Over the past year, the LID 15 Board of Directors has addressed ongoing maintenance issues caused by nutria which are considered an invasive species. Generally, there are two effective options for controlling the nutria population – trapping and poison. The Board chose trapping which began last summer and continued through November 2020. Trapping was stopped during the dormant winter season but will resume in April 2021.
Humane traps are being used that do not harm the animals. The trapping company will check the cages weekly and release the nutria into areas where they cannot damage the levees or preserved wetlands areas within LID 15, or other neighboring communities.
Nutria are more than a nuisance animal, as their burrows can cause stability issues with the levee. They also consume and destroy valuable wetlands vegetation that LID 15 is legally required to maintain under federal law. The Board chose to treat the animals humanely, but due to potential risks to the levee, wetlands, and public health and safety, they must be removed from the area.
In the past, nutria traps have been tampered with, stolen, and broken. The cost to replace the traps, as well as the additional labor involved with the extended trapping, results in additional costs to LID 15 taxpayers. The District requests residents help by leaving the traps in place to ensure the integrity of the LID facilities and to minimize the cost to taxpayers. If you see anyone interfering with traps, please feel free to report it on the LID 15 website. Thank you for your understanding and consideration.
Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 15 (LID 15) is continuing its partnership with Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 19 (LID 19) to improve flood control in the Steep Bank Creek watershed, which includes the eastern portion of LID 15. Both Districts recently entered a cost sharing agreement to expand the Steep Bank Creek Pump Station. The pump station is in LID 19 on Thompson Ferry Road, but this flood control facility is jointly operated by LID 15 and LID 19.
Currently, the Steep Bank Creek Pump Station has four pumps that combined remove up to 80,000 gallons of water per minute (GPM). Three new pumps will be added to increase the total pump capacity to 230,000 GPM. The facility is also home to 12 mobile pumps that can produce an additional 80,000 GPM. The Steep Bank Creek Pump Station is also equipped with a natural gas-powered generator to run the existing pumps during a power outage. The expansion project includes the installation of additional diesel generators to power the new pumps in the event of an outage.
Construction is expected to take one year to complete, so the expanded Steep Bank Creek Pump Station will be operational in Spring 2022. Construction will be sequenced to ensure that the existing pumps are available throughout the 2021 Hurricane Season.
The pump stations in LID 15 are exercised monthly and are operated when the Brazos River reaches flood stages that automatically close the flood gates in the levee. If it rains in LID 15 while the flood gates are closed, the pump stations are activated to remove runoff from inside the levee. Look for future updates about the Steep Bank Creek Pump Station Expansion Project on the LID 15 website and Facebook.