DD6 works hard every day performing the many tasks necessary to control storm and flood waters from rivers, streams, ditches and drains and reclaim overflowed lands. Over the years, Jefferson County has relinquished most of its flood control and drainage activities to DD6 for properties within the district, which covers an area close to half the size of Rhode Island.
DD6’s responsibility consists of maintaining and constructing large outfalls, cutoffs, gullies, streams and bayous that accept runoff collected through municipal and other local drainage systems and transport it out of the area. “Our job is to maintain what we have and expand our system,” explained DD6 General Manager Dr. Joseph Majdalani, a license profes- sional engineer. “We accept the water and move it out of the area to mini- mize flooding, and we capture lost capacity.” According to him, DD6 has grown significantly since its formation in 1920. “DD6 purchased its first drag line, mainly to clean up ditches, in 1931,” said Dr. Majdalani. “At that time, the district was maintaining 114 ditches totaling 232 miles, and it covered 195,840 acres.” When the Army Corps of Engineers allowed DD6 to discharge water into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in 1942, it provided opportunity to increase the area covered by DD6, and in 1943, the DD6 board decided to enlarge its boundaries to include rice farmers and ranchers asking for drainage assistance. That added a lot of area to DD6’s coverage.
State, Federal Grants Fund Local Drainage Projects
Jefferson County Drainage District No. 6 (DD6) is utilizing millions of dollars in federal and state grants to fund numerous drainage projects throughout their jurisdiction in Southeast Texas. At a board meeting Oct. 13, DD6 General Manager Dr. Joe Majdalani and others on the DD6 team outlined several grant-funded projects, discussed new drainage and flood mitigation grant applications in the works and broke down the many maintenance tasks the district performs throughout the area.
Drainage Projects Clearing the Way to Enhance Flood Prevention in Jefferson County
For over two years, Jefferson County Drainage District No. 6 (DD6) has been aggressively pursuing eight grant applications to fully fund various mitigation projects across the District to improve drainage and increase flood control. Approximately 52% of Jefferson County, including Beaumont, Bevil Oaks, China, Nome, and the communities of Fannett, Northwest Forest, Hillebrandt Acres, Cheek and LaBelle, as well as farm and timber land in between, depend on DD6 to help protect their residents and businesses from flooding, especially during major storm events like Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda.
With that in mind, the District is constantly developing new projects to enhance drainage, while prioritizing projects that will produce the greatest benefit. Cost is a large factor for them to consider and securing funding to supplement their tax revenues is vital to DD6 to make as many improvements as possible to divert storm waters from flood-prone Southeast Texas.
When it comes to drainage projects for flood control, Jefferson County Drainage District No. 6 does it all from project design to construction and long-term maintenance. The knowledgeable crew, including everyone at DD6 from engineers to equipment operators, have the combined capability to identify, develop and implement projects to improve drainage across the District.
DD6 covers a little over 487 square miles. That is approximately 5.7 times the size of Beaumont, which is 85.9 square miles, and the District’s drainage network consists of over 1,247 miles of channels and 38 detention basins.
Houston Was Wet In 2019, Beaumont Got Absolutely Drenched
Sunday’s rainfall almost certainly marked the last significant precipitation of 2019 for the greater Houston area. The region experienced some extreme rainfall, punctuated by Tropical Storm Imelda in September. But overall, Houston came in near normal with annual rainfall—receiving a total of 51.93 inches at Bush Intercontinental Airport (the region averages just north of 48 inches per year). The wettest year on record came in 2017, driven by Hurricane Harvey, with 79.69 inches. Here’s the climate graphic, with Houston’s rainfall totals on the bottom:
The story is considerably more interesting to the east of Houston, in Beaumont, which bore the brunt of Imelda. That region, based upon its official monitoring station at Jack Brooks Regional Airport, has recorded 85.46 inches of rain in 2019. But this ranks only third in annual totals, behind 2017 (104.30 inches) and 2018 (88.75 inches), based on 117 years of data.
NRCS Helps Jefferson County, Texas with Hurricane Harvey Repairs
With the assistance of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Jefferson County Drainage District No. 6 has completed the first part of their multi-million dollar Hurricane Harvey restoration project. Through the USDA-NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP), the drainage district received funding and technical assistance to repair a 26-foot deep washout in the bottom of the levee in the Green Pond Detention Basin near Fannett, Texas.
Beaumont Winning Flood Fight With Help From Texas And Fema
BEAUMONT, Texas — People in Beaumont used to call their town “Bayou City” because it was underwater so often. “We can get more than 100 inches of rain in a year,” said Richard LeBlanc Jr., general manager of Jefferson County Drainage District No. 6. It’s his job to manage all of that rainwater, for Beaumont and nearly the whole county. It’s challenging work. LeBlanc and his staff can tick off the years – 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 – that brought 10 to 15 inches or more of water each time it rained. In 2001, Beaumont got a total of 103 inches of rain. Jefferson County has consistently ranked among the top places in the United States for flood losses, including hundreds of properties that experience severe repetitive losses.