Harris County Flood Control District Increases Tree Planting Efforts
Every year, the Harris County Flood Control District plants between 12,000 to 15,000 trees across Harris County. Over the last 20 years the Flood Control District has planted more than 300,000 trees. This tree planting effort is a critical part of the Flood Control District's mission "to provide flood reduction programs that work with appropriate regard to community and natural values." Replacing and replanting trees is part of fulfilling that purpose.
"We've done really well this year. We have planted 15,218 trees. That's the largest number we have done since 2014," said Nic Griffin, Harris County Flood Control District Urban Forester.
High Water Marks: Flood Control District Team Working to Help Increase Future Storm Surge Forecasts
During the historic 2020 Hurricane Season, a small team from the National Weather Service and the Harris County Flood Control District addressed a variety of technical and logistical challenges to collect accurate HWMs both as a fixed datum as well as above ‘ground’ level (AGL) post hurricanes Hanna, Laura, and Delta, and Tropical Storm Beta. The team collected a total of 180 high water marks: Hanna (40), Laura (60), Beta (18), and Delta (62) over 4 deployments for a total of 10 days.
Scouts Test out Stormwater Inlet Makers (SWIM) New Look
The Harris County Flood Control District recently received newly designed Stormwater inlet markers. The markers are part of the (SWIM) program. The scouts above were among the first to use the newly designed makers.
The Stormwater Inlet Maker (SWIM) program is open to any individual, group or community that would like to participate in helping us reach our goal: marking every storm drain in Harris County in order to prevent pollution from entering our local waterways. Developers can also propose installing SWIM markers as part of their Stormwater Quality Management Plan.
Flood Control District Employees Recognized through the High Five Program
Ian Shelton: Hydrologic Technician
What was your first job?
I began my career with The Student Conservation Association located in Houston. Starting as a crew member on a wetlands restoration internship crew I gained experience and would eventually began leading several adult corps along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.
How did you get your start at the Flood Control District?
Starting as a Hydrologic Intern in June of 2019. That summer I learned various and important roles that us technicians are responsible for in the Hydrological Operations department. I was offered a full time position that September just a few weeks before Tropical Storm Imelda, the 7th wettest tropical cyclone in U.S history.
What are your day to day duties?
A day in the life here in Hydrologic Operations starts with reviewing and examining our Flood Warning System data. Our current gage network consists of over 200 gage stations, all of these can have their own individual issues and problems can occur at any time during any day. My job at that time would be to begin troubleshooting those issues that occur.
What do you like most about your job?
There is about 2,500 miles of channels winding through The Greater Houston area. When I come to work everyday there is a good chance that I am going to be heading to a different gage site from the previous work day. Harris County has very diverse terrain, I often enjoy when I can be out at one of our sites that is tidal influenced and heading to a site up in far Northwestern Harris County. I love to see new things every day.
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Our group is continuing to expand and add to the existing regional flood warning system. We are planning to add more of these rain gages into the City of League City and even Missouri City as we head into the summer. It would be beneficial to see more gage data on the regional Flood Warning System website map between Missouri City and gage sites that are already installed in Brazoria County.
What is something about yourself that most people don't know?
I am happy to have a hobby (storm chasing) which I believe can help National Weather Service and other agency’s meteorologist’s warn severe thunderstorms as accurately as possible in order to keep the public safe and informed, but there are only so many days in a year where I can help out. If I am not chasing spinning water vapor you can likely find me hiking or biking along the White Oak Greenway or up on Spring Creek Greenway.
Feel free to share anything else about you, your role, and your experience at the Flood Control District!
I do enjoy interacting and learning from much of the staff in many of the departments here at Flood Control. I’ve always thought it was important to keep the community engaged and informed on many of the projects we are working on Post- Harvey. I continue to learn more than ever and am proud to be apart of the Flood Control family!
From the Executive Director
Click here to read the monthly employee message from the Harris County Flood Control District's Executive Director Russ Poppe.
In the Community
The Harris County Flood Control District recently gave a tour to members of the League of Women Voters of Houston Rising Stars program. The group toured the Greens Bayou Wetlands Mitigation Bank. This type of activity helps groups learn how wetlands mitigation banks support the mission of the Flood Control District by streamlining the construction of important flood damage reduction projects.
Selective Clearing Continues
The Harris County Flood Control District selective clearing operations within the Addicks Reservoir are set to continue this Spring.
On March 30, 2021, Harris County Commissioners Court renewed a five-year contract for construction of ongoing selective clearing operations along South Mayde Creek and Langham Creek within the Addicks Reservoir. Pre-construction activities are underway and construction is expected to begin in Spring 2021.
Harris County Flood Control District conducts limited selective clearing operations within the Addicks Reservoir as part of a five-year agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The initial five-year agreement, which expired in December 2020, involved a 120-foot-wide selective clearing effort. As part of the new five-year agreement, the selective clearing effort will be expanded to 350-feet-wide.
The primary focus of this operation is to ensure the channels function at peak capacity to convey stormwater from upstream neighborhoods into the reservoir. Selective clearing within Addicks Reservoir involves identifying and removing downed trees or trees at imminent risk of failure. The work is performed by hand, using chainsaws, machetes, and ropes. Contractors travel the channel on foot through environmentally sensitive areas. A secondary focus of this operation is to leave as much of the native understory as possible, while clearing non-native species.
Addicks Reservoir Selective Clearing at S. Mayde Creek and Langham Creek
Contractor: Union Forestry Labor, Inc.
Contract Amount: $1,000,000
Construction Start: Spring 2021
Estimated Construction Completion: Summer 2021
In the News
Upcoming Virtual Community Engagement Meetings
F-39 Spring Gully
May 6, 2021 6:30pm -7:30pm
San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group
May 18, 2021 6:30pm - 7:30pm
C-25/C-28 Halls Projects
May 19, 2021 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Stormwater Detention Basin on South Mayde Creek at Clay and Mason Road
May 27, 2021 6:30pm - 7:30pm