Projects & Studies

Spring Branch Stabilization Project/W140-00-00

The Harris County Flood Control District is committed to keeping residents informed about flood damage reduction studies, projects and maintenance efforts on bayous, creeks and ditches throughout Harris County.

Severe Erosion on Spring Branch Creek

Severe erosion has been occurring along Buffalo Bayou and its tributaries for many years for multiple reasons, and has caused bank failures, loss of public and private land and an adverse effect on water quality.

The Memorial Woods Townhomes complex was constructed in the late 1970s on the banks of Spring Branch, a Buffalo Bayou tributary formally known as HCFCD Unit W140-00-00. For more than 20 years, severe erosion has been occurring along W140-00-00 from Memorial Drive to Chimney Rock Road and is threatening homes in the townhome complex, as well as public infrastructure in the area (such as bridges and utilities).

The Flood Control District and Memorial Woods Townhomes Association have agreed to take steps to work toward the implementation of a project that serves a flood control purpose and addresses the concerns of residents who live and own property in the Memorial Woods Townhomes complex.

About the Project

In April 2012, Harris County Commissioners Court approved a feasibility study that would assess the erosion problems on W140-00-00 and recommend repair alternatives and costs. The effort resulted in the W140-00-00-X005 Channel Stabilization Alternative Summary – Between Memorial Drive and Chimney Rock Road.

The Harris County Flood Control District’s project team evaluated the report and determined that the the recommended alternative would include work along the channel bottom and west channel bank from Memorial Drive to a point approximately 600 feet upstream (near Chimney Rock). Specific project features would be determined during the course of the project design process. Because 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, the proposed construction footprint and access routes will be accommodated by way of a dedication of additional channel right of way from Memorial Drive upstream to Chimney Rock Road.

The Harris County Flood Control District's engineering consultant, Schaumburg & Polk, Inc., launched the design/engineering process in June 2014. Work completed to date includes:

  • Topographical surveying – Surveyors gathered data to determine the boundaries of the Memorial Woods Townhomes Association's property along the proposed W140-00-00 project area.
  • Geotechnical soil sample drilling – Crews drilled soil borings at various locations, and the boring soil samples were analyzed to determine information about the soil's composition in the project area.
  • Existing conditions analysis – Engineering models were used to analyze the W140-00-00 project site's existing hydraulic conditions.

After analyzing the information gathered during these steps in the design/engineering process, the Flood Control District and its consultant team tried to develop an engineering solution that left the townhomes along the creek in place. However, for various reasons it became clear that the need to acquire properties located near the creek's highly eroded bank was inevitable.  The Flood Control District came to the conclusion that the channel stabilization project needed to take a different direction, and that it would pursue the acquisition of the townhomes located closest to the creek that are most vulnerable to the effects of ongoing slope erosion. That right of way is needed to implement a stable, long term solution that is easier to construct and maintain.

Currently, the Flood Control District is moving through initial steps in the right of way acquisition process and will bring a recommendation to Harris County Commissioners Court in the near future. Meanwhile, the Flood Control District's engineering consultant is preparing a revised alternatives analysis report and moving forward with a revised project design.