Onion Creek Plan Receives Federal Funding

$12 million grant to be used in property buyouts

By Brandon Watson, 4:05PM, Wed. Mar. 5, 2014

Halloween rains brought devastation along the Onion Creek floodplain
Halloween rains brought devastation along the Onion Creek floodplain
photo by John Anderson

Mayor Lee Leffingwell's office today announced that $12 million in federal funds has been allocated to the Onion Creek, Lower Colorado River Basin project, an effort to return Onion Creek to its natural habitat. According to a press release, the money will be used for property buyouts.

In a statement, Leffingwell said that he has been focused on the project since serving on the city's Environmental Board, but noted the role 2013's devastating Halloween floods played in securing the funds. "The Halloween floods put an urgency on this project that the White House recognized," said Leffingwell, "We will be able to help a lot of families with this money and these additional federal funds bring us one step closer to a safer Austin.”

Leffingwell's statement gave particular praise to Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who led the charge to address the flooding problem after 1998's flash floods. Since 1999, Austin has spent $36.5 million (including a $7.8 million FEMA grant) on the project and relocated 300 households.

“After almost two decades of working on this, we finally have some results,” said Doggett, “I salute Mayor Leffingwell for his determined commitment and partnership in achieving this success. After such tough times for so many in Dove Springs and others along Onion Creek, I hope this means that more of our neighbors will finally get an answer to whether they move or repair. I will continue working with the Corps, the City and County to implement this funding as quickly as possible.”

The $12 million will be included In President Barack Obama's Fiscal Year 2014 work plan.

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