Watershed Protection has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 1999 to find solutions to flooding in the Onion Creek area. 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 open space.
The homes in the "Corps Project Area" were selected due to their high risk of flooding. Hundreds of properties in the Corps Project Area have been purchased with City of Austin funds. As of April 2017, the City of Austin has received approximately $27 million in funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for this project. This funding has allowed us to proceed with the acquisition of all of the properties in this project area.
Buyout Status in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Area
All 483 properties have been purchased. The project team is currently focused on design of the recreational features and restoration of the natural area.
Ultimately, 190 acres will be restored to a natural state. This type of natural area helps filter pollutants out of runoff and improve water quality. It also helps prevent erosion and provides habitat for a diverse group of animals on land and in the water. An additional 100 acres will be designated for recreation. The Corps is working on plans for the recreational components.
City maintenance begins once we close on a property before the house is demolished. Each house must be tested for asbestos, and if any asbestos is found, it must be properly removed or abated before demolition. The testing and abatement process can sometimes take a few months.
1999: City of Austin and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began studying flooding in the area.
2006: The recommendation for buyouts was completed.
2007: U.S. Congress authorized the project.
March 2014: First federal funds approved.
August 2014: Project Partnership Agreement signed.