Severe erosion has been occurring along Buffalo Bayou and its tributaries for many years for multiple reasons, causing bank failures, loss of public and private land, and adverse effects on water quality.
The Harris County Flood Control District is taking steps to repair severe erosion and stabilize the banks of Spring Branch Creek, a tributary of Buffalo Bayou formally identified as HCFCD Unit W140-00-00, between Memorial Drive and Chimney Rock Road.
In April 2012, Harris County Commissioners Court approved a feasibility study to assess erosion problems on W140-00-00 and recommend repair alternatives. The study was requested by residents along this part of Spring Branch Creek, including homeowners in the Memorial Wood Townhomes complex. Several homes in the complex, along with public infrastructure such as bridges and utilities, were threatened by the severe erosion. The Flood Control District’s project team evaluated the study report, identified a preliminary project to address the erosion, began topographical and geotechnical surveys, and used engineering models to analyze the existing hydraulic conditions of the project site.
The Flood Control District has limited right-of-way along W140-00-00 between Memorial and Chimney Rock, and is not authorized by law to spend public funds on private property. After analyzing information gathered during initial design and engineering steps, the Flood Control District and its consultant team determined a need to acquire properties located near the creek's highly eroded bank. The Flood Control District subsequently acquired and demolished several townhomes located closest to the creek that were most vulnerable to the effects of ongoing slope erosion. Harris County worked with homeowners on individual relocation plans.
In 2019, the Flood Control District is taking steps to initiate design of a project to stabilize the banks of Spring Branch Creek, given the available right-of-way, potential construction access, and budget priorities.