City of Arlington Conducts Watershed Studies to Help Prevent Flooding
By Laurie Fox
Posted on November 11, 2015, November 11, 2015
Studies to Help Prevent Flooding

Like the roads and highways that run around Arlington, 140 miles of streams, creeks and drainage channels also weave their way throughout the American Dream City.

Keeping track of those waterways-and the surrounding land-requires constant vigilance. Because when rains cause them to swell and overflow, flooding can occur, making it a big problem for residents.

The Public Works & Transportation Department monitors these waterways both for long-term planning efforts but also to spot areas where infrastructure repairs are needed to help prevent flooding.

Money for drainage repairs and flood mitigation projects comes from the City's storm water utility fee that Arlington residents and businesses pay monthly. Since 2009, the department has either completed or has begun construction and design of around $59.4 million worth of flood control efforts citywide.

Mandy Clark, the storm water engineering operations manager, said the potential for rising waters gained wider attention with Rush Creeks' 2010 flooding during Tropical Storm Hermine.

"It brought flooding to the forefront in the Council's mind and the residents' minds," she said.

That flooding, Clark said, called into question the older flood predictions and some of the outdated floodplain maps then being used. The department decided to look at the issue on a larger scale.

Officials commissioned an examination of the area's watersheds to ensure that officials know the sizeand location of its floodplains and the efficiency of its waterways.

A watershed is an area of land where all of the water that falls into it drains off and flows to a common point such as a drainage channel or creek. These watershed studies, conducted by engineers, update floodplain maps and identify areas where development and erosion have affected the waterway and provide a more accurate gauge of an area's flood risk. The watersheds are surveyed on foot during the study. Then engineering models are developed and run to determine how much water comes in and how it flows through the waterways. New floodplain maps, which are submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are then developed with this information.

These updated assessments allow Public Works to identify future capital improvement projects but also to provide residents with better information about the flooding potential of their own property, Clark said.

She said the City also would use the information to plan a timeline for flood control improvement projects throughout the City.

The Fish Creek and Cottonwood Creek studies have already been completed and the department expects to finish the Rush Creek and Johnson Creek studies early next year. The department expects to roll out new studies each year and is anticipating having all floodplain maps updated by 2020.

Rush Creek, the City's largest watershed, has already seen two projects under design-Sublett Creek neighborhood drainage improvements and drainage and channel improvements along Country Club Road.

Along Fish Creek and Cottonwood Creek, three projects are underway: construction has started on residential flooding alleviation measures at Hillcrest and on apartment and street flood control projects at Cottonwood Creek and Susan Drive.

Improvements for apartment and street flooding at Cottonwood Creek at Park Row are in the design phase.

For more information concerning watersheds in the City of Arlington, please contact Public Works and Transportation at 817-459-6550 to talk with a stormwater engineer.

You can also visit

  • Click here to view a watershed map for the City of Arlington.
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