Oct 14, 2019

FEMA Approves Initial Funding for North Canal Project

The $131 million North Canal project that aims to mitigate flooding in Texas has received initial funding by FEMA. 

The North Canal project that aims to mitigate flooding in Texas has received initial funding  

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved initial funding for a $131 million North Canal project to mitigate flooding. 

The North Canal plays a key role in reducing flooding to the central business district and areas west of downtown, upstream along White Oak and Buffalo bayous. 

Steve Costello, chief recovery officer for the mayor’s office, said that the project would help water flow more freely underneath those bridges and reduce flooding risks for as many as 1,000 homes, reported the Houston Chronicle.

The North Canal Bypass would cut a new 1,300-ft channel just upstream of the spot where White Oak converges with Buffalo Bayou. The channel would give the water a second route around a tight bend in the bayou, where the collision of the two streams creates a buildup of roiling water during storms.

The convergence of the White Oak and Buffalo bayous has posed a flooding risk to downtown Houston since the city was founded there in the 19th century, according to the Houston Chronicle. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers first recommended building a canal to divert water from White Oak Bayou in 1940, but it was never built.

“More than two years after Hurricane Harvey, federal government funding is flowing into Houston to save lives and protect property on a massive scale,” the office of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement. “The North Canal is a landmark project, developed by the city, to minimize the devastation that may come with the next big storm.”

The press release states that the local match funding for the federal grant is $25 million from the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority and $20 million each from the city, the Harris County Flood Control District and the Texas Department of Transportation.

The federal funding calls for the project to be completed by 2022.

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