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FEMA’s $9.8 Million Fund to Repair Harvey Reservoir Damage is a 'Good First Step' to Helping Katy


June 24, 2021

By Natalie Cook Clark

The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has been granted $9.8 million in federal funding to help repair the Barker Reservoir Watershed from damages caused by Hurricane Harvey and restore channels including Mason Creek in Katy. Katy residents were greatly impacted by Harvey and want to see measures taken to prevent future damage.

Flooding in Katy from Hurricane Harvey August 2017.

Katy was one of the communities most impacted by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath is still felt to this day. It is estimated that a volume of 206,863 cubic yards of sand and sediment was deposited along the banks and within the channels throughout Barker Reservoir. One of the channels is Mason Creek that runs through Katy.

A 'Good First Step'

“We are pleased to hear of the allocation of federal funds to support the local HCFCD efforts to restore channel capacity in Mason Creek and the Upper Buffalo Bayou,” says Wendy Duncan, Director of Willow Fork Drainage District and President of Board of Directors at WFDD. “This project is a good first step to return our waterways to Pre-Harvey conditions.”

Hurricane Harvey made landfall August 25, 2017. The Category 4 hurricane is the second most costly storm to strike the U.S. since the storm of 1900. It is estimated that Harvey caused about $125 billion in damage.

“Our community has worked together to recover from Hurricane Harvey’s devastating impacts, and there is still much work to do,” says congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, who announced the financial aid on Wednesday. “Dredging and restoration of our water conveyance systems will help protect homes and businesses in our district.”

The City of Katy Suffered Massive Damage from Harvey

The City of Katy experienced massive damage including sustained damage to 16 Katy ISD campuses. Due to extreme flooding, Creech Elementary had to relocate its 900 students and staff had to be relocated. In less than a week, Katy ISD moved the Creech students and staff to the University of Houston’s Cinco Ranch campus.

“The heavy lifting of improving flood protection for upstream residents is to finish the job of the USACE’s 1940 Plan,” explains Duncan. “Increasing capacity in the reservoirs and conveyance out of the reservoirs are the solutions that will provide the regional benefit for flood management for residents and business owners.”

The total project cost of $10.85 million will cover sediment removal from flood control district channels upstream of Barker Reservoir. The federal government is providing 90% of the total project cost, with a 10% local match.

“The Harris County Flood Control District is excited to have been awarded nearly $9.8 million in federal funding from FEMA to restore capacity to channels that flow into Barker Reservoir, damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Harvey,” says Alan Black, HCFCD Director of Operations. “The Hurricane deposited large quantities of sand and sediment along the banks and within the channels throughout Barker Reservoir Watershed.

The Flood Control District is set to oversee the repairs to the drainage system and more than 200,000 cubic yards of sediment will be removed.

“That’s enough to fill roughly 20,000 dump trucks,” says Black.

Hurricane season has begun for the Gulf and experts predict a dangerous and above average season. Check out our list on how to best prepare before a storm comes to Katy.

“WFDD is pleased to be working toward the goal of increased storage capacity in Barker Reservoir with a pilot project with the Corps,” says Duncan.


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