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 gild 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.
Flooding Survey results
Question 1: How satisfied are you with HCFCD and its efforts to mitigate flooding along Cypress Creek.
Answer: 83.81% responded “very dissatisfied” or “dissatisfied”.
(Citizens obviously do not have confidence in or support this county agency. Why fund something that is ineffective? What is our county commissioner, Tom Ramsey, doing about this poor effort on the part of HCFCD?)
Question 2: Do you agree that flooding, which threatens thousands of people in the Cypress Creek community, is a public safety issue like policing or fire protection?
Answer: 94.29% “strongly agree” or “agree” that flooding is a public safety issue.
(The first role of government, any government, is the safety and security of its citizens. Do you see any county, state or federal programs which have reduced flood water surface levels on Cy Creek over the last 5 years since Harvey?)
Question 3: Three years ago, Harris County spent $11 million of our tax money to purchase 27 acres of the defunct Raveneaux golf course to construct flood detention. Nothing has been done since due to local opposition in the Champion Forest area. Do you agree that three years is enough time to prevaricate and that Harris County should sell this property promptly and
use the funds to construct flood mitigation elsewhere?
Answer: 65.72% “strongly agree” or “agree” that is time to move on from the Raveneaux debacle.
(Harris County government is showing its ineptitude or indifference to flooding on Cy Creek by electing to do nothing here for 3 years. Poor stewardship of our tax money, indifference to public safety, missed opportunity for flood mitigation. The duty to move this forward is Commissioner Ramsey’s and Judge Hidalgo’s. No action by either official.)
Question 4: In Northwest Harris County a typical homeowner may pay around $4/month to HCFCD in taxes. For this he receives mowing of the right of ways and minimal maintenance. The homeowner may also pay around $5-7/month for ambulance and fire service. If a Cypress Creek Flood Control District was formed to actually construct flood mitigation along Cypress Creek, would you be willing to pay $5-7/month to this district?
Answer: 89.53% “definitely would” or “probably would” pay such a ‘fee’ or ‘tax’ to protect their homes.
(This result apparently caught many elected officials by surprise. People will actually pay to protect themselves!? Goes against current politicians talking points and left them speechless. Another indication our officials are out of touch with the great unwashed masses.)
Question 5: If elected officials were to act to form a Cypress Creek Flood Control District, would you be interested in public input into how the District was formed, its powers and board of directors or simply leave it to the elected officials?
Answer: 75.24% were “extremely interested” or “very interested” in giving input.
(And yet the current ‘drainage district’ being proposed by the Wilkerson ‘task force’ and being propounded by Representative Harless had NO public meetings, solicited NO public input but was put together in private meetings for which there are no minutes or notes available. Citizens get the government they deserve, or at least tolerate.)
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 said of the Cypress Creek area: “Government is not riding to your rescue any time soon, defend yourselves”
On March 9, 2022 Harris County Flood Control will unveil to the public a horrible idea: “The Cypress Creek Implementation Program”.
It is true that cycreekstoptheflooding.com asked Matt Zeve, former deputy director of HCFCD, to develop a program for Cypress Creek similar to other HCFCD programs such as ‘Project Brays’ or ‘Project Greens Bayou’, roadmaps for flood mitigation in those watersheds. Zeve agreed and promised to give us a plan for addressing continued flooding along Cy Creek, complete with goals and timelines which he said would: “…aid you in holding us accountable”. The current proposal is none of the above.
Having read the Jones Carter Report, upon which this plan is based, and seen the preliminary HCFCD presentation on this plan we can only say this program is a bad plan, bad stewardship of your tax dollars and bad government. Bad? Let us count the ways:
- The Jones Carter report said it was taking a “…holistic view” of the watershed. It did no such thing. JC never considered levees, berms, deepening or widening the creek, channel bypass or any new technologies. ONLY detention. And they found there was not room to put in a sufficient amount of detention. Why can’t any of the above be used? Without data, science, study or any other engineering principle, HCFCD has ruled them out. What kind of engineering is that? Political engineering, bad engineering.
- Cypress Creek is overdeveloped and there’s no room to do flood control? Hardly. Take a look at Project Brays: no area of Harris County is more developed that Braeswood, Meyerland, Bellaire, along Brays Bayou. Look at the extensive job being done there: https://www.hcfcd.org/Activity/Active-Projects/Brays-Bayou/C-11-Project-Brays
For LESS than HALF of the MONEY than is being proposed on Cy Creek, 21 miles of Brays Bayou is being deepened and widened, 4 detention sites are being built and 32 bridges are being improved. Less money, better job.
3. Project Brays is spending $480 million to save 90% of structures at risk in the Brays Bayou watershed. Cypress Creek Implementation Plan envisions spending over one billion dollars and saving 19% of our structures at risk. More than TWICE the money for 1/4th the result. Simply read the last 3 paragraphs of the Executive Summary to learn all you need to know. What kind of conservative Republican can support that kind of waste? Will you – the taxpayer – support that waste?
4. Where will the one billion dollars come from? What government agency will fund a project which is that expensive with such poor result? None. This “Cypress Creek Implementation Plan” is dead out of the gate – it exists only to be a smokescreen for County inaction.
5. Why are there such differences? Project Brays is run by the Army Corps of Engineers with HCFCD as its local partner, with oversight from municiple governments such as the City of Bellaire, City of Houston. Cypress Creek is a Harris County only project with no oversight. Pct. 4 Commissioner Cagle has been continually hostile toward flood control on Cypress Creek during his 10 years in office. Nothing has been accomplished on Cagle’s watch. Oh, he has spent gobs of tax money but accomplished no flood water level reductions.
6. What can you do? Tell HCFCD on March 9th that this plan is unacceptable, then tell ALL of your elected representatives the same. Sign up for the ‘virtual community engagement meeting”: https://publicinput.com/CCWIP.
Listen to the dog & pony show by HCFCD and note how it does not recite the hard facts, just PR window dressing. Ask hard questions and note the lack of forthrightness on the part of HCFCD personnel in their answers. Then tell them “NO” in no uncertain terms.
See the attached Executive Summary and list of just some of the properties being left to flood repeatedly.
“Typical” structures at risk for repeated flooding on Cypress Creek
YMCA Chapparal Mgmt building
Springhill Suites Astria retirement
St. Lukes Vintage Hospital Alamo Title building
Chuys restaurant Autumn Leaves retirement
Kroger center at 249 Sycamore Memory care
Willie’s Icehouse Bellaire retirement
Broadstone Vintage Apts Northgate Golf Club
Mera Vintage retirement Shirley Acres
Raveneaux Golf club
Kroger center at Champion Forest
Tx Childrens Pediatrics
St. Ignatius Catholic church
Mellow Mushroom center
County courthouse annex
Just say “NO” to a bad plan that leaves us flooding at a billion dollars.
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.
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