Lake Houston Dredging Starts Moving to East Fork

On Thursday last week, Stephen Costello, PE, the City of Houston’s Chief Recovery Officer, gave an update on Lake Houston dredging. Costello said that mechanical dredging was starting to move from the West Fork to the East Fork of the San Jacinto River.

Next Phase of Dredging Starting

This marks the beginning of the next phase in dredging after Harvey. Since 2018, dredgers have focused on the West Fork, which was 90% blocked by sediment in places, according to the Army Corps. The Corps and the City removed 2.9 million cubic yards of sediment from the West Fork. Now the focus will migrate to the East Fork, and then Lake Houston itself.

But to get to the East Fork mouth bar, dredgers must first deepen the channel south of Royal Shores that connects the two forks…or else take the long way around to the placement area.

Yellow dot represents most recent focus of dredging on West Fork. The dotted line branching off to the right through the channel is how dredger’s will get back and forth to the East Fork Mouth Bar (big yellow circle) and the placement area south of River Grove Park on the West Fork.

Channel Filled with Silt, Too

Costello said silt in the channel made it too shallow for pontoons and equipment to navigate back and forth safely.

Photos taken this afternoon show that the first equipment is starting to dredge the channel inside two ancient cutoff meanders of the West Fork.

Looking west toward West Lake Houston Parkway Bridge from over the channel connecting the West and East Forks.
Wider shot from farther back shows the dredge area within the cutoff meanders.
Looking East toward the East Fork and Luce Bayou (upper right).

As the last photo shows, at this time, no dredging activity has yet reached the East Fork.

Boaters: Exercise Caution Around Dredging Equipment

This cut-through is a popular shortcut for boaters. Boaters may wish to take the long way around for the next few months or, at a minimum, use extra caution. Those excavators have long arms and can turn suddenly. Remember: operators don’t have eyes in the backs of their heads. Make sure they acknowledge your presence before zipping past them.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/11/2021

1412 Days since Hurricane Harvey