Benefits of Flood Damage Reduction
Lower Flood Insurance Rates
The recently completed Sims Bayou Federal Flood Risk Management Project provides a “mega-example” of how flood damage reduction projects can result in lower flood insurance rates for thousands of Harris County residents by removing the 1 percent (100-year) floodplain designation from their property.
This mega-project, completed in 2015, included 19.3 miles of bayou enlargements along Sims Bayou and the replacement or modification of 22 bridges. In addition, the Harris County Flood Control District used local funds to construct three stormwater detention basins along Sims Bayou.
Flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs or floodplain maps) for Harris County were updated during the course of the project by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reflect the benefits of completed Sims project components from the Houston Ship Channel to downstream of Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. Hundreds of property owners in that part of the 94-square-mile Sims Bayou watershed saw significant reductions in their flood insurance rates.
Effective May 18, 2016, FEMA revised the floodplain boundaries again, this time to reflect the benefits of Sims project components from downstream of Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to downstream of Carlsbad Street. This revision resulted in removal of the floodplain designation from approximately 4,400 additional homes and businesses in the Sims Bayou watershed.
FEMA’s process for revising floodplain maps is detailed and can take several years. It is an important step in achieving the full benefits of flood damage reduction projects planned and built in Harris County. Everyone in Harris County needs flood insurance!
Other recent examples include:
Effective November 4, 2016, floodplain maps were revised to reflect benefits of the $23.7 million Vogel Creek Channel Conveyance Improvements Project, designed to reduce flooding risks along Vogel Creek (HCFCD Unit E121-00-00). Completed in June 2008, the project widened and deepened nearly 8,300 feet of Vogel Creek from its confluence with White Oak Bayou to Arncliffe Drive.
The maps were revised to show that the mapped 1 percent (100-year) floodplain along Vogel Creek is now contained within the channel from about Breen Road down to the backwater of White Oak Bayou. In that reach, the floodplain was removed from more than 1,000 structures within more than 800 properties.
White Oak Bayou
Though an effective date has not yet been set, the White Oak Bayou Risk MAP study will update the floodplain maps to reflect the benefits of local and federal flood reduction projects completed along White Oak Bayou. These projects include channel conveyance improvements, stormwater detention basins, and the E200-00-00 Bypass Channel in Jersey Village. The results of the draft mapping submitted to FEMA indicate that the 1% annual chance floodplain designation will be removed from approximately 2,000 homes and businesses.