On Monday, June 11, two representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will meet Kingwood residents to discuss dredging of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. The meeting, sponsored by the Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative, will start at 6:30 PM at the Kingwood Community Center. The emergency dredging will be one of the first flood mitigation projects related to Hurricane Harvey to be implemented in the entire Houston area.
Some Details Known, Many Yet to be Revealed
The Corps finished survey work for the West Fork Dredging Project in April. Since then, Corps members have been busy evaluating their findings, determining project specifications, soliciting bids, and planning logistics. Initial estimates indicated they would move enough sand to fill the Astrodome two and a half times.
The Corps currently expects to open bids within a week of the Kingwood meeting and quickly make a selection. Bidders have been notified that they must start the project within five days. They must also staff the project so that they can finish within six months.
Bid documents indicate dredging will extend from River Grove Park to slightly past the West Lake Houston Parkway Bridge. Residents have raised questions about additional dredging in other areas, including near Lake Houston and on the East Fork.
The Corps has identified two disposal sites for the sand. Both are existing sand pits. The first is south of the river and east of US59; the second is north of the river and west of US59. Details pertaining to mobilization, removal methods, and the extent of dredging have not yet been revealed. At the time of bidding, two removal alternatives were under consideration: mechanical and hydraulic dredging.
Meet Two Corps Representatives
Featured speakers include two representatives from the Corps who will present details of the project and field questions from residents. They are Eduardo Irigoyen, the Project Manager, and Michael Garske, a hydraulic engineer and certified floodplain manager. Both are with the Corps of Engineers’ Galveston District office.
Eduardo Irigoyen, Project Manager
Eduardo (Eddie) Irigoyen currently serves as the Emergency Dredging Project Program Manager for the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, which is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Irigoyen has served as a Project Manager within the Corps since May 2015. He has extensive experience within USACE ranging from programs to construction management, operations and maintenance.
His current duties include managing the planning, scope, development, design, construction, and direction of several projects along the Texas Gulf coast.
Irigoyen is a native of Brownsville, Texas. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Brownsville in 2004.
Michael Garske, Hydraulic Engineer
Michael Garske has served as a Hydraulic Engineer and Certified Floodplain Manager for USACE since September 2014.
As one of the District’s lead hydraulic modeling engineers, he’s produced inundation mapping for White Oak, Brays, and Buffalo Bayou projects, helping local officials make accurate flood mitigation decisions.
He provided critical emergency modeling data during the Tax Day, Memorial Day and Harvey floods. He has also helped design dredging templates, ecosystem mitigation banks, and water storage systems; and demonstrated their effects on flood levels.
Garske grew up in Clear Lake. In 2014, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Systems Engineering and an Associate of Arts degree in Maritime Administration from Texas A&M University-Galveston.
Boating Safety Measures During Project
Boaters need to be aware of dredging activities. Ultimately, the project will restore navigation on the river to pre-Harvey conditions and allow the boat launch at River Grove Park to reopen. However, until completion of the project, boaters need to avoid work sites and dredging lines for their own safety.
Agenda Including Other Speakers
The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Kingwood Community Center 4102 Rustic Woods and last until 8. It will include:
- Mark Micheletti, one of the two new SJRA board members from Kingwood, giving updates about SJRA flood mitigation projects.
- Bill Fowler, co-chair of the Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative and a real-estate tax expert, will talk about revised valuations from the Harris County Appraisal District.
- Bob Rehak, host of ReduceFlooding.com, (or a representative from Harris County Flood Control) will give a brief overview of the upcoming Harris County flood bond.
- Irigoyen and Garske will make brief presentations and take questions from the audience. Please attend and show the Corps your appreciation for their hard work and long hours on this project.
- A representative from FEMA will also be there to answer questions about how communities can extend projects like dredging over the long term.
The meeting is free and open to the public, so please plan to attend.
Do Not Confuse This with Flood Bond Meeting
Please note: there has been some confusion between this meeting and the Harris County Flood Bond meeting because of their dates. The County Flood bond meeting, originally scheduled for June 14, is being rescheduled for July so that County Judge Ed Emmett can attend. A new day for that meeting has not yet been determined. The meeting with the Army Corps will happen as planned on Monday evening, June 11.
Posted June 8, 2018 by Bob Rehak
Thanks to Dianne Lansden and Jacque Havelka for Planning this Meeting
283 Days since Hurricane Harvey