T.C. Jester Stormwater Detention Basin K500-23-00

T.C. Jester Stormwater Detention Basin K500-23-00
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Special Note

Starting on November 18, 2020, the Flood Control District began an Excavation and Removal (E&R) project on property west of T.C. Jester Boulevard, south of Cypresswood Drive. This property is now an active construction zone for the extent of the contract, which could be up to three years.

The work involves heavy machinery and will include clearing multiple paths for the crews and equipment to access the work site, as well as excavation and removal of as much as 300,000 cubic yards of soil and other material. The work will impact footpaths and bike trails throughout the property as well as closing the construction zone to visitors, for their safety and the safety of work crews.

Physical barriers and safety signage alerting visitors to the closure of this property are up at access points, and will be added as needed. Residents are asked to follow all posted signage and remain clear of the construction zone. Violators will be prosecuted.

Recent Actions

September 14, 2021 – Harris County Commissioners Court has accepted the Preliminary Engineering Report for this project.

September 15, 2020 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized a $1,225 agreement for preliminary excavation of the T.C. Jester Stormwater Detention Basin west of T.C. Jester Boulevard.

April 21, 2020 - Initial cultural and environmental assessments completed.

April 6, 2020 - Temporary closures for construction safety reasons begin as part of additional environmental assessments of the future basin site.

March 10, 2020 - Harris County Commissioners Court authorized negotiations with an engineering firm for preliminary engineering in support of this project.

March 2020 - Additional environmental assessments began on the site.

December 17, 2019 - Harris County Commissioners Court authorized and initiated this project, and added the Unit Number K500-23-00 to the Flood Control District’s stormwater management system.

November 2019 - Wetlands identified and mapped; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers verification ongoing; habitat evaluated to determine the potential for protected species.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

This project will develop two related stormwater detention basin compartments on approximately 171.5 acres of Flood Control District-owned property on Cypress Creek, south of Cypresswood Drive on either side of T.C. Jester Boulevard.

The purpose of these projects is to construct stormwater detention on the main stem of Cypress Creek, which will work to reduce flooding risks and damages during heavy rain events by safely storing excess stormwater and slowly releasing it back to the creek when the threat of flooding has passed.

These are among multiple stormwater detention projects the Flood Control District is developing in the Cypress Creek watershed. A regional drainage study for the watershed found that flooding along tributaries of Cypress Creek is predominately caused by stormwater from a rising Cypress Creek backing up into tributaries, rather than a lack of sufficient stormwater conveyance/drainage capacity on the tributaries themselves. Therefore, stormwater detention basins could be a beneficial project to reduce that backwater issue.

The regional drainage study described here recommends nearly 25,000 acre-feet of additional stormwater detention in the watershed. (Link to www.hcfcd.org/CI-035).

There are separate plans for portions of the property west and east of T.C. Jester Boulevard. These plans would run on different timelines, with different activities in each area. Progress on these plans is contingent on available funding and Harris County Commissioners Court approval at various stages of the project lifecycle. The pages below have specific details about each of the proposed projects:

West of T.C. Jester Boulevard

K-500-23-00-E001

East of T.C. Jester Boulevard

K-500-23-00-E002

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns the property south of Cypresswood Drive at T.C. Jester Boulevard on Cypress Creek?

The Harris County Flood Control District acquired this property for floodplain preservation (to avoid it being commercially developed) and for future flood risk reduction projects.

Why has it not been developed for flood risk reduction until now?

The Flood Control District’s first priority was to acquire this property, which borders on Cypress Creek, and preserve it from development. The 2018 Bond Program provided new funding for flood risk reduction, freeing up local capital funding for preliminary engineering and design of this project while the Flood Control District also pursues additional partnership funding opportunities.

The property currently includes off-road bike trails and other features. What will happen to those?

There is no existing written agreement for use of this property by any other group or agency. The property was purchased with tax dollars for flood risk reduction purposes. The Flood Control District intends to design and build a much-needed stormwater detention basin on this property. The Flood Control District’s mission does not include recreation. However, the Flood Control District supports the multi-use of its property for recreational and other compatible uses, when appropriate, and works frequently with third-party sponsors who want to finance and maintain those amenities while maximizing the property’s primary flood risk reduction purpose.

Activities during preliminary engineering, design and construction will likely require closing and/or clearing various portions of the property of trees, vegetation and any encroaching structures. Because those activities often require the use of heavy equipment, portions of the property would be closed as needed to public access.

The Flood Control District is open to discussions with third-party sponsors who wish to build or rebuild compatible recreational amenities on the property, post-construction. The Flood Control District has briefed the Greater Houston Off-Road Bicycling Association on its plans and encouraged the group to communicate its desires for including recreational amenities that are compatible with the property’s primary flood risk reduction purpose.

What will the basin look like?

Major features of the future basin will be evaluated during the Preliminary Engineering stage, which began in May 2020 for the property east of T.C. Jester. During this stage, the Flood Control District will present the results of the preliminary engineering during a Community Engagement Meeting with the public and consider comments and suggestions from the public about the project. Following the Community Engagement Meeting, input from the public will be considered, and a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) that recommends one alternative for design will be presented to Harris County Commissioners Court.

Among questions to be answered that could affect the final basin design:

  • What streams, wetlands and other sensitive areas must be protected and avoided in the future design of this project, in accordance with federal environmental regulations?
  • What utilities cross the property and what are the costs and benefits of avoiding or relocating those utilities?
  • Do natural (hydrologic/hydraulic) conditions of the property require that the basin be designed as dry most of the time, or can it be designed with permanent pools that can help maximize the capacity of the basin to hold stormwater, and help improve stormwater quality?
  • Given those restraints and considerations, what stormwater detention basin footprint and design would bring the maximum benefits in flood risk reduction?
  • What post-construction reforestation will be recommended?

Community Engagement Meeting

The Harris County Flood Control District held a virtual Community Engagement Meeting for the T.C. Jester Stormwater Detention Basin project in the Cypress Creek Watershed.

Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Public Information Session

The T.C. Jester Stormwater Detention Basin and the Westador Stormwater Detention Basin are both included in applications for federal funding through the Community Development Block Grant for Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Program. A virtual Public Information Session to discuss both projects was held on:

Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The official public comment period for the CDBG-MIT applications will be open from October 3 – October 16, 2020. We encourage residents to learn more about the application process, submit a comment and view the meeting presentation and video: