Economic Development Study

Economic Development Studies

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is focused on providing Texas communities impacted by natural disasters, such as hurricanes and flooding, with strategies to expand the region's job base and build more sustainable, resilient economies. The economic development studies are funded through Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) allocated to address recovery needs resulting from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the 2019 floods that impacted the Rio Grande Valley.

The current study is being conducted in three HUD-designated eligible counties in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) as a part of the CDBG-DR allocation for the 2019 disasters. The previous study covered nine counties deemed eligible by HUD for funding from a 2017 Hurricane Harvey CDBG-DR grant. The initial Economic Development Strategy and Diversification Study was completed in June 2021.

Current Study
Lower Rio Grande Valley Economic Development Study

The Texas GLO is conducting a 15-month Economic Development Strategy & Diversification Study for the LRGV.

Study Area Counties: Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy Counties in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV)

Project Boundary Map

This study brings together three counties impacted by flooding in 2019 to build an inventory of the economic assets and areas for improvement within the study area, provide economic development strategies, and develop an action plan for creating a diverse and resilient economic base.

Study Goals

  • Identify ways to minimize the economic impact of natural disasters in the LRGV
  • Evaluate what is unique and strong about LRGV and its current economy
  • Create an action plan tailored to the needs of the communities of LRGV
  • Join a statewide effort to collect public information that can be used for future planning
  • This study will work with local leaders and members of LRGV communities to analyze the intersection of resilience and economic development. We will examine how to make the region’s economy more robust and better able to withstand shocks and stresses.

Project Timeline and Phases
The 15-month project is broken into three primary phases:

Phase I: Research and Inventory Development
August 2022 – April 2023

Identify and map out existing and potential county and regional assets and deficits.

Analyze existing or developed demographic, labor force, market, and sector economic data to understand the region's economic strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

Assess each county and the region for economic diversity and resilience such as sector expansion or development, market competitiveness, etc.

Establish sustainable, economic goals and objectives for the region.

Phase II: Create an Economic Diversification Strategy for the Region
March 2023 – July 2023

Based on the goals and objectives developed in Phase I, the team will identify and analyze viable new sustainable, market sectors that could be deepened through targeted investments.

Intersect regional assets with hurricane-vulnerable areas to develop economic diversification strategies for different goal areas.

Analyze the existing workforce composition and equipment, technology, infrastructure, and resources necessary to execute the economic diversification strategy and action plan.

Recommend areas for improvement and identify short-term and long-term initiatives for achieving resilient economic diversification goals.


Phase III: Develop Action Plan
July 2023 – October 2023

The team will further develop the strategies identified in Phase II to outline specific action plans for each strategy to identify potential cost implications, potential funding sources, potential project partners to be involved in the implementation phase, and potential performance measures.

Engagement Opportunities

Input from stakeholders in the 3-county area will help ensure that the study’s outcomes reflect local priorities and that recommended strategies can be implemented. We actively encourage involvement and feedback from community leaders throughout the course of the study. If you live or work in the 3-county study area and would like to know more, please email our project team at

Study Report 

Completed Study

Nine County Economic Development Strategy & Diversification Study

Study Area Counties: Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Goliad, Jim Wells, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Victoria

The Texas General Land Office conducted an Economic Development Strategy and Diversification Study covering nine South Texas counties from January 2020 - March 2021. The study examines workforce, infrastructure, education, and housing, among other areas, to develop strategies that diversify and strengthen local economies against future storms.

Study Reports
Study Videos

The findings have been summarized in four videos that aim to help residents and businesses in the region use the 23 strategies in the plan for their future economic success.  
  • Introduction to the Study 
  • Addressing Storms and other Shocks with Resilient Solutions 
  • Growing Our Economic Success 
  • Attracting Families and Visitors 

Youtube Study Playlist