Projects & Studies

Harris County Flood Control District Completes Major Restoration Project on Carpenters Bayou

In 2013, the Harris County Flood Control District completed the Carpenters Bayou Restoration Project, a major maintenance project to repair bank failures and erosion on Carpenters Bayou in east Harris County.

The project was designed to stabilize the bayou in the Channelwood subdivision, where significant erosion had degraded the bayou slopes over several decades. Erosion is caused by a combination of poor soils and the movement of stormwater in the bayou. Slope failures restricted the Flood Control District’s access to perform maintenance at certain locations, and encroached into the backyards of some adjacent properties along what had been a sharp bend in the bayou upstream of Woodford Drive.

The $3 million project realigned the bayou for a gentler curve between Woodforest Boulevard and Woodford Drive, paralleling Overbluff Drive, and provided for improved maintenance access. Project costs included right of way acquisition involving 14 tracts of land totaling approximately 6 acres. This included the purchase of six full residential lots with homes. During the project, the Flood Control District provided relocation assistance for those whose homes were acquired and demolished.

Project costs also included an approximately $1.6 million construction contract with Serco Construction Group Ltd. Work began in July 2012 and was completed in October 2013.

The project restores the stormwater-carrying capacity of this section of Carpenters Bayou. It will not increase the risk of flooding for residents living in the project area.

As part of its work, the Flood Control District removed numerous encroachments (mainly fences) on its right of way; buried riprap (rocks or chunks of concrete) upstream of Woodford Drive to help armor the slopes; and repaired eroded and uneven side slopes along the entire project limits. Workers also replaced damaged stormwater outfall pipes and constructed interceptor swales along the top of the channel slopes. These swales, or shallow ditches, direct the flow of overland stormwater into the channel to prevent further erosion.

In the final stages of the project, the Flood Control District planted grass to help anchor the soil.

The completed project also provides opportunities for Open Space agreements between nearby residents and the Flood Control District. Open Space agreements allow residents or civic associations to “adopt” Flood Control District-owned vacant lots for maintenance or landscaping, or to use the land for individual gardens, recreation and other non-structural purposes. Flood Control District buyout lots are mowed eight times per year.