On January 14, 2013 CFC representatives Emmanuel Flatten, Steve Spence, Nick Watson, Robert Chamberlain, Shirley Solis, Tom Parsons, Allen Goodwin & Frank Manitzas formally presented a petition with 349 signatures to the Kerr County Commissioner's Court. CFC President Emmanuel Flatten delivered the petition and spoke at length concerning the need for water retention and flood mitigation in the Hill Country. Commissioner Letz stated that Kerr County would assist with any efforts made by Kendall County, and Kenneth Rusch was working toward budgeting funds for such efforts.
Read the meeting minutes below as the CFC engages
our neighboring County Commissioners.
The entire meeting's minutes can be found here.
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CFC Agenda Item Begins at Page 66, Line 18 18 JUDGE TINLEY: Motion carries. Okay, we've got a 19 10 o'clock timed item that we blew by, so we've got to go 20 pick that up. Item 16, the presentation of the Flood 21 Mitigation Petition form from residents of the Comfort area, 22 and possible discussion. Commissioner Letz? 23 COMMISSIONER LETZ: Yes, I put this on the agenda. 24 There's -- I think the Court's aware of it; I've talked about 25 it several times. In Comfort, there's some new FEMA maps. 1-14-13 67 1 Comfort has a bit of a flooding problem, and any correction 2 to that problem is going to likely have to be in Kerr County, 3 because it's coming from Cypress Creek and North Creek, 4 especially Cypress Creek. But, anyway, a large group of 5 citizens got together; they asked if they could come present 6 a petition to us to show how important it is to that area, 7 and I said certainly. And I'll turn it over to Mr. Flatten 8 and Mr. Spence. 9 MR. FLATTEN: I've got my public participation 10 form. I'm not sure who the clerk is here. Seems like you're 11 overqualified to be the clerk, Judge. 12 JUDGE TINLEY: I end up with it anyway. Thank you, 13 sir. Don't assume that. [Laughter] 14 MR. FLATTEN: I would like to thank the 15 Commissioners and Judge Tinley for their time and their 16 consideration. I'm here -- my name is Emmanuel Flatten; I'm 17 here from Comfort Floodplain Coalition, a grassroots 18 organization consisting of citizens. We have no formal 19 membership, but our response has been quite positive, and 20 numerous folks have -- have shown their support by attending 21 our meetings and signing this petition. We have here a 22 petition which I'll present to you momentarily with 349 23 signatures. We're constantly garnering more, so the number 24 is actually greater, but we can't afford a photocopy every 25 time we get another signature. I'll begin by reading the 1-14-13 68 1 petition itself. 2 We, the undersigned citizens of Kerr and Kendall 3 Counties, having been impacted by repetitive flooding within 4 the Guadalupe River Basin, hereby petition the leaders of 5 Kerr and Kendall County to first study, then facilitate 6 mitigation as deemed necessary by these studies. The 7 communities of Comfort, Waring, Sisterdale, Bergheim, Spring 8 Branch, and Canyon Lake having sustained numerous floods in 9 recent history, along with loss of life and property, have 10 recognized the need for structural mitigations such as flood 11 control dams on tributaries of the Guadalupe River. In order 12 to protect the health, safety, and welfare of these 13 residents, it is imperative that the counties coordinate 14 their efforts to maximize the effectiveness of flood 15 mitigation activities undertaken. In addition to flood 16 control, this study should consider the benefits of these 17 flood mitigation activities that they may have for water 18 quality and enhancement and water availability within this 19 segment of the Guadalupe River. Now, therefore, we, the 20 undersigned, petition the Commissioners Court of both Kerr 21 and Kendall County to advocate for support and participate in 22 all aspects of flood control studies, mitigation, and water 23 enhancement projects along this segment of the Guadalupe 24 River Basin. Further, we hereby respectfully request that 25 these studies be implemented as quickly as possible. 