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Hurricane Harvey - Local, Regional & State Planning

Due to the scale of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Texas and the re-occurrence of natural disasters in Harvey-affected regions, the GLO will concentrate on regional approaches in addition to specific local solutions to promote sound long-term recovery.

In addition to enhancing the state’s Disaster Recovery and Response Plan, the GLO has committed to the purposes of planning in the areas that received a received a presidential disaster declaration resulting from Hurricane Harvey, and the completion of some of the projects identified as a result of the studies. Due to the vast nature of the current disaster and the recurring nature of disasters in the region, the GLO will concentrate on regional approaches, in addition to specific local solutions, to promote sound long-term recovery.

The GLO is currently in the process of compiling a list of study needs in the impacted area. Opportunities for regionalization will be considered, and through a formal RFP process, the GLO will work with the Texas universities and vendors to identify qualified experts for specific tasks identified. This process and the availability of planning funds will standardize methods through regional coordination and planning at a level that has not yet been achieved through CDBG-DR funds in Texas.

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.  
  • Storm Surge Suppression Study - In 2013, the GLO entered into an agreement with the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District to develop a storm surge suppression study in accordance with the standards of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The study area consists of the coastal areas around Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson, and Orange counties that could be impacted by future storm surges.  The study investigates options for reducing the vulnerability of the upper Texas coast to hurricane surge and flood damages. 
  • Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan - The Texas Coastal Resiliency Study includes data gathering, analysis, and a summary recommendation for implementation for the GLO regarding the resiliency of the Texas coast. The study identifies physical elements including infrastructure and natural resources which will identify and determine the effectiveness of past recovery projects along the Texas Coast. The study included a list of recommended projects, with an emphasis on CDBG-DR eligibility, that would best improve overall resiliency of the Texas Coast. 
  • Evaluating the Effects of a Coastal Spine: National-Level Economic Ripple Effects of Storm Surge Events – The report describes recent analytical efforts to better quantify indirect benefits of a coastal storm surge protection system for the Galveston Bay region. 
  • Disaster Economic Impact Study – The University of Texas – McCombs School of Business: The GLO partnered with the McCombs School of Business to run analysis for the Hurricane Harvey Action Plan's Needs Assessment. This has lead to further analysis regarding the common effects of disasters and the ability to standardize the economic impact of disasters at a national level.

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.

  • 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. 
  • Measuring, Mapping, and Managing Flood Risk: A Pilot Program in Texas - The General Land Office has entered an interagency agreement with the Texas A&M University System to conduct a study that will measure, map, model and visually present data recorded during historical flood events across Texas. It will then recommend techniques to mitigate future hazards and risks of flooding in targeted regions of Texas affected by the 2016 floods. Many of these areas were again impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The study includes matching funds from FEMA through the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
  • Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Data Management Plan The University of Texas was selected to help GLO-CDR develop and deliver disaster information analytics services and data products applicable to the disaster recovery mission and to maintain the information systems required to collect, organize, process, analyze and distribute disaster data critical to the State of Texas during major disasters. The information products created in this project are developed by analyzing data from past disasters and will benefit Texas communities in the development of better disaster recovery and mitigation plans. 
  • 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 will perform community outreach activities, collect and analyze existing data, and inform local communities and community leaders, on behalf of the GLO, of recommended actions to take based on the data analysis.

Proposed Planning Studies

  • 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.
  • Economic Development Strategy and Diversification Study – A study that will identify and evaluate existing assets and current markets and sectors and provide recommendations for recovery from Hurricane Harvey and economic resiliency against future disasters. The study will be conducted using data from the following counties: Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Goliad, Jim Wells, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Victoria.
  • Disaster Recovery Alternative Housing Study – A study that 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, safe, secure, and allow for faster construction.