Frequently Asked Questions
Have any public meetings been held regarding potential flood control solutions for Clear Creek?
Yes. Recently, three Public Scoping Meetings were held in the Clear Creek area. The first of these was at Friendswood High School on March 15, 2001. The second was at the League City Civic Center on May 3, 2001 and the third was held at the Pearland Nelson Auditorium on May 9, 2001. Both oral and written comments were solicited from all attendees, and attendees were encouraged to take comment forms home to their neighbors who were unable to attend. The official comment period ended on June 8, 2001. The Study Team is currently evaluating all citizen comments as planning under the General Reevaluation Report moves forward.
The local sponsors also held three public meetings during 1997. Hundreds of citizen comments were collected and considered in subsequent planning.
Will any more public meetings be scheduled?
Yes. There will be more meetings scheduled as deemed necessary during the course of the study.
Has anything been done to alleviate flooding in the watershed?
Yes. A second outlet channel and flood gates have been constructed between Clear Lake and Galveston Bay. They are operated by HCFCD and opened when storm water runoff causes the Clear Lake water level to exceed the Galveston Bay water level.
What is Challenge 21? How does this program compare with the current federal authorization?
Challenge 21 is also known as the Flood Mitigation and Riverine Restoration Initiative (Section 212, Water Resources Development Act of 1999). The “act” states that: “The Secretary (of the Army) may undertake a program for the purpose of conducting projects to reduce flood hazards and restore the natural functions and values of rivers throughout the United States”.
Challenge 21 emphasizes non-structural approaches to flood damage reduction. So does the Clear Creek Study. Challenge 21 also considers structural flood damage reduction options. So does the Clear Creek Study. Other elements of both Challenge 21 and the Clear Creek Study include the following:
- Provides for Cost-Sharing between Federal and non-Federal sponsors;
- Projects must significantly reduce potential flood damages;
- Projects may include environmental restoration measures;
- Emphasizes projects that have minimal or no adverse environmental, flood, and social impacts;
- Places high priority on projects that have the support of the community;
- Emphasizes projects that complement or supplement other Federal, State or Local projects and programs; and
- Considers projects that are justified economically.
Very importantly, there is “no limit” on a single project federal funding cap for the Clear Creek project under the current study. Under Challenge 21, the project would have a $30 million funding cap.
Even more importantly, there is NO federal funding appropriation for Challenge 21. There is currently a federal funding appropriation for the Clear Creek Project.
Will the project end up being a channelization project?
The study team is completely re-evaluating the original project, which would have resulted in the channelization of Clear Creek. In this new reevaluation study, all flood reduction options are being completely reconsidered, including both structural and non-structural alternatives. If you have other suggestions, please complete the comment form on this website. That’s one of the main reasons we’ve developed this website — to hear your suggestions and concerns.
How long will the study take and when will the project be implemented?
The study will be completed in approximately July 2004. The resulting project, if an acceptable alternative can be found, will be implemented as soon as possible thereafter.
Are you using new information for the study?
Yes. The USACE and the study team are developing and utilizing completely new information for the current study. New aerial photography, new survey information, new hydraulic and hydrology models and new demographic information are being utilized. This information is being collected using GIS – Geographic Information System — and will be used for study analysis.
Will the creek’s natural beauty be maintained?
The study team is evaluating eco-friendly flood damage reduction measures. We are asking citizens to help us by telling us where special areas along the creek are found. Please enter your comments on this website and tell us about special areas that you are familiar with. Evaluating and maintaining the aesthetic, recreational and wildlife value of the creek are important elements of the study.
Is the Corps considering a “no action” alternative?
The Corps and local sponsors must balance the public interest in its decision on any project. Residents and businesses that have flooded sometimes have different interests from those who have not. It is the Corps’ and the local sponsors’ goal to conduct the necessary engineering, economic, and environmental studies in order to establish a project that is acceptable to the public and the local sponsors. If such a project cannot be developed, the study team may recommend that the Corps take “no action”. The evaluation of a “no action” alternative is a requirement of the study.
Is a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement being prepared?
Yes. A Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is being prepared as part of the study.
How will potential water quality impacts on Clear Lake be assessed?
