Local, Regional & State Planning

 Local Planning

Through CDBG-DR fund administration, the GLO continues to work with communities to conduct local planning efforts following disasters. These important studies, ranging from drainage to economic development, have allowed communities to make informed decisions throughout the long-term recovery process and better prepare for future disasters. The GLO is committed to working with impacted communities to ensure that we collectively rebuild our state smarter and more resilient.

Regional Planning

The GLO has conducted many large-scale studies in disaster-impacted areas to assist communities in their planning efforts. These studies have largely covered infrastructure needs, including the Texas Coastal Infrastructure Study and the Storm Surge Suppression Study. These studies, along with additional studies conducted by the GLO's Coastal Protection Division, have provided an advanced approach to recovery that will better mitigate future disaster damages.

Regional Planning Studies:

  • Regional Planning Study Survey
    The recently completed survey lists the top planning needs received from elected officials representing areas that received a presidential disaster declaration from Hurricane Harvey.  
    Start date: July 2018; Completion date: September 2018
  • Disaster Economic Impact Study
    The University of Texas – McCombs School of Business: The study provided analysis for the Hurricane Harvey Action Plan's Needs Assessment. This has led to further analysis regarding the common effects of disasters and the ability to standardize the economic impact of disasters at a national level.
  • Hurricane Harvey Housing Impacts: 49-County Survey Top-line Findings
    The Bureau of Business Research (BBR), an organized research unit of the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin prepared a proposal for a general population survey of housing needs among residents and victims of the 49 Texas counties affected by Hurricane Harvey. The results of the survey helped the GLO determine the most appropriate housing programs, allocation amounts, and methods of communication based on regional need.
    Start date: June 2018; Completion date: July 2018
  • Disaster Impact Visualization Study
    The University of Texas – Center for Space Research: Through the partnership with the Center for Space Research, the GLO continues to build real-time visualizations of critical disaster data including the Public MOVES Viewer, displaying historical satellite imagery from Hurricane Harvey and other events, giving communities the ability to observe the events and make more informed planning decisions. 
    Start date: March 2018; Completion date: August 2019

  • Regional Drainage Data Collection and Oversight
    Through a competitive bid process, the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) was awarded a contract to gather and organize data focusing on regional oversight and the coordination of the drainage infrastructure in Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Newton, Orange, Tyler, Polk, Liberty, and Chambers Counties.  They are performing community outreach activities, collecting and analyzing existing data, and informing local communities and community leaders, on behalf of the GLO, of recommended actions to take based on the data analysis.
    Start date: April 2019, Completed: December 2019

Ongoing Studies

To provide an efficient and effective method of selecting and executing planning studies following Hurricane Harvey, the GLO will work with Texas universities and vendors to conduct studies with CDBG-DR funds.

  • Texas Disaster Information System (TDIS) - The University of Texas at Austin was selected to help the GLO design and oversee a system capable of housing and securing the state’s disaster data needs. UT will assist the GLO in establishing the necessary framework and processes to collect, organize, process, analyze, and distribute disaster data for the State of Texas. The Texas Disaster Information System is a critical tool for the state to assist Texas communities in the development of better disaster recovery and mitigation plans. Upon completion of TDIS setup, Texas A & M University will house the disaster database.
    Start date: June 2019

  • Economic Development Strategy and Diversification Study – The study will develop strategies to expand the economy of coastal counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey beyond tourism to make them more resilient to future impacts while recovering. Hurricane Harvey had a devastating effect on tourism, which is the primary economic source of revenue for multiple counties along the Texas coastline. The study will specifically address deficiencies in the workforce and lost businesses by pairing small towns in the following counties: Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Goliad, Jim Wells, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Victoria.
    Start date: December 2019

  • Disaster Recovery Alternative Housing Study – The study will analyze and evaluate alternative housing options to determine if innovative solutions exist for accommodating disaster survivors, including those with low to moderate incomes, that are cost-effective, prudent, secure, and allow for faster construction. The study consists of two phases. In the first phase, Research and Development, will gather, analyze, and evaluate data relating to the resiliency of alternative housing options during extreme weather events to identify innovative solutions for sheltering disaster survivors. Phase 2 will build upon the results of Phase 1 and involves the development of prototypes for several agreed-upon solutions and testing for feasibility of the prototypes during extreme weather events.
    Start Date: January 2020

  • Developing Environmental Responses and Models for Catastrophic Flooding Events – The environmental study will provide stakeholders with data-based tools that will mitigate the accumulation of toxic contaminants in areas affect by major flooding events, such as Hurricane Harvey. The primary objective of the study is to develop an integrated, community-based strategy to alleviate persistent environmental and health impacts resulting from catastrophic flooding. Two locations in Galveston County were chosen as pilot sites, Dickinson Bayou Watershed and the Galveston Incinerator Site on the North Shore of Galveston Island.
    Start Date: June 2020

  • Flood Studies within Combined River Basins – Three regionalized studies, based on Texas’ major river basins, that will evaluate mitigation and abatement strategies in an effort to reduce disaster impacts and increase community resiliency. The studies will consider structural and nonstructural infrastructure improvements, coding and zoning practices, and regional communication and control as each relates to flood control.
    Start Date: September 2020

Proposed Planning Studies

  • Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) Flood Study – A regional flood study, encompassing Hidalgo, Willacy, Cameron, and Starr Counties, will mirror the ongoing Flood Studies within Combined River Basins study. This study will evaluate mitigation and abatement strategies to reduce disaster impacts and increase community resiliency. Flood events and development upstream of HUD Most Impacted and Distressed Areas often contribute to flooding downstream. The studies will consider structural and nonstructural infrastructure improvements, coding and zoning practices, and regional communication and control as each relates to flood control.

  • CHARM Platform Development – The CHARM (Community Health and Resource Management) software is currently bolstering local planning efforts by running scenario planning workshops with local communities. FEMA is funding the resiliency workshops through CHARM, and the GLO is proposing to leverage existing software and make it more readily available. With several technology updates, the CHARM platform will be developing online data deliverables for use by the communities. The GLO is also proposing to continue to fund multi-day technical training sessions to further build planning competence at the local level. When integrated with the disaster database project, this enhancement would provide local communities with the information, tools, and technical expertise to make informed planning decisions.

  • Texas Coastal Flooding Initiative – The GLO is actively coordinating with TWDB/USACE/USGS to ensure that no planning efforts are duplicated. Recent discussions amongst the agencies have led to the generating of several creative solutions for mitigation planning. USGS has already taken the initiative to develop a planning study to better coordinate data collection, visualization, modeling, and disaster planning for state and federal entities. This planning study would align with the Harvey Action Plan by standardizing “methods through regional coordination and planning at a level that has not yet been achieved through CDBG-DR funds in Texas.” In this proposal, a team of leading industry experts will build a comprehensive framework for evaluating flood risk along the coast.