Message from the Interim Executive Director
Given the news from Commissioners Court on June 29, 2021, I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you all and share a few updates.
First, it was touching to hear the remarks from the Commissioners regarding Russ Poppe and his 16 years of dedicated service to the residents of Harris County. I have been lucky enough to work alongside him and learn from his talents not only as an engineer, but as an unwavering advocate for the work of our organization. In honor of Russ, Commissioners Court unanimously passed a resolution recognizing his tremendous accomplishments and renaming Precinct 3’s Grantwood Park to Russ Poppe Park. We all owe Russ a debt of gratitude for his leadership, and I’m sure you all join me in wishing him the very best in whatever he does next.
Second, I was honored to be named interim executive director by the court, effective July 3, while a search begins for a permanent replacement. Over the next few weeks, I will be working closely with the Division Directors to transition into my new, albeit temporary, role, but I want to emphasize that this transition does not stop our critical work across Harris County. Our focus has always been, and will continue to be, on moving forward flood risk reduction projects. We have made incredible strides in recent years, but there is still much more work to be done.
With the long July 4th weekend upon us, I hope you will all take time to relax with your family and re-charge as we celebrate our independence. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, and I am excited to continue our work to build on the legacy we have established together. Please know my door is always open for questions or concerns during this time of transition and beyond. We will keep everyone apprised as more information is available.
As we head into another hurricane season, I want to thank everyone for all the work that we have completed since Hurricane Harvey. The construction projects undertaken by the Harris County Flood Control District over the last 2 years and 9 months have reduced the risk of flooding for nearly 7,300 homes. In addition, 635 homes have been bought and demolished, with financial assistance provided to relocate their occupants to safer locations. We’ve purchased nearly 1,000 properties across the county located within the floodplain, thus preventing homes from ever being built there and helping preserve our natural floodplains. This year’s hurricane season is forecast to be above average, but thanks to all of your collective efforts, we are better positioned and more resilient going into this storm season than we’ve ever been.
That said, please make sure you prepare your homes and properties for hurricane season, purchase flood insurance, and download our flood warning system software for easy access to updates on bayous and streams should we have an extreme weather event or just heavy rainfall.
Information is key to help keep everyone safe and protected.
It is hard to believe we are about to wrap up the first quarter of 2021! I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished so far this year for Harris County residents. Work has started on more than 80% of the projects included in the 2018 Bond Program with a plan to have all projects underway by Summer 2022. Work that has begun since the passing of the bond program has used almost $400 million to progress projects, and because of this work, nearly 8,500 homes are already seeing a significant reduction in flooding risk due to the Flood Control District’s ongoing work.
We still have more to do! We have secured more than $1 billion in partner funding and we continue to aggressively and continuously pursue available opportunities that will allow us to leverage bond funds to do even more.
Thanks for all you do and for your continued dedication to reducing flooding in Harris County.
I hope you and your families are staying safe as we start to see more people having the opportunity to get vaccinated. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have continued to make tremendous progress and I appreciate your commitment to making sure these critical and important projects are moving forward. Our work is getting noticed! Several members of the community have expressed appreciation for all your efforts in helping to reduce flooding in Harris County.
Keep up the great work!
Every once in a while, mother nature shows that it isn’t always a flooding event that can dramatically impact Harris County. It's been a few weeks since our area experienced a historic winter storm that left many of us without electricity and water for several days. It's my sincere hope that you and your loved ones are recovering and getting back to normal. I appreciate your efforts during this weather event to continue work, while managing unforeseen obstacles at home.
Many of you may have noticed that the Harris County Flood Control District was in the news in the past several weeks. Since the Flood Control District’s inception in 1937, the District has worked with local, state, regional and federal partners on projects across Harris County. These partnerships continue to be an integral part of the projects we design, build and maintain. Right now, 160 bond projects have been initiated and the Flood Control District has submitted more than $2 billion in funding applications for federal and state partnership funds. We are well on our way of reaching our funding goals and have secured nearly $1 billion in funds for flood reduction efforts across Harris County.
I appreciate all you do for the Harris County Flood Control District.
2021 is off to a positive and aggressive start and I’d like to take moment to thank all of you for your efforts through a very challenging 2020.
Despite the challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic, the Flood Control District has remained very productive and focused on our mission. We all know that floods can happen at any time, which means the important work in front of us will continue to be our focus for 2021. For those District employees that have and continue to work from home, thank you for your efforts in making the work-from-home set up efficient and productive. I also recognize that many of our staff cannot work from home because of the work that you perform, and I am equally impressed by your dedication amid the pandemic to make the necessary adjustments to ensure our collective safety. I realize that the protocols in place to keep us safe has also made it more difficult to communicate and socialize while at work, and I for one certainly miss those days! However, I am optimistic that those days will soon be here again thanks to the vaccines that continue to be administered, but until then, please continue to be safe.
We have a big year ahead and I’m grateful for all you do to make us successful.