This will be the most important mayoral election in Kingwood’s history, but the turnout in early voting was dismal. You would think people don’t care about flooding or that it’s been fixed already. Well, they should care. It hasn’t been fixed.
Below are some photos that show the difference pre- and post-dredging in the mouth bar area of the West Fork.
Before Dredging: August 2019
After Dredging: November 2019
The 500,000 cubic yards that the Corps removed from the West Fork mouth bar barely scratched the surface. Think that’s an exaggeration? RD Kissling took this photo Sunday, 11.3.19, 700 yards south of the mouth bar as he stood in water just a little more than one foot deep. The channel at this point should be at least 400 feet wide and 30 feet deep to match the depth near Kings Harbor.
The Two-Year Old Controversy that Started Twenty Years Ago
So what does all this have to do with the contest for Mayor? The current mayor has been arguing with FEMA and the Corps for 798 days over how much Harvey deposited in the mouth bar. We’ve had dueling studies. Endless meetings. Countless stories. And still nothing has changed significantly in this most important region of the river.
The City has neglected its obligation to maintain this area for more than 20 years. Engineers warned for decades of the danger and not a penny of the City’s money was spent on dredging.
The City wants FEMA to remove 1.4 million cubic yards, but FEMA claims it would be funding “deferred maintenance” by the City.
Lest we forget, the mouth bar forms a sediment dam behind the dam that contributed to the flooding of more than 4,000 homes behind it and approximately half the businesses in the Lake Houston Chamber.
Bill King’s Plan to Get it Done
Today, Bill King held a press conference in Kings Point to lay out his plan for dealing with the mouth bar. It includes a $10 million contribution from the City to increase the funds already allocated by the State and County. The money would be used to establish a permanent maintenance dredging program.
According to a television reporter and the press conference, Mayor Sylvester Turner accused King of campaign rhetoric on the mouth bar issue.
This isn’t about rhetoric. It’s about survival.
If you care about Kingwood, if you care about your home, if you’re tired of waiting…please go to the polls tomorrow and vote. I voted for King. He’s the only candidate with a workable plan to address flooding in my opinion. But please just vote for the candidate of your choice. Not voting sends a message to the Mayor that we’re happy.
After 798 days of argument, letter writing, and meetings, it’s time for results. If re-elected, Sylvester Turner will be term-limited. Without another election hanging over his head, I just don’t see much improvement in the current situation.
For More Information
To learn more about the flood plans of the three leading candidates, read this post.
To learn more about Kings plan to address the mouth bar, see this newsletter.
If you would like more background about the mouth bar itself, please review this presentation about the Mouth Bar by Tim Garfield, RD Kissling, and me. Garfield and Kissling were both senior level geologists for one of the world’s largest oil companies before retiring. They provided the content. I just helped them shape their thoughts.
Kissling also wrote this open letter to the City of Houston that spells out problems with the Tetra Tech study that the City commissioned at the Corps’ request.
Please Also Vote FOR Prop 8
Among other items on the ballot, one of the most important from a flood mitigation perspective is Prop 8. Prop 8 would make money available from the Texas Rainy Day Fund to help provide low interest loans and grants to cities and counties. The money could be used to qualify for matching funds from the federal government. The lack of local matching funds has delayed many worthy flood mitigation projects identified after Harvey. Prop 8 should help fund many mitigation projects, bring more of our federal tax dollars back to Texas, and reduce flood risk by accelerating both grant applications and construction. Vote FOR.
Posted by Bob Rehak on November 5, 2019, election day
798 Days after Hurricane Harvey