The Harris County Flood Control District is scheduled to begin construction in early April on a project to add linear stormwater detention along the south bank of Buffalo Bayou within Terry Hershey Park, between Eldridge Parkway and Dairy Ashford Road. Notification signs about the upcoming construction and related temporary park closures went up March 19 in the project area.
This project – which will construct three additional compartments similar to those on the north bank of Buffalo Bayou – is the first phase of a multi-phase project to add linear stormwater detention in multiple locations between State Highway 6 and the Sam Houston Tollway, on property owned by the Flood Control District and managed as a recreational area by Harris County Precinct 3.
Linear stormwater detention compartments, which resemble gently sloped vegetated areas, are normally dry, but provide storage for stormwater during periods of heavy rain. The stormwater drains back to the bayou when bayou water levels recede. While these compartments by themselves would not have prevented flooding as significant as experienced during Hurricane Harvey, they are one part of the Flood Control District’s overall plan for reducing flood risks in the Buffalo Bayou watershed and countywide. The City of Houston is also contributing $1 million to the project, which will provide mitigation for the city’s neighborhood drainage improvements.
This area was hit hard by flooding during Hurricane Harvey. During an on-line survey conducted in 2018, 68 percent of respondents listed flood risk reduction as their highest priority in connection with this project. Other survey options included “protecting forests” and “recreational amenities.” More than 900 people from the project area participated in the survey.
The first phase of project construction will be site preparation to mark and protect vegetated areas and trees being preserved during excavation. The next step will be clearing trees and vegetation in the immediate detention compartment construction area and along construction access pathways. Construction will then move to excavation and removal of soil from the linear detention compartments.
Plans for the area include preserving a tree buffer where possible between the detention compartments and adjacent private property, and also preserving some trees and vegetation at the water’s edge. Prior to construction, Harris County Precinct 3 is planning to relocate 17 trees from the project area to John Paul Landing Park. After construction, opportunities for reforestation around the construction area will be coordinated by Harris County Precinct 3, which will continue to maintain the property as part of Terry Hershey Park.
Construction equipment will access the work area via Eldridge Parkway and Dairy Ashford Road public easements and the City of Houston Turkey Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. The contractor will use heavy construction equipment such as dump trucks, excavators and bulldozers to remove trees, vegetation and excavated soil. Motorists are urged to be alert to truck traffic when passing near construction access points. Updated information on construction is available at www.hcfcd.org/F58.
The webpage also includes information provided as part of the 2018 public survey about the project.
All trails and footpaths on the south bank of Buffalo Bayou between Eldridge and Dairy Ashford will be closed as needed for public safety for the duration of this project. Construction on this first phase is expected to take approximately seven months. When visiting Terry Hershey Park, the public is encouraged to enjoy all open sections, to respect warning signs and trail closures, and to avoid construction equipment.
. Buffalo Bayou from State Highway 6 to what is now the Sam Houston Tollway was straightened, regraded and cleared in the 1940s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
. The Flood Control District acquired the property from the Corps for flood damage reduction purposes, beginning in the 1950s.
. In 1993, the Flood Control District and Harris County Precinct 3 signed an agreement creating Terry Hershey Park, which integrates the property’s primary flood damage reduction purpose with recreation.
. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Flood Control District constructed a series of linear stormwater detention basins on the north side of Buffalo Bayou. The basins are located mostly between Dairy Ashford and the Tollway.
ABOUT THE HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT
The Harris County Flood Control District provides flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. With more than 1,500 bayous and creeks totaling approximately 2,500 miles in length, the Flood Control District accomplishes its mission by devising flood damage reduction plans, implementing the plans and maintaining the infrastructure. To learn more about the Flood Control District, visit www.hcfcd.org.