30+ Year Flood Damage Reduction Effort “Project Brays”
The Brays Bayou Federal Flood Damage Reduction Project (known as Project Brays), a $480 million partnership effort between the Harris County Flood Control District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Galveston District is now complete after more than 30 years of work. The completed Project Brays includes 21 miles of channel conveyance improvements from the Houston Ship Channel to Fondren Road and four stormwater detention basins. The project covers more than 800 acres that will hold a collective 3.5 billion gallons of stormwater that might otherwise flood area homes and businesses. Several bridges were also replaced or modified to accommodate channel widening and modifications. The project has reduced the flooding risk for more than 15,000 structures in the Brays Bayou watershed.
“This is a milestone for the Harris County Flood Control District and the residents of Harris County, as we strive to make our region more resilient. Project Brays is the largest partnership project the Flood Control District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have conducted, and we have worked together to reduce the risk and damages resulting from flooding events. Residents and businesses along Brays Bayou can look forward to benefiting from the Project Brays initiative for years to come,” said Dr. Tina Petersen, Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director.
Analysis and planning efforts for Project Brays began in the early 1980’s and construction started in 1993 with excavation on the first stormwater detention basin at Arthur Storey Park. The main channel-widening and modifications began in 2004.
A freshwater marsh was completed at Mason Park in 2005 followed by the completion of the Arthur Storey Park & Old Westheimer Stormwater Detention Basins in 2008 and the Eldridge Stormwater Detention Basin in 2015. The final basin, Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin, was completed in 2018 and channel modifications through Fondren Road were completed in 2021. The bridge projects to accommodate the channel widening and modifications concluded construction efforts this year.
“This ceremony marks a major milestone for the $480 million Project Brays and represents a significant reduction in flood risk for the community. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Harris County Flood Control District and delivering flood risk management projects for generations to come,“ said Colonel Timothy Vail, Commander and District Engineer of the US Army Corps of Engineers - Galveston District.
After the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 changed the project funding agreement to reimburse the Flood Control District for the federal and local shares of eligible costs, the Flood Control District incurred and was reimbursed by the federal government for all expenses. The City of Houston also provided additional funding for sidewalk enhancements on the newly constructed bridges.