At the current rate that crews are removing sand from the West Fork San Jacinto Mouth Bar, the remainder of the above-water portion of this once-behemoth sand bar could be gone by Christmas. See the two pictures below. The first taken after Harvey and the second taken today.
Much Yet to Dredge
Of course, even when the above water portion of the Mouth Bar is removed, that will still leave a huge portion below the surface. However, all progress is welcome.
At the start of October, the above-water (sub-aerial) extent of the mouth bar was down to the width of one excavator. Two excavators are now working toward the middle from each end. See below.
Like an Iceberg, Most of a Sand Bar Exists Below Water
That’s significant progress given what we started with. But much sand remains below the surface.
Tim Garfield and RD Kissling, two leading geologists now retired from one of the world’s largest oil companies, mapped the depth of the river using sonar and depth poles. They found an underwater plateau exists in this region of the river. See chart below.
Plans for Next Phase Still Not Revealed
FEMA has approved dredging another million cubic yards. And Dan Huberty’s amendment to SB500 in the last legislature dedicated $30 million for dredging the West Fork Mouth Bar. The City is drawing up plans, but they have not been announced yet. The last time I talked to Stephen Costello about this, he said the City was leaning toward dredging a channel somewhere south of the mouth bar. But many details remained to be worked out, such as:
- Method of dredging (hydraulic vs. mechanical)
- Exact location
- Channel width
- Finding qualified contractors
- Determining a suitable placement area, etc.
More news when its available.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/26/2020
1154 Days after Hurricane Harvey
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