Homeowners Living in Burton Creek Floodplain Cleaning Up 1 Week Later

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

Some parts of our area are still recovering from heavy rain last Sunday that flooded some streets and homes. At least seven homeowners along Burton Creek in Bryan saw floodwaters enter their homes and do a lot of damage. Since the creek is classified as a wetland habitat, city officials say there's not much they can do to keep it from flooding again.

"We really didn't think it would happen that fast,” said Hannah Dodge.

One week after the storm Hanna Dodge and her family are still recovering, and judging by the size of the mess, will be for quite some time. Dodge says early Sunday morning when the heavy rain fell, the entire first floor of her 3,000 square foot Bryan home was filled with water within 20 minutes.

“We were sloshing in water to get things off the ground and at that point I told everyone to get upstairs because we were barefoot and in our pajamas and I didn't want to get electrocuted,” Dodge said.

Construction crews have been gutting the first floor. Neighbors say the flooding happens frequently, and when it does -- it's catastrophic.

“Certainly it is repetitive and severe flooding that we have seen at that residence and the surrounding residence next to them,” said Bryan City Engineer Paul Kaspar.

There are at least seven other homeowners that have homes that back up to Burton Creek off of Willow Bend here in Bryan -- and each say -- they want answers. Their house is just one of about a dozen that sits on the edge of Burton Creek in Bryan, a creek that's governed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“If it is because the creek is a natural habitat, than I take offense because we're not protected," said Dodge.

Bryan City Engineer Paul Kaspar says the Dodge's home in particular is sitting on a floodplain, so when it rains even a little bit -- it floods.

“Consultants wanted to focus on either elevating the structures or buying them out and turning them into green space,” said Kaspar. "Their house was built in the 1960s and FEMA didn't issue the flood maps until the 1980s and so these homes were built without benefit of knowledge of knowing where that floodplain was so they were built lower than the flood plain elevation and so they see flooding at a very small storm event, so when they have a big storm event it is significant to those structures."

The city would have to apply for the federal grant that would in return buy the Dodge's home out from under them -- which isn't a guarantee; and Kaspar says they'd have to elevate the home anywhere from one to five feet -- which isn't a cheap fix.

Some residents are under the impression the creek is a wet-land area that houses a protected species, however, Bryan City Engineer Paul Kaspar says since the wetland area is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, it could take years to get a permit to widen the creek, if that's even approved. But according to Kaspar, for the Dodge’s particular situation, studies show that change wouldn't be effective since they are located in a flood plain.

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