Below is a quick digest of six flood-related stories affecting the Lake Houston Area.
Dredging is a Slow Go
Mechanical dredgers are slowly working their way through the channel south of Royal Shores. It connects the East and West Forks of the San Jacinto. Without dredging, the dredging equipment itself would not be able to make it through the channel.
However, the pace of the dredging is painfully slow. You can see the progress by comparing the two pictures below. I took them 22 days apart.
At about 200 feet per week with about 2,000 more feet to go, they should reach the East Fork in about another ten weeks.
Several boaters have commented on how the dredges can wait hours for a pontoon to ferry dirt back to the placement site. Their net takeaway: very inefficient. During a July 8 meeting at the Kingwood Community Center, Stephen Costello called this method of dredging “unsustainable.” He’s sooooo right. We will run out of luck long before we run out of places to dredge.
Mechanical dredging (shown in the photos above) is far slower and less efficient than hydraulic. Great Lakes hydraulic dredges removed 500,000 cubic yards of sediment from the mouth bar area in just two months – July and August of 2019. DRC’s mechanical dredges removed another 600,000+ cubic yards in the 19 months between January 2020 and July 2021.
Interestingly, Google Earth shows that when the dredgers reach the East Fork, they will be closer to the Triple PG Sand Mine in Porter than the current placement area south of River Grove Park. The Triple PG mine will also be less than half the distance of a mine that the Army Corps previously pumped spoils to from the mouth bar– the Eagle Sorters Mine on the West Fork.
Hmmmm. Triple PG. A placement area for East Fork spoils? A return to hydraulic dredging? Interesting thoughts.
Seasonal Lowering of Lake Conroe
Seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe has started as planned. SJRA is releasing 75 cubic feet per second, according to their dashboard.
When the lowering started on August 2, a day late, the lake was at 200.87. So releasing 75 CFS has brought the lake down .19 feet, a little more than 2 inches. Barring large rainfalls, this rate should reach the objective of 200 feet by September 1.
The Lake Conroe Association is still fighting the lowering in Montgomery County District Court. Judge Mike Mays set a hearing date for Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 2PM.
Tropics Heating Up
The National Hurricane Center shows two areas of concern in the Atlantic as of 2PM, Friday August 6th.
A few hundred miles south of the Cabo Verde Islands, a tropical wave (orange area) and a broad area of low pressure could turn into a tropical depression by late this weekend or early next week. Formation chance through 5 days…medium…60 percent.
Another tropical wave approaching the Lesser Antilles is a lower threat. NHC predicts development, if any, of this system will be slow and occur early next week. Formation chance through 5 days…low…20 percent.
NOAA Issues Mid-Season Hurricane Outlook
Another forecast released two days ago by NOAA says that atmospheric conditions are still conducive for an above-average hurricane season. See their predictions in the right hand column below. These numbers include the five named storms so far this season.
Attorney General Lawsuit Against Triple PG Mine Still Active
Craig Pritzlaff of the TCEQ assures me that despite visible lack of progress in the Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Triple PG mine for illegal discharges, the AG has not dropped the case. “Indeed, very few, if any, cases referred to the AG for civil prosecution are ever dropped,” he says. “Litigation, particularly environmental litigation, is a complicated and lengthy process. That process was further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted court dockets across the State throughout 2020 and into 2021.”
Condos 250 Feet from 250,000 CFS
A Chinese developer is building yet more condos even closer to the West Fork in the Kings Harbor neighborhood.
During Harvey, more than 250,000 cubic feet per second came through this area. It flooded homes and businesses more than 10,000 feet from the river.
The developer is also hoping to sell/develop that grassy area in the bottom center of the photo for $1.45 million.
I guess money has a short memory.
That concludes this month’s digest.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/6/2021
1438 Days since Hurricane Harvey
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