The Flood Control District’s stated mission is to “provide flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values.” The Flood Control District supports the multi-use of its facilities for recreation and open space, as long as there is a funding partner to build and maintain those amenities, and those activities do not interfere with the property’s primary flood risk reduction purpose.
The Flood Control District’s Policy, Criteria, and Procedure Manual states “The Flood Control District recognizes the opportunities presented by Flood Control District facilities to enhance both community and natural values. Consequently, Flood Control District supports and encourages such multi-use functions as trails, green space, parks, greenway or corridors, stormwater quality facilities, practice fields, and other recreational and natural features provided they are compatible with the primary function of the Flood Control District facility. (See related Policy XIII, Natural Environments and Habitats.)”
It is not part of the Flood Control District mission or enabling legislation to fund recreational amenities. We partner with agencies all over the county who want to fund and maintain trails, ball fields etc. along our bayous or at stormwater detention basin sites. This is a significant benefit to those agencies, because they do not have to spend their money to acquire new park and open space land.
Partner agencies who seek to build/maintain recreational amenities on our flood control property sign a written agreement acknowledging the property’s primary flood control purpose. Meanwhile, the Flood Control District strives to make their job easier by close coordination during the engineering design and construction phases of our projects.
Sometimes, during the project design stage, it is determined that an available site is too small, and the need for flood risk reduction is too great, to allow some of the land to be used for parking lots, ball fields, etc. This is a case-by-case determination.
For those reasons, we can’t make a blanket statement that ALL facilities will have recreational amenities. However, we do support the multi-use of our property, and are willing to work with appropriate sponsors to achieve that goal.
The Flood Control District also has a robust Tree Planting Program, and plants native wildflowers on flood control property. We do this because it provides maintenance benefits, and we conduct the plantings in a way that does not interfere with the property’s primary flood risk reduction purpose. Site beautification is an added benefit, but it is not the primary goal.