Flood Mitigation Task Force Convenes

October 1, 2015  | By Shoal Creek Conservancy

The Flood Mitigation Task Force held their kickoff meeting Tuesday, September 22, 2015. The Task Force is the citizen group created by the Austin City Council after this year’s Memorial Day Floods to gather information and develop recommendations related to citywide and area flooding.

Critical Work: The Conservancy will be closely following the work of this Task Force. As we experienced in May of this year, Shoal Creek is a flashy creek that can rise and flood surrounding areas with little notice, posing a great risk to both life and property. We commend both the City Council and the Task Force members for tackling this extremely important issue in the Shoal Creek watershed and throughout our city. And a special thank you to Ray Canfield, Owner of the Shoal Creek Saloon and Founding Supporter of the Conservancy, for serving on the Task Force.

Meeting Overview: This first meeting was introductory in nature. It began with a brief welcome by Council member Kitchen, introductions by each member, and an overview of the Flood Mitigation Task Force Resolution. City staff then provided a short history of Austin flooding, pointing out that Austin is located in flash flood alley, and highly susceptible to flash flooding. City staff also led a detailed discussion of the Task Force’s scope of work.  The quite impressive scope of work includes reviewing and making recommendations regarding flood mitigation and preparedness strategies; floodplain variance and flood buyout policies; storm water management system operations; and green infrastructure utilization among other important issues. See the agenda from the meeting and the City staff’s powerpoint, which includes an overview of flooding in Austin.

Resources Shared: At the meeting, the City’s Watershed Department office shared a great set of resources about their work and the flood challenges facing our City. We encourage you to take a look. These include:

  • A video slideshow that provides an overview of the Department’s mission and primary functions, basic information about a watershed and the most pressing issues on the horizon.
  • A short document that summarizes what the city and its partners do before, during, and after a flood.
  • A draft of the Master Plan “Problem Score” Viewer, which is a powerful tool currently being developed by the City to allow anyone to view prioritized water quality, erosion and flood problem areas within Austin. You can take a sneak peak of this tool – and better understand the issues facing our watershed – here.

Next Steps: The task force will continue to meet monthly, with a final report being presented no later than March 2016 for final consideration by City Council no later than April 7, 2016. The group anticipates breaking into smaller working groups throughout this period to delve more deeply into particular issues. The next meeting is tentatively set for the second week in October. We’ll continue to update you as the Task Force meets.