Dredging Starts, But Not Where Planned

The Army Corps of Engineers Emergency West Fork Dredging Project started yesterday, but not where planned. The Corps originally said it would start slightly east of West Lake Houston Parkway bridge and work its way back west to River Grove Park. Contract documents indicated the eastward limit of dredging would include the area south of Kings Harbor. However, today dredging started west of the bridge, between the Kingwood Country Club Forest Course and Kings Lake Estates. That puts the start of dredging approximately in the middle of the contracted area.

From US Army Corps’ contract plans for West Fork Dredging project. Note arrow pointing to power lines in C-102.

Photo courtesy of Keith Jordan, a Kings Lake Estates resident, shows first dredge set up behind row of trees on West Fork. Note high tension power lines seen in the right of photo as a reference to the map above.

Jordan said, “Literally watching constant dredging occurring about 200 yards in front of my boat house in the river. Motors seem to be running 24/7 with lights on boats at night.”  He later sent me this image.

Photo Courtesy of Keith Jordan. 

Approximate starting point of dredging. Satellite image courtesy of Google Earth.

When asked about noise from the operation, Jordan replied, “Just hear a steady hum from inside the house. Nothing bad.”

I asked about the change in plans because Kings Harbor was one of the worst flooded areas in Kingwood. One hundred percent of the businesses were destroyed along with three apartment complexes. This is also the area were Ben’s Branch empties into the river.

The Corps has not yet explained the reason for the change in plans. They did, however, send these additional shots of the dredge in operation.

First dredge in operation on location in the middle of the contracted area.

First dredge at work near Kings Lake Estates. There appears to be a mechanical dredge working in front of the hydraulic dredge.

The dredge weighs approximately 27 tons and will be in the river 24 hours per day until early May of 2019 according to the Corps.

Over 4.5 miles of high density polyethylene pipeline measuring 24 inches in diameter is in position and will help move over 1.8 million cubic years of sediment and debris.

Corps officials are asking recreational boaters to stay clear of the dredge and be aware of debris removal pipelines and booster pumps within the river.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/20/18

388 Days since Hurricane Harvey