pearland is coordinating with the Flood Control District to construct trails along both sides of Clear Creek from FM 521 to FM 1959 once the Clear Creek Federal Project is complete. Visit the City of Pearland's website for the Clear Creek Trail Master Plan.

Will the Flood Control District be exercising eminent domain in our neighborhood?

It is the Flood Control District’s goal to minimize right-of-way acquisition whenever possible, but if it is determined that all or part of a resident’s property will be impacted by the Clear Creek Federal Project, they will be contacted to discuss next steps.

Why have building standards recently changed? Why can’t I build an additional structure on my property? Does this have to do with the Clear Creek Federal Project?

The Harris County Flood Control District does not have regulatory authority over development in Harris County or municipalities. The underlying municipality, such as the City of Houston, Brookside Village or the City of Pearland, or the Harris County Engineering Department for unincorporated Harris County, is the governing jurisdiction for building or development standards.

The Clear Creek Federal Project will not impact a municipality’s regulatory authority over permitting and development within their jurisdiction. Flood risk mitigation projects and floodplain development standards are two completely separate processes and projects do not influence the standards or permitting. However, in order to ensure uniformity across Harris County, the Harris County Commissioners Court approved a measure in May 2020 requiring municipalities to update their minimum floodplain development standards in order to partner with the Flood Control District and pursue joint flood risk reduction projects using dollars from the 2018 Bond Program. The floodplain development standards, using the latest rainfall data, will help ensure that development in one area does not worsen the flooding risk in another area and that taxpayer dollars used for flood risk mitigation projects are used as effectively as possible.

The Flood Control District is in the process of developing Harris County’s most comprehensive and complete set of flood hazard maps to reflect the updated rainfall data. Visit www.hcfcd.org/MAAPNext to learn about the initiative.

For more information about floodplain regulations and development standards in the other counties in the Clear Creek watershed, visit:

• Brazoria County

• Fort Bend County

• Galveston County