Jenna Armstrong, President & CEO of Lake Houston Area Chamber
It’s been a year since Hurricane Harvey and what work has been done to help our area recover and become more resilient? If you ever doubted our community’s leadership or resiliency, take a look at the initiatives launched and goals achieved by members of the Lake Houston Area Recovery Task Force.
Task Force Timeline of Accomplishments To Date:
• Lake Houston Area Chamber Board approves proposal to create the Long Term Recovery Task Force
• At the request of Houston City Council Member Dave Martin, Chamber Board approves the Recovery Task Force executing a community-wide letter writing campaign to the governor
• RecoverLakeHouston.org site is launched to house all community recovery news and advocacy campaigns
• “Plea For Three Lake Houston” community letter writing launched requesting the governor and state officials take action on three items: 1. Representation: Add three board members to the San Jacinto River Authority representing our communities; 2. Remediation: Funding to dredge Lake Houston and the San Jacinto River and to cease illegal sand mining operations; 3. Reduction: Reduce the pooling level of Lake Conroe from 201 feet above sea level to 198 feet
• Endorsements of support for the Plea For Three received from: City of Humble, Houston City Councilman Dave Martin, State Representative Dan Huberty, State Representative Kevin Roberts
• Recovery Task Force representatives meet with Jace Houston, Executive Director of the San Jacinto River Authority
• Chamber CEO and EDP President speak with Governor Abbott and discuss Plea For Three initiatives
• Gov. Abbott appoints two Kingwood residents to the SJRA Board
• Gov. Abbott tweets regarding the announcement of SJRA board appointees stating “I have heard your Plea for 3” and “more will be announced soon to help you with remediation”
• “Plea To See” Campaign is launched requesting the Governor, Lt. Governor and GLO Commissioner tour the sand-clogged waterways of the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston
• 1,000 emails were sent in less than one week
• Governor Abbott is the first to visit on March 15. A press conference is held where he announced the following:
– Using Hazard Mitigation Funds, the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) has authorized $3 million to jumpstart the engineering and permitting process to determine where dredging should on the San Jacinto River and a $2 million for a regional study focused on the San Jacinto River watershed to prevent future flooding; 134 voluntary buyouts in Kingwood and nearby Forest Cove; Instructing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to investigate and take action against sand mining operations violating regulations; Directing the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) to immediately identify what can be done to prevent flood events along the West Fork of the river, implement immediate and long-term solutions to protect lives and property of Texans living in the watershed and identifying funding to implement a long-term plan that better protects areas downstream of Lake Conroe.
• GLO Commissioner Bush tours the Lake Houston Area on March 22
• Lt. Governor Dan Patrick tours the Lake Houston Area on April 4 – Plea To See Campaign wraps up
• SJRA announces Chuck Gilman as their new Director of Flood Management
• Governor Abbott announces emergency dredging to begin in May or June
• SJRA proposed lowering of Lake Conroe by 2 ft on a season basis
• Army Corps of Engineers announces they will handle the emergency dredging project
• City of Houston and SJRA receive approval from TCEQ to seasonally lower Lake Conroe
• In preparation for the Harris Co. Flood Bond, the “Plea For DDG” Campaign is launched urging “Dredging, Detention, and Gates” be included in the bond package for the San Jacinto Watershed.
• HCFCD adds a Partnership Project on bond list for gates on the Lake Houston dam; dedicating $20 million in funding
• San Jacinto Watershed Community Meeting held at Kingwood Park High School had record attendance of 710 people
• HCFCD adds a potential Partnership Project on the bond program for dredging dedicating $10 million in bond funding
• Houston Water, SJRA & Coastal Water Authority release Joint Reservoir Operations Plan to lower water levels at Lake Conroe
• August 1 SJRA began reducing the level of Lake Conroe
• Final list of Harris Co. Flood Bond projects including Dredging, Detention and Gates were passed at Commissioner’s Court
• Chamber Board endorses the Harris Co. Flood Bond and launches #VoteYesLakeHouston campaign.
• Army Corps of Engineers commence emergency dredging operations in the San Jacinto River