New Aerial Photos of River Grove Park Show Extent of Dredging Project

Since Hurricane Harvey, KSA has worked diligently to restore the damage to River Grove Park. It has been a massive job. Harvey filled in the lagoon in front of the boardwalk; left five feet of sand in the parking lot, disc golf course, and playing fields; and deposited a sand bar more than a quarter mile long and 12 feet high in front of the boat dock.

River Grove Waterfront on 9/14/2017, two weeks after Harvey. Lagoon filled in, five feet of sand filled the parking lot, and a 1400-foot, 12-foot-high sandbar blocked off the drainage ditch that empties the western third of Kingwood.

Army Corps Restored River Access

The Army Corps cut a channel through the sand bar that blocked the drainage ditch that empties the western third of Kingwood. That was a huge sigh of relief for a large part of Kingwood. But much work remained to restore the park itself. Among the last items on the agenda: restoring the lagoon and boat ramp access.

Dredging of Boat Dock Area and Lagoon

In late February 2020, KSA contractor Kayden Industries removed a 50-foot strip of vegetation that had grown up on sandbars in the lagoon. Then last week, they began dredging.

It’s hard to capture the scope of dredging operations from the ground – especially with access restricted for safety reasons. But last week, I did a flyover and captured these pics from a helicopter.

Looking west toward the River Grove Boat Ramp and Lagoon. Photo taken March 5, 2020. The dredge started by the boat dock and is working upstream now in the lagoon. Note the dewatering plant in the parking lot and the growing pile of spoils waiting for removal on the right.

In the photo above, you can see the 50-foot strip where Kayden removed vegetation. That will be the limit of dredging. KSA plans to remove 4-5 feet of sand from this area. The area still covered with grasses will remain wetlands. It will provide cover, habitat and food for birds and other species. That should help make River Grove a destination for birders again.

Harvey deposited sand several feet deep on the peninsula that defines the River Grove lagoon. That unfortunately killed many of the trees there. The wetlands remaining in the lagoon are now more important than ever. Eagles nest in the trees in the upper right of this photo on Romerica property.
The dredge started in the area in front of the boat dock and is working its way upstream in the lagoon. Water from the dredge goes through a floating pipe to a dewatering plant in the parking lot. Water is then returned to the lake in a closed-loop process.

A Bit of the Oil Field Comes to River Grove

The dewatering plant separates sand and sediment from the water before returning the water to the river. This is the same type of equipment used in oilfields to separate drilling cuttings from drilling mud, before recycling the mud.

Expected Finish By End of March

KSA expects the dredging project to finish by the end of March, weather permitting. However, the boat ramp may not open immediately. The heavy equipment has damaged the asphalt in the parking lot. Repairs and restriping may take a few weeks more.

Originally, KSA expected to remove 10,000 cubic yards of sediment. The contractor now predicts they will remove 11,000 to12,000 cubic yards to complete the scope of work.

Other Park Improvements

The good news: When all of this is done, River Grove Park should be back and better than ever. During repairs, KSA decided to:

  • Convert several of the soccer fields from “league fields” to “public fields.” Residents have long requested that change.
  • Change the speed bumps to milder speed humps in the traffic circle. Boaters have long requested that.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/9/2020

923 Days since Hurricane Harvey