September 10, 2015

Media Contacts:
Lauren Laake
(832) 393-3008
[email protected]

Julia Retta
(832) 393-3333
[email protected]
Texas Takes Much-Needed Step Toward Coastal Flooding  
and Storm Surge Protection

Houston, TX - Last week, Texas made a major stride toward protecting our coast from the damage caused by storms and flooding. Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced that the state would begin working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the feasibility of projects to limit flood and storm surge damage.

Council Members Dave Martin and David Robinson support this action to protect the Texas coast and Houston residents and assets. They have worked hard since coming into office to build political will among city, county and state officials to explore and collaborate on possible proactive solutions.

As a native from New Orleans, Louisiana, Council Member Martin is familiar with the devastating effects that storm surge can have on a community. In September 2013, he joined a group of individuals from Harris and Galveston counties and traveled to New Orleans to visit the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. The impressive system was installed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers following Hurricane Katrina, and has been studied to provide similar gated protection along the Texas coast.

The following September, Council Members Martin and Robinson traveled to the Netherlands to study storm surge protection as part of a bipartisan delegation of state legislators and local officials from Southeast Texas and lead by the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. The delegation included Sen. Larry Taylor and Rep. Joe Deshotel, co-chairs of Texas' Joint Interim Committee on Coastal Barrier Systems, as well as Sen. Sylvia Garcia, former Rep. Mary Ann Perez, Rep. Ana Hernandez, former Rep. Bill Callegari, several mayors from Bay Area Houston, and Bob Mitchell, president of BAHEP. As part of their fact-finding trip, the delegation toured the Netherlands' Delta Works project, the largest storm barrier in the world, which reduced the risk of flooding to one in 4,000 years.

After the Netherlands trip, local officials in Houston continued to build public support for storm surge protection. In November 2014, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston's Urban Design Committee and the Houston-Galveston Area Council hosted a panel discussion on coastal resiliency featuring experts from Texas A&M University in Galveston, Rice University's SSPEED Center and the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District. Council Member Martin participated in the event by offering remarks relating to the topic alongside Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Council Member David Robinson and Tom Colbert, a University of Houston professor and chair of the AIA Urban Design Committee. The discussion focused on different solutions for storm surge protection on the Texas coast, with input from public officials and the community.

Texas and Houston need to move quickly to adopt a proactive rather than reactive regional solution that will protect its people and vital industries on the coast from flooding and storm surges. Council Members Martin and Robinson are proud to continue working toward a solution backed by political consensus, public input and good fiscal stewardship.