This feasibility study will assess possible solutions to flooding along Shoal Creek between 15th Street and Lady Bird Lake.
The study will look at a variety of options that might reduce flood risks. It will assess how well different options work to reduce flooding, what challenges are associated with implementing the options and how much they cost. It will also take into consideration the recreational, historical, ecological and culturally significant aspects of potential sites for flood mitigation strategies.
In the past, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Austin have looked at the possibility of a tunnel to help divert floodwaters. This will be one of many options considered in the study.
Watershed Protection has budgeted $900,000 for this study.
House Park Stadium is underwater on Memorial Day 2015, the site of a dramatic rescue. Austin’s emergency responders successfully saved a man, clinging to the stadium fence. Photo by Jonathan Berry.
The feasibility study began in 2017. As of April 2018, we have completed the data collection and updated the flood models for the area. We are currently evaluating options to store the water or increase the conveyance of flood waters. We are on track to complete the study in the fall of 2018. Any project resulting from the study is years away and is dependent upon available funding. In general, the process for a project includes the following steps:
There will be opportunities for public input at critical points along the way.
Risk of Flooding
Approximately 8,000 acres drain to Shoal Creek, making it one of Austin’s larger creeks and one of the most flood-prone. There has been severe flooding along Shoal Creek throughout Austin’s history. Shoal Creek was particularly hard hit on Memorial Day 1981. 13 people died in the flooding that day, many of them in their vehicles. More recently, the creek was the site of dramatic flooding on Memorial Day 2015, although more extensive flooding is possible along Shoal Creek. There have been numerous smaller floods along the creek as well.
Watershed Protection estimates there are approximately 75 buildings, both commercial and residential, vulnerable to flooding in the study area during a 100-year flood. In addition, long stretches of Lamar Boulevard and other roads become dangerous and impassible with enough rainfall.