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Residents hope Spring Creek study will bring flood relief

By Melissa Crowe
Aug. 2, 2013 at 3:02 a.m.

A section of Spring Creek located on the back section of the Springwood subdivision barely has  water because of  the drought, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying the flooding patterns of Spring Creek, which had a bad flood in 2007.

COMMUNITIES IN THE STUDY

• Caldwell County: $51,068

• City of Kyle: $96,694

• City of Lockhart: $135,558

• City of Waelder: $46,676

• City of San Marcos: $169,923

• City of Seguin: $63,800

• Comal County: $61,733

• Gonzales County: $120,172

• Hays County: $343,965

• Plum Creek Conservation District: $221,163

• Victoria County: $90,593

• York Creek Improvement District: $189,606

Source: Victoria County Commissioners Court

Every time it rains, Frank Casillas gets a little anxious.

The 72-year-old moved into his home on the end of Tropical Drive in 1989.

His real estate agent was up front that the property was in the floodplain, but Casillas said there was more to the story.

The brick house sits near the banks of Spring Creek.

"I had to learn to swim," Casillas joked.

He said he has tried unsuccessfully for years to get government support in cleaning out the creek. In 2007, about 3 feet of water went through his home.

"When the Guadalupe is full, that's when it backs up here," he said.

He is worried that development to the north along the creek will make matters worse.

"If somebody would clean that creek, it could enhance the flow of the river," Casillas said. "It's already clear from Airline to Vine."

Victoria County Commissioner Kevin Janak hopes a study that will soon be underway by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will help find solutions to ease the flooding issues along Spring Creek.

The county voted in July to partner with the corps in funding a $90,573 comprehensive study of the creek. The county is responsible for $24,032, which includes the cost of the grant application.

The flooding on Spring Creek is not a log jam problem but rather one with overgrowth of trees and brush, Janak said.

"By measuring the amount of water that goes into Spring Creek, we can see how much Spring Creek contributes to the water that goes in the lower basin," he said.

Although he wants to see the study started in the lower basin then move toward the mid-basin where Victoria sits, he supports the Corps of Engineers' efforts.

"When you involve the corps, that's a big gun to assist us in getting federal money to help with clearing out areas that will help the flow of water on Spring Creek," Janak said. "That's why I feel this study is worth the money spent."

Charlie Hickman, an engineer with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, said the study would identify the floodplains along Spring Creek so the county can find options to lessen the damage of future floods.

It will include recommendations to improve Spring Creek and, ultimately, how to alleviate flood damage and a cost-benefit analysis of improvements.

"Flooding is just a natural condition," Hickman said. "Floodplains are an attractive place for people to build and live."

The study is a proactive move by the county, he said.

The information will assist flood plain managers in regulating future growth to ensure flooding will not worsen, Hickman said.

"This is going to be the latest and greatest identification of the flood plain and the most accurate representation of what the flooding conditions are," Hickman said.

Taking in the view from her front window, Mary Anne Menning vividly remembers watching Spring Creek swallow up her neighborhood during the 1998 flood.

Menning, 70, moved into her home on Spring Creek Drive a month before the flood struck.

"I remember watching the golf course flood and thinking, 'What do I need to do to get flood insurance?'"

Although the creek did not enter her home, it came close, but some neighbors were not as lucky.

Despite the drought, increased development and new subdivisions are a source of worry.

"The more concrete that's poured, the more flooding you'll have," she said. "In a drought, people don't think about flooding."

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