River Grove Dredging Done, Only Cleanup Left

Ever since Harvey filled up the lagoon next to the River Grove boardwalk, Kingwood residents have clamored to restore the area. This week they got their wish. Kayden Industries has removed its two dredges and the giant “shaker” that separated sand from water. This morning, all that remained of the operation was a front-end loader, a giant pile of sand, and dump trucks rapidly carrying it away. They should be done with the operation this week.

Damage Due to Harvey

Here’s the story in pictures starting with Harvey.

The lagoon next to the popular boardwalk at Kingwood’s River Grove Park has totally filled in with sand deposited by Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey also left a 10-foot high sandbar that blocked the drainage ditch that runs through River Grove.

Army Corps Breaks Through Blockage

Before the Kingwood Service Association could do anything, the Army Corps and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock had to break through that sand bar, and open up the park to the river again.

KSA Excavates Park and Plans Dredging

It took the next year for KSA to:

  • Remove up to five feet of sand covering the parking lot and areas near the boardwalk
  • Restore soccer fields also covered in sand
  • Repave access roads and parking lots undermined by churning floodwaters
  • Inspect the boardwalk to ensure it was structurally sound.
  • Draw up a dredging plan for the lagoon with an engineer.
  • Identify a suitable place to put the spoils.
  • Bid the job.
  • Approve the plan and expenditure.
Note height of sand in River Grove parking lot relative to parking sign in background.

It was a monumental effort. Dee Price, KSA President and steward of River Grove Park, and Bruce Casto, KSA’s maintenance man, deserve kudos for spearheading the effort and saving this park.

Step One for Dredging: Remove Vegetation

KSA approved River Grove dredging in November of 2019 but left the park open for the holidays. Mobilization began in January and dredging finally began in February of 2020.

Between Harvey and the end of 2019, vegetation had grown up over the sand deposited in the lagoon.
Step one in the dredging: Remove the vegetation that had grown on the sand.
Then, Kayden Industries mobilized a mini dredge. The dredging took seven weeks.

Drying the Spoils Before Trucking

Kayden also brought in this giant machine to separate sand from water. It works like an oilfield shaker used to separate drilling cuttings from drilling mud.

Last Week, Demobilization Began

Almost two months after it started, Kayden began demobilizing. Resident Josh Alberson captured the image below with his drone.

Last week, Kayden Industries started demobilizing their equipment. Here we see one of the two dredges getting ready for removal from the water. Kayden brought in a smaller dredge when the City lowered the level of the lake suddenly. The first dredge is up on blocks behind the pile of sand. Photo courtesy of Josh Alberson.
This morning, where the shaker once stood, nothing but some sand remains.
A giant pile of sand still blocks the boat dock.
But dump trucks were lining up to receive the sand and carry it to a placement area in Humble out of the flood plain.
The finished job: a beautifully restored lagoon, complete with some marshes to attract birds.

Water along the boardwalk is 3-5 feet deep, so don’t let kids play in it. That could be dangerous.

Some Repaving Left to Do

All the heavy traffic has taken a toll on park roads. “Everyone needs to understand that the paving problems on the road between the gate and the first stop sign were there long before we started trucking dirt,” said Dee Price, KSA President. “We have patched that area numerous times in the past.” Price said KSA needs to mill and re-pave that piece of road as the group did with the soccer road. Price plans to put that project in the next fiscal-year budget. But for now, she says, “We need to patch it again until we can do the major improvement next year.”

Posted by Bob Rehak with thanks to Josh Alberson for the drone imagery

958 Days since Hurricane Harvey