Residential community implements shoreline restoration project after flooding issues
As the Houston area continues to grapple with problems associated with flooding, one suburban residential community took matters into its own hands by implementing an innovative shoreline repair and restoration project.
The board of the Brazoria County MUD 23 in the Lakes of Highland Glen community had been watching for years as shorelines along canals and lakes began eroding, putting homes at risk of flooding and creating dangerous conditions for residents.
These problems were ongoing but really came to light when Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain on the area. This super storm accelerated the damage and erosion, causing concern among homeowners whose views now included collapsed land rather than scenic waterfront vistas. In addition, areas once used for leisure strolls were being avoided due to injuries sustained due to unstable land.
This storm further raised awareness that the area’s infrastructure was clearly inadequate and that future storms would cause more extensive damage along the city and suburban area’s extensive network of bayous, canals and retention ponds. With 100-year storms hitting every two to three years, there is now an urgency in Houston to change zoning and coding regulations and respond with safeguards that prevent property damage and save lives.
It’s important to note that shoreline erosion is a natural, gradual and inevitable phenomena resulting from the continual lapping of water against the banks. Without continual monitoring, the results can be catastrophic, eventually resulting in home destruction by flooding. Unstable and collapsed land can also create dangerous conditions for homeowners and those operating heavy equipment.
This scenario is certainly not unique to Houston. It is a concern for cities throughout the world which are monitoring climate change, rising sea levels and aging infrastructure. In recent years, New York City suffered flood damage from Superstorm Sandy. Inland communities in North Carolina were flooded due to swelling rivers.
The problems are likely to continue.
The Lakes of Highland Glen, a 550-acre master-planned community with 835 lots ranging in size from two acres to more than 20 acres located in Pearland, Texas, took note and turned to Double Oak Erosion (www.doubleoakerosion.com) and LJA Engineering to plan and implement an erosion control and repair initiative. Located in Houston, Texas, this firm has implemented many of these efforts and is regarded as a leader in the field.
After significant research, Double Oak Erosion selected SOX Erosion Solutions (www.soxerosion.com) due to its long-lasting and eco-friendly erosion control technology. The firm owns several patents for its DredgeSOX and ShoreSOX products, which have been installed throughout North America and Europe.
The plan called for the installation of close to 4,500 linear feet to restore three to six feet of shoreline that had collapsed into the lakes. The ShoreSOX product was used since it wasn’t practical to deploy DredgeSOX, which involves dredging sediment from lake bottoms. Many clay-lined lake bottoms in the Houston area aren’t appropriate for dredging.
“The MUD district had tried other solutions, which didn’t prove to be effective,” said Sam Cocke, sales manager of Double Oak Erosion. “The ShoreSOX product was the most appropriate for a variety of reasons. It was installed in a matter of weeks, was the most affordable and actually re-created the original shoreline.”
The resulting aesthetic value was also key in the decision and preferable to cement seawalls and rocks placed along the shores.
Once filled with sediment, the DredgeSOX material is secured, molded to the original shoreline and gradually sloped. Once landscaping is in place, there is absolutely no evidence of the repair and restoration.
As a Certified Service Provider (CSP) for the SOX systems, Double Oak Erosion is considering these products for other potential jobs in the Houston area.
“The SOX products are new to the Houston area,” said Ryan Leeds, managing partner of SOX Erosion Solutions. “There is considerable interest in the dangers of shoreline erosion resulting from the unique challenges these HOAs are experiencing.”
These challenges include:
Homes built in swampy areas
Potential for extreme rainfall
High clay content which prevents water absorption
Flat landscape, preventing drain off
Aging infrastructure that hasn’t kept pace with rapid growth
“We also found that the SOX product had less impact on the homeowners since we didn’t have to use heavy equipment,” added Cocke. “There was no threat of damaging lawns or tearing up irrigation systems and cable lines, as is frequently the case with other shoreline repair alternatives.