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Study could find cause of Crossroads river flooding

By DAVID TEWES
Nov. 8, 2010 at 5:08 a.m.


What's the story?Property owners believe flooding along the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers lasts longer and occurs more frequently than in the past.

A $2 million grant is being sought to find the cause of the problem and come up with a solution.

Victoria, Calhoun and Refugio counties would collaborate on the study.

A three-county area is hoping to find the cause of and solutions for prolonged and more frequent flooding on the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers.

The Victoria County Commissioners Court voted Monday to apply for a $2 million state grant to study the flooding problem and find answers.

Victoria would collaborate with Calhoun and Refugio counties on the project. Victoria County Commissioner Kenny Spann, whose precinct is subject to flooding, said the project is a needed one.

"There is widespread damage there and it has been ongoing for years," he said. "Hopefully, this can be corrected in the very near future."

Landowners have said in the past the river would flood and the water would recede in four or five days. Now, they say, those floods last four to five months.

The prolonged flooding is a problem that has developed throughout the past 10 to 20 years. It causes cattle to drown, keeps ranchers from being able to reach their livestock, affects freshwater flows into bays and estuaries, and kills hundreds of oak and pecan trees that clog the river.

Speculation about the cause of the problem ranges from a saltwater barrier downstream from Victoria, to logjams, to releases of floodwater from Canyon Lake.

Joyce Dean, the county's director of Administrative Services, said the county applied for the competitive grant before and just missed getting the money.

She said if it's successful this time, the study would include the Guadalupe River from U.S. 59 to the San Antonio Bay and the San Antonio River from the Victoria-Goliad county line downstream.

The money would come from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant and wouldn't require a local money match.

"We want to do a hydrological study to determine the cause of long-term flooding and what would be available to restore the river to the natural flows," Dean said. "It won't pay for the solution, but it will identify the cost, which will identify options for solutions."

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