The Watershed Protection Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working together to buy out flood-prone homes within the Onion Creek Forest, Onion Creek Plantation and Yarrabee Bend neighborhoods.
We have partnered with the Corps of Engineers since 1999 to find solutions to flooding in the Onion Creek watershed. Our joint study recommended buying out 483 homes in the 25-year floodplain, restoring the riparian areas along Onion Creek and converting the area to a park.
The homes in the project area were selected due to their high risk of flooding. These neighborhoods experienced serious flooding in 1998, 2001 and 2013. At the time of the Halloween Flood, we had already purchased 323 homes, greatly reducing the number of people impacted by the flood.
Funding was designated to be shared 35% locally and 65% federally. The U.S. Congress authorized the project in 2007, but federal funding was not approved until March 2014. As a result, the City has spent more than its 35% share.
In March 2014, $11.8 million in federal funding was approved for the City and Travis County. The details of the partnership agreement will be worked out in the coming weeks.
Recovery Buyout Program: Includes the buyout of 116 homes in the project area. The process is ongoing, with 88 offers made, 65 accepted and 9 closings as of March 5, 2014.
Remaining Corps of Engineers Buyouts: 44 properties remain in the project area. The recent federal funding may be used to begin these buyouts. It may not be enough to buy all the properties this year. Property owners will be contacted directly by us as funding becomes available for their properties.
Outside the Project Area: An additional 371 structures in these neighborhoods are at risk of flooding in a 100-year storm. We are diligently pursuing funding to buy out these houses.