New Flood Control Project to Help Northeast Houston

A new project that will widen and deepen Hunting Bayou on the city's northeast side should help alleviate frequent flooding in nearby neighborhoods. "Project Hunting" will cost 176-million dollars and take years to complete, but will eventually dramatically shrink the 100-year flood plain in the area. Jack Williams reports.
A steady stream of dump trucks roll in and out of a 75-acre detention basin that's rapidly taking shape at the North Loop East off Homestead Road. It's the first phase of an ambitious project the Harris County Flood Control District says will keep flood water out of nearby neighborhoods, places like Kashmere Gardens and Liberty Gardens. This is the Flood Control District's Heather Saucier.

"Even though Hunting Bayou is a major bayou in Harris County , it's very small in size compared to others, like Brays or Sims or White Oak. Generally, Hunting Bayou tends to spill its banks when we get a lot of rain in a very short period of time. It's maybe one of the first to flood because it is so small and so this project is going to widen and deepen Hunting Bayou and it's just going to give it more capacity so that we just don't see flooding as much as we do now."

The detention basin is similar to a few others across the county. They've been effective tools against during storms like Rita and Ike. The newest one will be no different.

"Just picture about half of the Astrodome full of water. It's pretty significant in size and yes, we do see these throughout the county. They're popping-up all over the place and it's a good thing because we are very flat here and we just get tremendous amounts of rain in very short periods of time. Basically we want to supplement all of our channel work with detention basins so that we can safely store water on site as opposed to trying to rush it all down stream."

During Ike, more than 30 homes in Kashmere Gardens flooded. The project to widen and deepen Hunting Bayou could take years, but will eventually shrink the 100-year flood plain.

"There's a pretty large 100-year flood plain associated with Hunting Bayou. And basically what that means is that anytime we get a 100-year flood, Hunting Bayou is not capable of handling that kind of rain in many locations and so you have a flood plain that's pretty spread-out and affects people who live near Hunting Bayou. As we widen and deepen this channel, we're shrinking that flood plain. We're bringing it into the banks of Hunting Bayou so that it will be able to handle larger amounts of rain and so we won't see as much flooding as we do today."

Hunting Bayou is about 16 miles long and empties into the Houston Ship Channel.
Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...