Our purpose at Cypress Creek – Stop the Flooding is to educate and inform citizens and businesses owners along Cypress Creek in northwest Harris County, Texas. No words we offer can guild the black lily of flooding for the 10,000 home and business owners who lost their property during the Harvey flood. But before Harvey there was the Tax Day flood. Before the Tax Day flood there was the Memorial Day flood (1 & 2). Why? Why is there so much flooding on Cypress Creek? What can we do? Learn that here.
ON YOUR OWN – at an October, 2021 meeting concerning flooding on Cypress Creek between cycreekstoptheflooding.com and Matt Zeve, deputy executive director of Harris County Flood Control, Zeve told us: “Government is not riding to your rescue any time soon, defend yourselves”
Seduced and Abandoned
Need proof that the Cypress Creek community has been abandoned by Harris County government in the 4 1/2 years after Harvey? Well, let’s see:
$290 million is being spent from the Flood Bond on Cypress Creek! All projects have been initiated! Yep, but none of these projects will lower flood water surface levels along Cypress Creek, they were never designed to do so. There is NO evidence that flood levels will be reduced by this spending.
But $60 million is being spent on maintenance and repair on Cy Creek over the next 4-5 years! Yep, all of this work was deferred for 20-30 years as Flood Control was underfunded by Commissioners Court. None of this work creates more space for the water along Cypress Creek.
But $100 million is being spent buying flood plain land to preserve it from developers! Yep, but most of the tracts purchased are only 1-3 acres, too small to install detention or effect water levels. The object of this project is to keep things from getting worse – you won’t have 4 feet of water in your house next flood, just the same old 3′ of water.
But we are planning detention sites at TC Jester and Westador! Yep, but they are unfunded, no money to build them.
But Congressman Crenshaw put $9 million in his budget request for each of the Jester and Westador sites! We thank the congressman for his concern, unfortunately that leaves Jester $21 million short and Westador $12 million short.
But the County bought Raveneaux golf course and tore down the clubhouse! Yep, but they only bought 20+ acres. The Champion Forest PUD owned the rest of the land and has negotiated HCFCD to a standstill. The 5,000 acre/ft detention facility/park has been negotiated down to 500 acre/ft, hardly worth the cost. By the way, ask about the million-dollar bridge to nowhere.
Commissioner Cactus Jack Cagle just can’t do a thing to help as the Democrats on Commissioners Court out vote him 3-2 and won’t let him do a thing! Yep, but Cactus Jack keeps forgetting that for almost a decade he was in the 4-1 majority of Republicans and did nothing for Cypress Creek area – no plan, no projects, no vision, just repeated flooding that he ignored. Seduced and abandoned.
But surely the $111 million being spent on the Little Cypress Creek Frontier Project will help us! After all, in promoting the LCC Frontier project Commissioner Cactus Jack Cagle says: “I know water flows down hill”. Yep, but Cactus Jack, your own master plan for LCC says not one word about lowering flood water levels on the main creek. It’s not one of HCFCD’s goals for the project and not a metric contemplated by the engineering firm which wrote your master plan. Where’s the beef, Jack?
But the Michael Baker study said we needed 26,000 acre/ft of detention all along the creek! Where’s that? Yep, that’s a big number. In the Jones Carter report HCFCD got that number knocked down to 14,000 acre/ft. By the way, where is that Jones Carter report, it’s rumored to be really bad news for Cy Creek? Harris County government couldn’t be sitting on it, could they?
But Harris County Engineering was in my subdivision recently helping to increase our drainage to the creek! Yep, put in bigger drain pipes. But did not increase the capacity of the creek. Cart before the horse. Our problem is the creek filling up and backing up into the subdivisions, flooding homes and businesses. This work makes it easier for the creek to flow back into your subdivision during major flooding events.
Why not build levees or widen the creek? Yep, good idea. The Inverness Forest levee completely protected Inverness Forest subdvision during Harvey, the only subdivision to survive intact along the creek. Ft. Bend County is full of levees. But, without study or science, HCFCD refuses to contemplate levees or berms. Except for Little Cypress Creek project, which has the support of Commissioner Cactus Jack Cagle. Berms and channelization are being used in LCC. But not the main stem where most taxpayers and voters live.
But, but, I just can’t believe it! Yep, find out for yourself, call Cactus Jack Cagle’s office at 713-755-6444. Ask how much the flood water level is being lowered – get a number, not a song & dance. Or go straight to the source: Harris County Flood Control at 346-286-4000. Fight your way through the maze and ask the same question.
