Corps Finishing Touch-Up Dredging at River Grove, Moving Downriver

Good news for residents. Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, finished dredging the area up to the boat dock at River Grove Park. However, because of the size of the hydraulic dredge, it could not quite finish the job. So on Monday, the contractor returned with mechanical dredging equipment to work in the tight drainage ditch area by the boat dock. See the photo below courtesy of Don Harbour.

Mechanical dredging equipment was able to maneuver into the tight location that the hydraulic dredge could not. Photo courtesy of Don Harbour, a local resident.

The Kingwood Service Association also requested the Corps to reduce the angle on the edge of the remaining side bar. Young people frequently played on the bar. Community leaders were concerned that a cave in near the steep edge could cause a bad accident.  

Contractors scraped back edge of sand bar to prevent cave-ins caused by curious kids.

As you can see from the edge of the bar in the photo above, the Corps has addressed that issue. 

This afternoon when I visited the park, I saw a survey boat checking to ensure the contractors had reached the proper depth.

Survey boat checks for proper depth while mechanical dredge stands by.

Multiple Activities Create Hazards for Recreational Boaters

The River Grove area today was busier than Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve. However, the main focus of dredging activity will soon move east. Dredge #1, operated by subcontractor Callan Marine is now working close to the West Lake Houston Parkway Bridge. Dredge #2, operated by Great Lakes, is now operating just east of River Grove (see point #4 in photo below).

The river is busy. Stay off it for your own safety.

From the boat dock today, I saw five different clusters of activity in different areas: 1) survey boat, 2) mechanical dredge, 3) debris removal on far side of river, 4) Hydraulic dredge moving towards the country club, and 5) a back hoe removing vegetation from the triangular sand dune  in the distance.

Both dredges will continue to work their way east until they reach their respective goals. 

Latest Schedule

The Corps’ schedule originally called for completion in mid-April 2019. However, crews have been delayed by recent storms and floods, as well as greater than expected sedimentation in the river. Their most recent schedule calls for completion by April 30 and demobilization during the first two weeks of May.

Status of Mouth Bar Project Still Uncertain

Everyone I talk to hopes FEMA and the Corps will grant approval for a second project that addresses the huge sand bar at the mouth of the West Fork before this project reaches completion. If that does not happen, demobilization and remobilization at a future date would cost about $18 million. 

The “Mouth Bar,” a giant sand bar that blocks the West Fork of the San Jacinto, backing the river up into Kingwood and Humble. The mouth bar is not within the scope of the current Army Corps dredging project, but officials have been trying to get FEMA and the Corps to include it. Water depth is generally 1-3 feet around this bar. Max channel depth in places is just 5 feet.

Sources in Austin expected an announcement weeks ago on the mouth bar. Congressman Ted Poe requested a meeting with the head of the Army Corps to discuss the project. However, the  meeting originally scheduled for November 28th was delayed into next year. That means Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw will inherit the battle. Meanwhile, Senator Ted Cruz has thrown the weight of his office behind the effort to dredge the mouth bar.

Corps to Meet with Super Neighborhood Council Wednesday Night

Eduardo Irigoyen, the project manager of the Emergency West Fork Dredging Project (the dredging currently underway), will meet with the Kingwood Super Neighborhood Council tomorrow night. The meeting at the Kingwood Community Center starts at 7PM. Mr. Irigoyen will update local leaders on the status of the Corps’ project. The meeting is open to the public, but seating is very limited.

Posted by Bob Rehak on December 18, 2018

476 Days since Hurricane Harvey