The Central City Flood Project, widely known as the Panther Island project, received an additional $20 million to continue design and construction of the $1.16 billion infrastructure project, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday. 

Regional leaders have long argued that the project is necessary to protect Fort Worth from a major flooding event. But for decades, federal funding for the project was stalled – until Congress passed an infrastructure bill passed in fall 2021 that opened the floodgates, providing $403 million to the project. The allocation allowed design and construction to move forward, but left a $118 million gap in the amount initially appropriated for the project in 2016.

The new funds will be used to start design on isolation gates and a stormwater pump station.

The additional allocation is a signal that the project is moving forward quickly and is ready to move onto the next phases of design, said Dan Buhman, general manager of Tarrant Regional Water District — the project’s local sponsor. 

“I think it shows the continued commitment that the Army Corps has to get this project completed, and it shows continued commitment from Congress to make sure that the project has funding it needs,” Buhman said. 

The additional funding is a step in the right direction, Mayor Mattie Parker said. The city, along with Tarrant Regional Water District, recently hired HR&A Advisors Inc to plan future real estate development in and around the Panther Island project. 

“The importance of the Central City Flood Control Project to Fort Worth’s future cannot be understated,” Parker said in a statement. “It is a transformational effort that will provide needed flood protection and unlock vital investment in the heart of our city.”

The initial allocation allows the US Army Corps of Engineers to design and build a 1.5-mile bypass channel to reroute part of the Trinity. It does not fund phase 5 of the project, which includes three flood gates, a storm water pump station and a flood management dam. 

The US Army Corps of Engineers gave the additional $20 million to the project through its fiscal year 2023 Work Plan, delivered to Congress Feb. 27. The work plan provides $9.8 billion in funding for the Army Civil Works program. The project was one of 15 in Texas that received funding through the Work Plan. 

The federal government approved funding for the Work Plan Dec. 29, 2022, when President Joseph R. Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriation Act into law. Then, the US Army Corps chooses which projects to fund with the appropriation. 

The infrastructure bill has allowed the Corps of Engineers to move forward with more projects that may have been waiting for funding for years, Clay Church, a spokesman for the US Army Corps of Engineers, said. 

So far, the Army Corps of Engineers have started work on completing some of the valley storage sites in Ham Branch, Riverside Park, Samuels Avenue and Gateway Oxbow. It also started planting efforts in Sycamore park for ecosystem risk mitigation and restoration, Church said. 

“The project continues to go forward,” Church said. “It’s just with this additional $20 million on top of the $403 million, we’ll be able to continue going forward with design and then ultimately into construction.”

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Rachel BehrndtGovernment Accountability Reporter

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report in collaboration with KERA. She is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri where she majored in Journalism and Political...