1-14-13 69 1 So, that's the -- the request signed in this 2 petition. We understand that since then, there have been 3 efforts to create an A.S.R., or aquifer storage and recovery 4 system, or at least begin the process of studying such a 5 solution. Now, this will obviously increase our water 6 supply, which we know is in dire need of attention. In my 7 handout here -- which I'll present to the clerk, I suppose? 8 Here you are, sir. 9 JUDGE TINLEY: Thank you. 10 MR. FLATTEN: We lay out some of the studies -- or 11 one of the studies done by AECOM, a large engineering firm, 12 which resulted in showing western Kendall County at a 36 13 percent deficit in needs of water supply. So, this is not 14 just within Kendall County. Similar shortages are shown in 15 the entire area. So, we agree that some type of water -- 16 surface water resource is necessary. So, we commend the 17 Commissioners Court of Kerr County and Kendall County, as 18 well as the other signators of the memorandum of 19 understanding, M.O.U., for moving forward on this project. 20 We see that in -- in other areas, multipurpose structures are 21 often built, structures that not only serve for surface water 22 retention or aquifer reclamation, but inherently, any time 23 you hold back water, you are improving the flood situation 24 downstream. 25 Flooding is not a city-wide, a neighborhood-wide, a 1-14-13 70 1 county-wide issue. It's regional by nature. Anything you do 2 at the headwaters benefits or affects everyone downstream. 3 So, having the counties and various municipal organizations 4 working together is very exciting and encouraging for us, and 5 we're asking that not only do we look into surface water 6 resources, but also the benefits of flood mitigation that can 7 be combined with this. Now, I'd like to formally thank 8 Commissioner Jonathan Letz for his attention to -- to our 9 organization, and the members of our organization. He's come 10 and given us a wealth of information. Our understanding from 11 last Saturday's meeting a couple of days ago is that in this 12 stage of seeking study grants and funding, you cannot combine 13 the two benefits of water resource for industrial and 14 personal use with flood mitigation. Now, in the past, that 15 has been a goal or a benefit. We're very surprised that that 16 has changed. So, we encourage at whatever stage you can 17 merge these two benefits, that that is taken into account and 18 -- and done. 19 Just to briefly look over the handout that I handed 20 forward, flood control structures work well. We have over 21 2,000 dams in Texas. And whether you call them dams or flood 22 mitigation structures or A.S.R.'s, they basically hold water 23 when we are in surplus, and release water when we're in 24 deficit, right? Rather than have a water supply that's like 25 an ocean wave, we have -- we mediate or moderate that -- that 1-14-13 71 1 resource. Having over 2,000 of these, we know they work 2 well. According to a 2002 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 3 report, between 1991 and 2000, nine years, flood damages 4 totaled $45 billion. Considerable amount. But a further 5 $208 billion in damages were averted entirely by the A.C.E. 6 flood control projects, those Corps of Engineers projects. 7 Between 1940 and 2000, 60 years, the Army Corps of Engineers 8 spent 100 billion on flood control. So, in nine years, we 9 more than covered our investment of the past 60 years. So, 10 we know they work. The numbers -- the numbers are there. 11 And by the sheer number of them in Texas, we know they work. 12 And all the way upstream of Comfort, I don't know 13 of a single flood control structure on Cypress Creek. I 14 could be wrong, but it's overdue. It's been a difficult 15 thing to do in the past, and folks have tried. But Comfort 16 is in an interesting situation. We're not incorporated, so 17 we have no gathered voice inherently locally. Also, we're 18 right on the county line, so anything to be done in our -- to 19 benefit our community has to be done in your county, and 20 that's why we're here before you today. In 1984, there was a 21 pre-application study done to determine the feasibility of 22 assistance for the Cypress Creek, and we received this from, 23 I believe, the Soil and Water Conservation District here in 24 Kerr County, and they proposed four different structures. 