Huberty Secures Another $50 Million for Lake Houston Dredging

State Representative Dan Huberty announced on Wednesday this week that he secured another $50 Million for dredging Lake Houston through a rider he attached to SB 1 – a 972 page appropriations bill – earlier this year.

Rider to SB 1 Added During Last Conference Committee

The rider actually stipulates the money will go to the Texas Water Development Board but earmarks it. The text says in part, “Water Development Board shall allocate $50,000,000 for the state fiscal biennium beginning September 1, 2021, for the purpose of providing financial assistance for removing accumulated siltation and sediment deposits throughout the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston.”

The bill became effective on 9/1 after a final conference committee, vote and the Governor’s signature. Huberty credits Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Greg Bonnen, Representative Armando Walle, also on the House Appropriations Committee. Huberty said, Bonnen helped it go in and Walle made sure it stayed in.

Huberty said the money will be used to keep dredging continuously as long as it lasts. The City will actually be doing the dredging (see photos below). Huberty also credits Mayor Sylvester Turner and Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin for working to make the appropriation happen.

Where Money Will Be Used

In addition to East Fork dredging, Huberty sees the money being used to clear accumulated siltation from the mouths of inlets around the lake, such as those in Huffman, Atascocita and Walden.

Update on Status of East Fork Dredging

Shortly before sundown today, I put a drone up from Kingwood over the East Fork and captured the images below.

Looking SE toward Luce Bayou entrance to East Fork and one of two mechanical dredges currently on station.
Closer shot of same dredge. Note: all photos were taken just before sunset on Saturday night, 11/20/21.
Looking south toward Lake Houston, West Fork confluence (upper right) and FM1960 bridge in distance.
Looking North. Kingwood on left; Huffman on right.

The shot above shows you just how big this task will be. I first photographed these dredges in the East Fork on October 12. So it’s taken them roughly five weeks to excavate the sandbar between the two pontoons.

Below, you can see what the same area looked like almost a year before dredging started. The photo gives you some idea of the immensity of the task. The sand bars you see grew 4000 feet in length during Harvey and Imelda.

East Fork Mouth Bar after Imelda. Taken in December 2020, ten months before start of East Fork dredging about five weeks ago.

Josh Alberson who boats this area regularly with a shallow draft jet boat found that the depth of the river through his reach had been reduced from 17 feet before Harvey to about 3 feet after Imelda. That’s a major loss of conveyance that backed water up and contributed to flooding on both sides of the river.

Smaller tributaries exhibit similar problems, for instance Rogers Gully.

Rogers Gully mouth bar in Atascocita

Thank You Dan and God Speed

Everyone in the Lake Houston Area owes Dan Huberty a huge “thank you” for this one. Huberty, who has served in the House for 10 years, has announced his intention not to run again. Throughout his tenure, Huberty helped reform state education funding. He also passed regulation that forced sand mines to register with the TCEQ during his freshman year in 2011. God speed on the next leg of your journey, Dan.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/20/21

1544 days after Hurricane Harvey