Could Rational Eco-Engineering Have Prevented Harvey Damage?

The damage caused by four or five feet of rain to the Texas coastal plain cities may reach 160 billion dollars. That’s a rather unimaginable cost for rainfall and wind damage. One must ask if the damage could have been prevented with good land use engineering and political zoning prophylaxis?

Vast eco-engineering projects have been done before. Pre-emptive flood control and water re-directing such as the Garrison diversion project have altered the flow of North American rivers. Coastal Texas could perhaps use some vast right-wing political and engineering conspiracy as federally directed construction projects for oceanic surge and rainfall flood control for the ‘rare’ 30 foot sea level catastrophes that may occur ahead. Such projects could have buildings atop them so they are not just useless except once a century or two.

Harvey 1950 poster.jpg

The Texas coastal plain used to be a sea-floor. Ocean levels rise and fall, storms arise and water surges over the land now and then. All that is known. So if one does the equivalent of falling asleep by a river where bears eat salmon and wakes up to find a bear dining on a your foot, doesn’t the careless individual bear some responsibility in addition to the bear that was just going about nature’s work?

If a Texas coastal plain flood and surge control infrastructure is built it should as a goal seek to restore a five mile thick coastal forest behind the stone wall in order to let nature enjoy the ocean-land interface zone.


For some people building anything within thirty feet elevation of the ocean seems dare-devilish. It is known that global warming is changing the sea level and surface temperatures and exotic weather patterns world-wide.  Global warming for conservatives is as unreal as Jimmy Stewart’s 6′ 3″” invisible rabbit in the movie ‘Harvey’; they ignore its existence and effects at their own risk. Texas like Bangladesh is a pathetic scene when the ocean and sky conspire to reveal the fragility of human structures near the ocean’s edge. They are as flimsy as the world trade center under Al Qaeda air-assault.