25 One of the structures showed a cost benefit ratio of .78 to 1-14-13 72 1 1, which is very, very close to the one-to-one needed at the 2 time. I know that things have changed a little bit since 3 then, but very, very close. Recently, there was a dam 4 completed on the dry Comal Creek, and it received a .49 to 1 5 cost benefit ratio, yet now they have that flood control 6 structure. So, it seems that we were so close before, just 7 with a preliminary study, and I'm sure that the 178 homes 8 taken into account now, there would be a lot more homes in 9 that study, therefore showing a greater cost benefit ratio if 10 we were to move forward on something like that. 11 MR. SPENCE: Ask for questions. 12 MR. FLATTEN: If Steve has nothing to add 13 currently, I'd like to open it up to questions from the 14 Court. 15 JUDGE TINLEY: Any member of the Court have any 16 questions for these gentlemen? 17 COMMISSIONER MOSER: So this is for Cypress Creek 18 only? 19 MR. SPENCE: Not necessarily. North Creek also 20 contributes to flooding in Comfort, as, of course, does the 21 Guadalupe River. But the Guadalupe River, we understand, is 22 off-limits. 23 COMMISSIONER MOSER: The Guadalupe River is 24 off-limits? 25 JUDGE TINLEY: G.B.R.A. 1-14-13 73 1 COMMISSIONER LETZ: Well, primarily because it's -- 2 when I visited with them, and from what I understand, trying 3 to do any kind of a flood -- any structure on Guadalupe River 4 almost cannot be done, just because of the -- you'll have to 5 get every water rights owner downstream on board, and the 6 likelihood of that happening is very, very slim. 7 COMMISSIONER MOSER: But that's not true for 8 Cypress Creek? 9 COMMISSIONER LETZ: Cypress Creek's -- it's a 10 tributary, but it's a lot less -- it's probably easier to do 11 something in Cypress Creek or North Creek. 12 MR. FLATTEN: Our flooding issues occur when both 13 Cypress Creek and the Guadalupe flooding are combined. 14 Solving one issue or the other, one of -- one of either 15 watercourse will greatly benefit the area. 16 COMMISSIONER OEHLER: 'Cause the Guadalupe holds 17 back -- 18 COMMISSIONER MOSER: Sure. 19 MR. FLATTEN: Cypress can't drain. 20 COMMISSIONER MOSER: So, the thing that's 21 specifically being requested is -- 22 COMMISSIONER LETZ: Really, at this point, it's 23 just a petition to know -- I think it's for us to be aware of 24 the problem. The solution is really being -- at the present 25 time, anyway, Kendall County is kind of in the driver's seat 1-14-13 74 1 on it. They are looking at various grants, feasibility 2 studies. And I have told them that, you know, we would 3 certainly be interested in supporting them on those 4 endeavors. It's much more of a Kendall County issue, though 5 the solution is going to be in Kerr County. I think that we, 6 you know, certainly would work with them. If Comfort does 7 become incorporated, it will be both incorporated in Kerr and 8 Kendall County, so it's going to be -- you know, that could 9 happen down the road. Hopefully it will. So, I think this 10 is kind of just more of an informational item to keep it on 11 our forefront. 12 COMMISSIONER MOSER: Okay. 13 COMMISSIONER LETZ: And there are grants that we're 14 looking at. There was a grant that was due -- or the 15 deadline was the end of -- or the 20th of January, but it was 16 a 50-50 match, and Kendall County didn't have any money 17 budgeted for it. And, obviously, we didn't. And so they -- 18 they couldn't go forward on that grant. They're looking at 19 some other -- for next year, they're planning on putting 20 money, hopefully, in Kendall County's budget, according to 21 Commissioner Rusch, you know, to proceed with these grants, 22 'cause some of them -- they all are have some sort of county 23 contribution. Anyway, thank y'all. 24 MR. SPENCE: Thank you very much, and here's the 25 petition. 1-14-13 75 1 JUDGE TINLEY: And we'll accept your petition, sir. 2 Thank you. 3 MR. SPENCE: And we're grateful for your attention. 4 COMMISSIONER LETZ: Thank you.