Crews are working to unclog tributaries and bayous snaking through Dickinson to reduce the risk of flooding nearly two years after Hurricane Harvey caused significant damage to the Houston suburb.
The August 2017 storm dumped about 50 inches of rain on Dickinson, a city of nearly 20,000.
Mayor Julie Masters said the cleanup isn't merely a beautification project, but also an opportunity to ease residents' fears about potential future flooding, the Galveston County Daily News reported.
"This should have been done years ago," Masters said. "Residents are absolutely happy to finally see something happening. Planning for this has taken months and months and months."
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Chris Heard, the city's administrator, said this month's work from crews at Alabama-based CrowderGulf Disaster Recovery & Debris Removal is the latest effort in a $3 million plan to revamp the Dickinson waterways.
The city has expanded the de-snagging project to include creeks and tributaries that feed into Dickinson Bayou through additional public and private funding, he added.
Zach Davidson, spokesman for Galveston County, said the county approved spending $150,000 in June to help fund the ongoing work.
The second stage of the project to reduce flood risks in Dickinson was launched this month, with crews working their way through the tributaries feeding into Dickinson Bayou, Heard said. By project's end, crews will clear debris from about 24,000 linear feet of waterway.
Heard said removing all of the debris from Dickinson's bayous, creeks and tributaries is a vital initial step toward decreasing flood risk, but it can't be the last.
Future maintenance will be equally important, he said.
"Ideally, my goal is for folks to see the vision, and then have someone like CrowderGulf do this annually for one-tenth the cost," Heard said. "Then the maintenance, rather than a month, will take a week of work."