People who want to learn more about the Cypress Creek Watershed Master Plan and drainage projects are invited to an open house on July 26 at 6:30 p.m., at the Lutz Civic Center, 98 First Ave., N.W., in Lutz.
The meeting will include a brief presentation by representatives of the Hillsborough County Public Works department.
There also will be informative displays about the $290,000 master plan study.
Leland Dicus, a section engineering services manager for Hillsborough County, said the final plan will incorporate public input.
“We’re looking for feedback from the residents and the property owners within the watershed,” Dicus said. “What we’re showing in the master plan update will reflect what (residents) have seen as far as flooding in the area.
“We looked back at the flooding complaints we’ve received…and those were some of the areas that we took a look at in the master plan updates,” he said.
During the open house, residents will also be able to provide comments about proposed updates to the watershed’s hydrology and hydraulics (H&H) model, and conceptual recommended flood control projects.
Dicus said the public works department currently has identified seven potential watershed drainage projects to alleviate future flooding problems.
A watershed is considered to be an area of land where water flows across, as it moves toward a common body of water, such as a stream, river, lake or coast.
The Cypress Creek Watershed area, generally bordered by U.S. 41 and Interstate 75, drains an area of approximately 33 square miles in Hillsborough County. The watershed management plan was completed in 2000 by URS Corporation Southern.
The Cypress Creek Watershed master plan — part of the Countywide Watershed update —ultimately provides Hillsborough County with information on flooding within the area. The plan includes an updated H&H model that is used by the county, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and local developers for project analysis and permitting. It will also identify flood prone areas, and develop conceptual projects and cost estimates to solve flooding issues.
A 2011 study by the county’s public works department showed the watershed has a history of flooding problems, particularly during the 2004 hurricane season.
The study also indicated that residential development in northward rural portions of the watershed is impacting runoff and drainage patterns.
Dicus said information from the study has been used to calibrate an updated watershed model for the master plan.
“We compare the level of flooding to the model with what our standard is for street flooding, and that identifies the areas that don’t meet the county standards,” Dicus said. “We update these models on a routine basis, especially in areas where there’s development occurring, so we can ensure that the model currently reflects the land use and how the stormwater system works.”
The watershed master plan process began in late 2013; a final report with recommended flood relief projects is expected to be complete later this year.
This project is being funded through the Stormwater Fee Capital Improvement Program; the Southwest Florida Water Management District is cooperatively funding the project at 50 percent.
Questions about the meeting may be directed to the county’s Citizen Engagement office at (813) 272-5275.
Published July 20, 2016