Water quality issues will be addressed in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
Will wetlands be destroyed by the project?
Wetlands that could potentially be affected by project activities along the creek will be evaluated. The creation of new wetlands to replace those that have been or could be lost will also be evaluated, as will the restoration of historic wetlands that assisted in maintaining water quality in the creek.
Will recreation features be included with the project?
Recreation features may be included, but only if a Local Sponsor commits to a 50/50 cost sharing for those recreation features.
Will the project disturb waste materials at the Brio Superfund Site?
No. A 1998 study commissioned specifically to answer this question concluded that no adverse impacts are expected from activities that would reduce flood damages on Clear Creek. Sediment sampling and analysis were conducted, and results indicated that many of the contaminants of concern were not present in samples collected from Clear Creek. Chemical constituents that were present were measured at such insignificant levels (non-toxic) that no adverse impacts are expected from any type of activity that might disturb these soils.
Will detention basins be used as part of the flood reduction plan?
Maybe, depending on the study results. Detention basins are one “tool” being evaluated as part of the study. Currently, on-site detention basins are being incorporated into most development plans in many areas of the watershed.
Is Clear Lake being considered in the study?
Yes. The re-evaluation of the project includes a full analysis of potential downstream impacts from any upstream improvements on Clear Lake. The Corps has already conducted a full analysis and developed a computer model evaluating potential flood impacts on a project alternative proposed by Harris County Flood Control. This analysis was completed in April 1999, so the information is up to date. The Corps will use the model to evaluate additional alternatives and assess any potential downstream impact on Clear Lake residents.
Is subsidence being considered in the study?
Yes. New survey data has been collected as part of the study. Projections for future subsidence are available and will be also used in evaluating plans.
Are long-term effects and population growth being considered?
Yes. New socioeconomic data and demographic information has been collected and is being used in the study. The very latest technology and methods will be used to project population growth and the long-term effects of any recommended project.
Why don’t we just buy-out all of the people who live in the floodplain and then leave the creek alone? Why are people allowed to build or live in the floodplain?
Buy-outs are one of the non-structural “tools” being considered in the study. Raising existing structures is also being evaluated. People who move into the floodplain are required to comply with floodplain regulations. This usually means elevating their houses.
My house has flooded several times, including very recently during Tropical Storm Allison. Why does the Corps keep studying the problem without doing anything about it?
Clear Creek supports a number of beneficial land uses, including residential land use, recreation, wildlife habitat and industrial/commercial, among others. All of the various uses of the creek must be considered so that a project that is acceptable to the public, local sponsors, and the Corps can be developed.
Why can’t we just limit new development in the watershed and preserve the creek the way it is?
Even if there was no further development in the watershed, there still exists the likelihood of flooding of existing development. The Corps and the local sponsors lack the authority to limit development. Floodplain regulations or requirements on new development are the responsibility of the City or County Floodplain Administrator.
In 1997 we attended a public meeting and gave our input on several viable alternatives to the proposed channelization project. Why haven’t those been implemented?
Citizens and the local sponsors asked the Corps, in 1997, to consider changes to the original channelization project, which was funded by Congress many years ago. The suggested changes were significant enough that the Corps was required to perform the current reevaluation study (the General Reevaluation Report) before any project could proceed. The study is scheduled for completion in July 2003.
Is storm surge being considered in the study?
Yes. The study is considering the impact of storm surge. However, the flood reduction measures being considered are restricted to addressing storm water in the main stem of Clear Creek and not tidal surge protection. The gate on the second outlet was built for the purpose of maintaining the level of the lake during extreme tidal conditions. It is opened when storm water runoff causes the Clear Lake water level to exceed the Galveston Bay water level.
How do I find out how plans that are being developed will affect my land and my home?
Attend our public meetings, visit our website at www.clearcreekproject.com, and look for our newsletters in your local paper and mailbox. We are making every effort to keep you informed.
Will additional delays in the project jeopardize the federal funding for the original project?
No jeopardy of Federal funding should result from the current general reevaluation study.
Are local citizens involved in the reevaluation process?
Yes. A Citizen Advisory Committee established by the local sponsors will be involved in the reevaluation process. Members include area residents, public officials, and environmental leaders.