League City Flooding

Flood waters flow down FM 517 between League City and Dickinson on Tuesday afternoon Aug. 29.


The next flood that hits League City will damage homes again, so engineers are planning ways to minimize the harm and looking for money to do it.

League City has a $9.62 billion wish list of flood mitigation projects the city staff compiled for state and federal officials.

But the item on top of the list is the proposed coastal spine storm-surge barrier, which accounts for $9 billion.

The remaining $120.45 million is for drainage projects in League City, including ditches, streams and retention ponds.

City staff members sent the list of prioritized projects for flood mitigation to Rebuild Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott’s task force, which is overseeing Hurricane Harvey recovery.

“We’ve gone through a pretty horrific rain event,” City Manager John Baumgartner said.

Hurricane Harvey challenged League City’s drainage system from neighborhoods to ditches to the Clear Creek and the Dickinson Bayou watersheds that flow into Galveston Bay.

Harvey made landfall Aug. 25 in Rockport, about 200 miles south of League City, but in the 72 or so hours that followed, it dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some parts of the area, swelling creeks and bayous and flooding 7,700 homes in the community.

Those 7,700 flooded homes represent about 23 percent of the city’s residences, Assistant City Manager Bo Bass said. Of the 7,700 homes, 1,450 had major damage with at least 18 inches of water inside, Bass said.

The money to make items on the wish list a reality could come from several sources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In addition to state and federal offices, League City also is waiting on the Nov. 7 result of the Galveston County bond election, Baumgartner said.

The proposed $82 million bond issue includes $6 million for drainage projects. Those projects include a proposed regional detention pond in Dickinson Bayou, something of particular interest to Baumgartner and to League City.

Subdivisions not built on the shores of Clear Creek still flooded during Harvey. Many of those neighborhoods, such as Bayridge and Oaks of Clear Creek, drain into Dickinson Bayou. Bayridge drains into Gum Bayou, which drains into Dickinson Bayou, while Oaks of Clear Creek drains into Bradshaw Road Ditch and Benson Ditch, then Benson Bayou and then drains into Dickinson Bayou.

The city also has drainage projects and studies listed in its capital improvement program.

The city has allocated $300,000 in that program to look at drainage problems and figure out solutions, Baumgartner said.

And the city is also asking the Texas Department of Transportation to look at the designs of bridges spanning Clear Creek and Dickinson Bayou to see whether engineers can consider ways to allow floodwater to flow.

Valerie Wells: 409-683-5246; valerie.wells@galvnews.com



(4) comments

PD Hyatt

Great wish list, but it doesn't do a thing for the rest of Galveston County as it looks like it is for the north county only.... But speaking of the so called coastal spine, I do wonder where everyone thinks that money to going to come from? Our Nation is bankrupt and I doubt that our state and local areas can come up with that kind of money.... But dreams are good, even though some can turn into a nightmare!

Ray Taft

According to this article, League City is looking for funding for drainage projects within the city. And the city is looking to get County bond money. Where's the bond money for unincorporated Bacliff? Who's looking out for the Bacliff Villas subdivision?

It is not widely known that the Villas had such a devastating flood during Harvey. It is also not well known that the Villas has had a storm drain problem for more than five years. What is known is that Galveston County knew of the drainage problem for years and has not fixed it. In May 2012, the county completed a camera run on the storm drain pipes in the Villas. Mike Fitzgerald, County Engineer at the time, found that the drains needed repair.

For the past several months some streets in the Villas routinely flooded during moderate rain. Heavy rain caused flooding on most streets. The county knew about it, and they knew that the only way to stop the flooding was to fix the drainage problem. Lee Crowder, Director of Road and Bridge, stated so in his February 2017 email that he sent to me and to county officials.

Instead of using county funds, the county has been seeking FEMA approval to repurpose FEMA funds to fix the Villa’s drainage problem. Those FEMA funds have not materialized because the problem remains unrepaired. Nevertheless, the county keeps reporting that FEMA funding is pending and will now probably take shape in the next year. According to the county, FEMA was stalling. I contacted Sen. Cornyn in September. His office reported that the Senator was unaware of any FEMA funding for Bacliff Villas. Their opinion was that FEMA funds should be available, but that it was a county issue.

Property owners in unincorporated Bacliff pay county taxes too. Why didn’t the county use county funds? Where is the FEMA funding? Why couldn’t the county fix the problem before it caused devastating flooding?

Ron Shelby

At $120M for city drainage projects, that's a bond issue they can do and have their citizens, developers, etc... pay for. Not the rest of the county. Let's keep the feds focused on the spine project.

Carol Dean

Ron, did you move back to Texas or is that a mouse in your pocket when you say "let's"?

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