Fort Bend

Sugar Land City Council approves grant application to address erosion

The $28 million grant would be used to address erosion near the Riverstone community, a growing area in Sugar Land.

Brazos River.
Fort Bend County and the city of Sugar Land have combined efforts to fight erosion along the Brazos River.

The Sugar Land City Council has approved a $28 million grant application to the Texas Water Development Board last month to address erosion along the Brazos River.

Republican state senators Joan Huffman and Lois Kolkhorst helped secure the grant funding.

The Texas Water Development Board is expected to approve the grant funding later this month. The grant will be used to address erosion near the Riverstone community.

Sugar Land Intergovernmental Relations Manager Rick Ramirez said the grant focuses on a growing area.

"The Riverstone region ... is a hot area for real estate," he said. "A lot of people are moving towards that area."

Ramirez said the goal of the project is to protect the levees in the area. The Riverstone area is located near the Levee Improvement District 15, which protects against flooding for more than $350 million in residential properties and infrastructure.

"What we are trying to do is protect the levees that are around the Riverstone area and also that are protecting the vital city infrastructure as well," he said.

The erosion protection efforts are part of Project Brazos – a joint effort between the city, the county and the levee improvement districts to address erosion throughout Fort Bend.

In a news release about the recent $28 million grant, City Engineer Jessie Li said flooding in 2015 and 2016 and during Hurricane Harvey accelerated erosion on the Brazos River. The city and the county conducted two studies to evaluate the erosion.

" These studies concluded that in less than 30 years, if mitigation efforts are not implemented, continuing erosion of the riverbank might cause loss of human life while threatening residences, city and county infrastructure, roads, levees, parks and hurricane evacuation routes on farm to market roads, state highways and interstate highway bridges," Li said in the statement.

Studies have also identified erosion near the Memorial Park in Sugar Land and U.S. Highway 59, threatening bridges over the river. Damages to the bridges due to erosion could impact evacuation routes for Galveston and Brazoria County residents during hurricanes and tropical storms.

The city plans to address erosion in those two areas through $42 million in funding from the General Land Office.