But, what am I to do? Follow the advice of Deputy Executive Director of Harris Co. Flood Control Matt Zeve when he said: “The government is not coming to your rescue any time soon. Defend yourself”.
Negotiations have been broken off between Harris Co. Flood Control (HCFCD) and the Cypress Forest Public Utility District (PUD), which serves the Champion Forest Subdivision, over the former Raveneaux Golf Club. HCFCD had proposed placing a detention facility in the failed golf club’s location but the PUD, which owns the 200+ acre tract, insisted on restarting a golf club in the location with detention taking only a minor role.
For two years the sides have negotiated back and forth with little regard for the safety and security of the community. HCFCD originally envisioned a facility as large as 5,000 acre/feet to protect the community from repeated flooding, but the PUD negotiated them down to a mere 500 acre/feet, an amount so small and so expensive that the recent Jones Carter Report questioned whether it was even worthwhile. It would do little to help the community. But the PUD wants golf. As a result, nobody wins. No flood protection, no park, no golf.
It’s odd that the PUD consigns the Champions Forest mansions along Cypresswood Drive and the homes behind them on Tranquil Park to flooding, also the homes on Guinstead and Windrush. And, naturally, almost all of the homes in Champion Forest south of the creek. Not to mention the YMCA, the Kroger Center at 249, the Mormon Temple and St. Ignatius Church, the Kroger Center at Champion Forest Drive. Kroger has told your state representative that they won’t rebuild after another flood. It won’t take a 100-year storm like Tax Day or TS Alison, a 50-year storm (2% chance every year) will do nicely to destroy all the above. All for golf. Why?
Hard to believe? Read it for yourself in the Jones Carter Report, if you can get your hands on a copy. HCFCD originally promised the completed report in January, 2021. Didn’t keep that promise. Then again in the spring of 2021, the summer of 2021 and finally September 2021. None of those promises fulfilled. Just now Commissioner Cactus Jack Cagle is sitting on it, he doesn’t want you to see it. It describes in detail the assault on the viability of this community by flooding. Cactus Jack wants to talk with you about Beowulf or Shakespeare or play the banjo for you. But he doesn’t want to tell you the truth: the $290 million in bond funding he authorized for Cypress Creek will do nothing to reduce flood water surface levels along the creek. A quarter of a billion of your tax money. Nothing.
HCFCD is committed to allowing only detention, and no other mitigation, along Cypress Creek but admits there is not room for enough detention. Then HCFCD freely admits they have no money to construct the detention. Does this sound like good government or rather bureaucrats blithely committed to a course of action from which nothing will deter them? Where is Commissioner Cagle on all this? What about accountability in Harris County government?
If a deal can’t be done on Raveneaux, why not sell the County property (~27 acres) there and use the money to construct detention to save our homes & businesses? Nope, HCFCD leadership, Deputy Executive Director Matt Zeve, insists too much time and effort have gone into the deal to quit now. How about using the power of the law to save our homes and businesses – condemn the PUD land to construct detention. No. Commissioner Cagle says “…there is no appetite to condemn private property in this area”. Cactus Jack – it a Public Utility blocking the saving of
millions in property from flooding. You are not dispossessing Grandma Jones from the family farm. Do you care?
What about the liability of HOAs and MUDs/PUDs along Cypress Creek which refuse to engage in a struggle which can doom/save their community? The reason we flood over and over is lack of leadership in the community. The reason Harris County officials laugh at us behind our backs is the lack of leadership in the community. Where is the business leadership? The civic leadership? Our elected officials? Another couple of floods and businesses will go the way of HP, or Kroger. Cypresswood Drive will look like 1960.
At a November meeting at HCFCD, Matt Zeve said to us: “Government is not riding to your rescue anytime soon. Defend yourselves.” Right from the horse’s mouth. We cannot depend on our elected officials to help us. The weather is not going to change – if we don’t change expect to flood over and over.
did you miss the Town Hall – Cypress Creek Flooding? Here’s your chance:
You can view the entire Town Hall on Youtube, click this link:
Can’t watch it all at once? Go to these timelines:
0-10:10 Introduction to the problem
10:10 – 34:40 Dr. Phil Bedient, Rice’s Severe Storm Center on Cy Creek
34:45-55:55 Matt Zeve Harris Co. Flood Control
55:56- 1:17 Q&A with speakers
What did we learn? Well, nothing optimistic. Dr. Bedient is not the least bit sanguine about flooding along Cypress Creek.
Matt Zeve seemed to promise us that, over the next 10 years, HCFCD would build about 14,000 acre/feet of detention along the creek. HCFCD’s Michael Baker study said we need 26,000 acre/feet. So, after a decade we would have about half of what we need