This Report provides an update on recovery and mitigation activities related to Hurricane Harvey as well as the flooding events experienced by the County in 2016. New or updated information from previous reports is italicized.
Fort Bend County, TX – On December 17th, 2018, Officials broke ground on the new Fort Bend County Medical Examiner Facility.
The State of Texas mandates that counties with a population of 1 million or more must have a Medical Examiner. With a current population of more than 770,000, Fort Bend County is rapidly approaching this requirement. The feasibility study commissioned by Commissioners Court in 2014, proved the cost benefit to bringing the Medical Examiner services to the County now instead of contracting out to the surrounding areas, and promoted the court to begin construction on the facility this month.
The facility, located on Klauke road next to the new Fort Bend Transportation Center, will consist of two buildings totaling 11,880 sf with space to expand as the County population increases. Fort Bend County is currently looking for a Medical Examiner to operate the facility upon its completion in August.
County Judge Bob Hebert said; “This new facility will enable us to provide medical examiner services to the county with little change in cost, but with a significant improvement in the quality and timeliness of those services.”
Pictured Left to Right: Stantec Project Architect, Doug Joder; Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, Place 1, Gary Janssen; Commissioner Precinct Four, James Patterson; Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert; Commissioner Precinct 1 Vincent Morales; Fort Bend County Facilities Director, James Knight; Crain Group President Brad Crain; Crain Group Vice President John Green.
Fort Bend County Drainage District joins Fort Bend County as Plaintiffs in a filing expected later this week
Houston, Texas — Fort Bend County Commissioners voted during their regular meeting this afternoon to approve a lawsuit that seeks a declaratory judgement from a Federal District Judge regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (“Corps”) operation of the Barker Reservoir. The County and the Fort Bend County Drainage District believe the Corps does not have the legal authority to inundate property the Corps does not own in its operation of the Barker Reservoir.
Together with Fort Bend County Drainage District (together “Fort Bend”), Fort Bend will allege that the Corps knowingly operated the Barker Reservoir, located on the west side of Houston, in a manner that unlawfully flooded land the Corps did not own. The Plaintiffs are seeking to compel the Corps to operate the Barker Reservoir legally and constitutionally, and are not seeking monetary damages.
According to the County, the Corps designed and constructed the Barker Reservoir to protect the City of Houston from flood damages by detaining and storing floodwaters in the Addicks & Barker Reservoirs. But, the Corps failed to acquire sufficient land to store the amount of water the Reservoirs were designed to detain. In its complaint, Fort Bend will allege that the Reservoirs’ design and modifications, combined with the Corps’ standard operating procedures laid out in its Water Control Manual, made it inevitable that the limits of the Corps’ property would be exceeded, thereby flooding land for which the Corps had no property rights upstream of the Barker Reservoir, if the Reservoir reached near full capacity.
According to the Corps’ own analysis, the Corps knew about the inherent risks of its operating procedures, and knew that the possibility of litigation based on its inaction was high. As a result, the Corps’ unlawful policies caused extensive harm during Hurricane Harvey and continue to jeopardize the property rights, economic interests and welfare of Fort Bend County, the Fort Bend County Drainage District and county residents.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the inaction of the Corps, especially intentionally using land upstream it did not own to store water, was unlawful. The lawsuit also seeks an injunction that would prevent further impounding of floodwater on land it doesn’t own upstream of the Barker Reservoir.
“The County is filing suit seeking to require the Corps to follow federal law and its own rules in its operation of the Reservoir,” said Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert.
The suit will be filed on behalf of the Plaintiffs by Texas law firm AL Law Group in the United States Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.
About Fort Bend County
Fort Bend County is located in Southeast Texas and is adjacent to Harris County. Fort Bend County, founded in 1837, has grown to be the tenth-most populous county in Texas. Fort Bend County owns property which was affected by overflow from the Hurricane Harvey floodwater that the government-owned lands within the Barker Reservoir was unable to detain.
About Fort Bend County Drainage District
The primary mission of the Fort Bend County Drainage District (FBCDD) is to maintain the drainage channels, where the District has easements, in their existing flow conditions. This is accomplished through appropriate structural repairs and vegetation control. The District also reviews plats and drainage plans of new development to be approved by Commissioners Court to assure the elimination of an adverse drainage impact on current and future residents. FBCDD owns real and personal property which was affected by overflow from the Hurricane Harvey floodwater that the government-owned lands within the Reservoirs were unable to detain.
About AL Law Group, PLLC
AL Law Group, PLLC is a state and nationally recognized litigation and administrative law firm with offices in Houston and Austin, Texas. Since its formation in 2010, Members Keith Lapeze and David Tuckfield have represented clients throughout Texas, the Gulf Coast, and the entire country in regulatory proceedings, business disputes, commercial litigation, and more.
512.537.1414, ext. 701
FORT BEND COUNTY, TX – On January 11, 2018, Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert participated in a Disaster Response and Recovery Panel at the Texas Conference of Urban Counties Education, Policy and Technology Conference in Corpus Christi. Judge Hebert shared his experience as Fort Bend County Emergency Management Director during Hurricane Harvey with member county officials from across the state. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Nueces County Judge Lloyd Neal also shared the panel.
County Judge Bob Hebert said, “It was obvious that although there was only one Harvey, the storm’s impact manifested its destruction across the disaster area in many different ways. Regardless of whether the damage was driven by the wind, storm surge or the rains, all three counties reinforced their commitment to continue to engage State and Federal agencies for the benefit of those who suffered loss.”