Four-year effort leads to grant, loan from Texas Water Development Board;
Project will address frequent flooding along Research Forest Drive
THE WOODLANDS, Texas, July 14, 2022 – Six municipal utility districts (MUDs) of The Woodlands cooperated to win first-time state funding for a local drainage improvement project intended to improve frequent flooding along Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands Water Agency said today.
The Texas Water Development Board recently finalized funding assistance for a project estimated at $11.3 million. With committed funding participation from five other MUDs, Montgomery County MUD 67 secured a $1.13 million grant and a $6.55 million zero-interest, 30-year loan for the Bear Branch/Panther Branch and Research Forest Drive drainage improvement project. Planned drainage and flooding improvements will occur near The Woodlands High School, and in the Twinberry, Capstone, Morning Cloud, Shadow Point, Quiet Oak, Lake Mist and Morning Cloud neighborhood areas.
James M. Stinson, general manager of The Woodlands Water Agency, said, “The project will provide much-needed drainage and flooding relief for nearby homes, church and school properties, and it will allow Research Forest Drive to remain open for public safety vehicles and other essential traffic during major rain events.”
The drainage improvements will include channel modifications to areas in Bear Branch and Panther Branch. The work proposed will better define the natural channel cross sections in areas upstream of Gosling Road along Panther Branch and around The Woodlands High School for Bear Branch.
The four-year effort to secure TWDB funding included cooperation and financial participation with MUD 67 from MUDs 60, 47, 46, 7 and Metro Center MUD according to Roland Johnson, president of MUD 67.
“This project shows the strong cooperation of our local MUD partners and the Texas Water Development Board,” Johnson said. “We’re working hard in MUD 67 to provide cost-effective, excellent service to our customers through smart planning and maintenance of our resources. We look forward to seeing major improvements to the drainage along Research Forest Drive and several neighborhoods that have routinely been impacted by major storm events.”
The channel modifications are planned to maintain a natural setting, Johnson said, with enough modifications to achieve substantial lowering of the high-water elevations during major storm events. Two detention ponds are also planned on the Bear and Panther stream channels, just upstream of Gosling Road.
Stinson added, “This project is the first of its kind in The Woodlands. Our MUD leaders pursued this innovative, cost-effective drainage solution for four years and we are grateful for a good partner in the TWDB. Reducing the threat of flooding along Research Forest Drive is a win for the community.”
The project developed out of Texas Senate Bill 7 which passed in 2019, allowing the TWDB to enter into agreements with political subdivisions to support flood planning and mitigation, and infrastructure improvements.
The Woodlands Water Agency serves 10 MUDs in Montgomery County that provide water services in The Woodlands. More information is available at woodlandswater.org.