Under Goal #2 for 2003-2004, the Pearland City Council established its first objective: Continue lobbying for Clear Creek improvements through a coalition with the City of Friendswood, BDD#4, and GCCDD. In support of this goal, on June 16, 2003, the City Council adopted Resolution No. R2003-84 supporting the request made by Congressman Tom DeLay that funding be reinstated in the 2004 federal budget to provide for general evaluation review of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Clear Creek Project.
Clear Creek is a multi-jurisdictional watershed, draining portions of Brazoria, Galveston, Harris, and Fort Bend County, and many cities, including Houston and Pearland. The Creek forms most of Pearland’s northern border and, as demonstrated by past flood events, is a significant source of repetitive and severe flood damage.
The following summary of the Clear Creek Project is prepared from material available online at www.clearcreekproject.com:
The Galveston District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is engaged in a complete re-evaluation of flood damage reduction measures for Clear Creek. The study has expanded well beyond what was formerly planned for only the main stem of the Creek. At the request of the local sponsors, six tributaries were added to the investigation so that the watershed could be more thoroughly understood. Three other agencies representing constituents within the watershed are co-sponsoring the new study. These sponsors include the Harris County Flood Control District, Galveston County, and Brazoria Drainage District Number Four.
Significant progress has been made since June 2002 and a number of project milestones have been reached. Baseline data compiled includes hydraulic/hydrologic information and Geographic Information system mapping of roads, FEMA floodplains, habitat types, wetlands and biological areas, elevations and contours, stream cross-sections, cultural resources, recreational facilities, census information, and structural inventory information. Work on the Environmental Impact Statement has progressed, and data collection necessary to establish an environmental baseline is complete.
During the coming year, the Study Team will continue with hydraulic and hydrologic analysis of the 20 flood damage reduction measures that have been identified, and economic and “benefits-to-cost” analyses will be performed for each measure. Environmental mitigation and eco-restoration actions necessary to offset project impacts will also be evaluated.
The new study, expected to be completed in 2005, will completely re-evaluate options for a federally funded flood control plan that developed many years ago. The original plan included deepening and widening Clear Creek. Numerous alternatives have been suggested by both project sponsors and private citizens, including combinations of channelization, bypass channels, and floodwater detention areas. Importantly, non-structural options such as buying out frequently flooded homeowners, raising structures, improving flood warnings, and strengthening local floodplain regulations are also being considered.
Another Clear Creek initiative involves preparation of new floodplain studies under the umbrella of the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project for the portion of the City that lies within Harris County. The City has entered into a Community Partner Memorandum of Agreement with FEMA in which they have agreed to work with FEMA in the flood hazard identification process and to identify and prioritize its flood mapping needs and develop a digital flood maps for areas of the City that are within Harris County. New floodplain maps, expected to be presented in early 2004, are expected to show higher flood elevations than shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map. The Project’s web page (www.tsarp.com) posts a series of questions and answers about flood insurance and how changes in the flood maps may affect property owners.
6.6.2 Evaluation of Detention
The City is evaluating the effectiveness of its stormwater detention requirements for new development to determine if revisions are appropriate. The drainage manual may be revised. An inventory of detention ponds has been prepared and an inspection program was initiated in June 2003.
The City of Pearland and the Brazoria Drainage District #4 are responsible for public drainage infrastructure in the area. BDD#4 and the City’s Streets and Drainage Department and the Parks Department coordinate to maintain drainage ditches and the City is working to formalize inspection and maintenance procedures, and to clarify areas of responsibility. At this time:
BDD#4 is responsible for major drainage ditches, sloughs, and creeks;
Streets and Drainage is responsible for ditches in front of houses and along City streets, although it has limited capability (equipment and manpower) so BDD4 often provides assistance upon request;
Parks typically mows the ditches when time and manpower allow; and
The City has recently instituted a detention pond inspection program.
6.6.4 Regional Stormwater Detention
The City currently has five regional stormwater detention sites and one in the planning stages. All sites are designed with 50% capacity to manage runoff from existing development and 50% capacity to manage increases anticipated due to future development. The sites are:
David L. Smith detention located on Clear Creek in Northeast Pearland contains approximately 204 acre-feet of stormwater
Southwest Environmental Center detention located on Mary’s Creek contains approximately 366 acre-feet of stormwater detention.
Independence Park detention located on Mary's Creek in East Pearland contains approximately 34 acre-feet of stormwater detention.
West Mary’s Creek detention located on Mary's Creek in W. Central Pearland contains approximately 600 acre-feet of stormwater detention.
Collen Detention located on Hickory Slough in W. Central Pearland contains approximately 30 acre-feet of stormwater detention.
Shadow Creek Ranch development also has a regional component. This site is privately owned and maintained and is being built in phases.