Posts

Meeting in Austin to Include Mouth Bar in Dredging Scope Ends Well, But Two Hurdles Still Exist

On Thursday, October 11, Council Member Dave Martin attended a follow up meeting to discuss Harvey recovery needs in the Lake Houston area, including the mouth bar. Regulatory agencies including the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), along with staff from Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office and the City of Houston also attended the meeting. At one point, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd reportedly told people he wasn’t going to let them leave until they reached agreement. The meeting lasted nine hours…without lunch. But at the end of the day, we’re a big step closer to removing the giant sand bar blocking the mouth of the San Jacinto River. Here’s how things reportedly played out.

City Requested Expansion of Scope

The City of Houston asked FEMA to give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) an emergency directive to remove siltation caused by Hurricane Harvey at the mouth of the West Fork of the San Jacinto. Further, to expedite the project and save remobilization fees, the City requested that this work piggyback on the original State of Texas Assistance Request (STAR).

Although  not officially approved yet, regulatory agencies reacted favorably to adding this to the original STAR request. However, two hurdles still exist.

Two Hurdles Remain for Mouth Bar Project

Before the mouth bar can be removed, two more hurdles must be cleared:

  • Identifying and permitting a disposal site
  • Complying with environmental regulations.

TDEM agreed to complete this additional work under an emergency request similar to the one that jumpstarted the initial dredging.

Said Houston City Council Member Dave Martin, “All parties involved are ready to make this work.”

Humble Land a Possibility

Barry Madden, an Humble landowner, with substantial acreage near the river and the mouth bar, has already met with officials about using his property as a potential disposal site. If acceptable, the proximity could save millions of tax dollars. Madden already has “fill” permits in place. So there may really only be one hurdle to clear.

Property owned by Barry Madden just west of Kings Lake Estates and south of the San Jacinto West Fork

Thank You to…

As discussed at the Kingwood Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, October 9, this mouth bar and other Lake Houston area projects could not happen without the continuing efforts of TDEM, in particular Chief W. Nim Kidd;  Governor Abbott’s Chief Operating Officer, Reed Clay; City of Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner; Chief Resiliency Officer, Stephen Costello; and Chief Recovery Officer, Marvin Odum.

How You Can Help

Many residents continue to ask Council Member Martin what they can do to help. Council Member Martin encourages residents to send their thanks to several key officials for assisting District E. Please click here for their mailing addresses.

For more information, please contact Council Member Martin’s office at (832) 393-3008 or via email at districte@houstontx.gov.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/12/18

409 Days since Hurricane Harvey