Airboats, Barges, Chainsaws Signal Progress in Restoring Buffalo Bayou Stormwater Conveyance
Flooding from Hurricane Harvey has generated massive amounts of debris in Buffalo Bayou, causing multiple points of blockage from State Highway 6 to the downtown area. The Harris County Flood Control District has begun debris removal in this area, now that lower bayou stormwater levels allow for safe assessment and maintenance activities.
This work requires the use of airboats, barges and heavy equipment to remove downed trees and other debris from the channel, stockpile it temporarily on the banks, and transport it to an appropriate disposal site. Channel obstructions – more than 12,100 cubic yards of storm debris are estimated to be in this bayou – can restrict stormwater flow.
The Flood Control District has authority to remove obstructions from Harris County bayous, creeks and other drainage channels; however, the Flood Control District has limited property rights along Buffalo Bayou. The Flood Control District will use its existing maintenance access at Willowend Drive to launch barges and other equipment and is working to create additional access points on property it owns.The Flood Control District also is working with adjacent public agencies and private property owners to establish multiple temporary bayou access points, as needed, as well as to secure suitable debris staging areas.
- Noise and vibrations from airboats and chainsaws, as well as dust and various odors, will accompany debris removal work over several weeks.
- While the intent is to transport stockpiled channel debris as quickly as possible, some stockpiled debris could remain in some locations overnight or for several days.
- Trails will remain open as public safety allows. Trail users are asked to observe all warning signs and fencing in debris removal work areas.
- Motorists are urged to be cautious of equipment entering and exiting debris removal areas.
- No single access point will be used for the entire operation and the number of loads hauled from any one point will be limited to the amount of debris found in that area. Haul trucks consist of one ton pick-up trucks with an attached trailer capable of hauling 40-50 cubic yards per load.
- The Flood Control District is documenting site conditions before, during, and after use of each access point; the contractor is responsible for clean-up and repair of any damages. Mud or debris found on the streets will be cleaned up immediately.
- Debris hauling operations are limited to Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; no hauling will be allowed on weekends or over any holiday.