Heather Saucier with the Harris County Flood Control District says Halls Bayou isn't very wide or deep, and it doesn't take a lot of rain for it to flood. The north Houston bayou is about 20 miles long. Its headwaters are near Veterans Memorial and it meets up with Greens Bayou near Brock Park.
13,000 homes flooded in the Halls Bayou watershed during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. Another 14-hundred flooded during Hurricane Ike in 2008. While the district has built several flood control projects in the past, it's now launching a new study called "Halls Ahead." Saucier says as part of the process they want to hear what neighbors have to say.
"We're basically going to take one year to take a look at the watershed and try to identify other ways and other measures that we can further reduce flooding risks and damages in this watershed."
Watershed Location: North central Harris County
Watershed Population: 160,100 people*†
Length of Halls Bayou: 20 miles*
Size of Watershed: 45 square miles*
Land Use: Mostly developed with a mix of residential, commercial and industrial uses
*These figures are approximate.
†These figures are from the 2010 Census
and taken from the HCFCD
Current flood control measures include a large detention basin which holds about 300 million gallons of storm water. The district is also in the process of excavating a second basin on Jensen Drive west of Highway 59. Saucier says the "Halls Ahead" study will look at what can be done in the future.
"We are primarily focusing on those people who have flooded because Halls Bayou has come out of its banks and innundated homes. But we realize that other people have other types of issues with flooding, more internalized drainage issues with underground storm sewers or roadside ditches and issues like that."
And while the "Halls Ahead" study will take into consideration evironmental concerns, Saucier adds they're also looking at additional recreational opportunities for people who live nearby.
"Whether it be we widen a channel and we've got more right-of-way along that channel, or we excavate a detention basin and we've got hundreds of acres of green space as a result. We only need this land several times a year when it floods and the remaining time of the year this land can double as parks and recreational areas for the public."
The flood control district will provide information about the plan at a public meeting next Tuesday night, October 25. It begins at 6:00 PM at MacArthur High School on Aldine Mail Route. To submit your ideas online, visit the HCFCD Website.