Tag Archive for: debris removal

City of Houston Contractors to Begin East Fork Debris Removal

Disaster Recovery Corporation, a contractor for the City of Houston will soon begin debris removal on the San Jacinto East Fork.

Scope of Work

The scope of this particular phase of debris removal extends from just north of the southern tip of Lake Houston Park to about halfway up the east side of the 5000 acre park. See the start and stop points on the satellite image below.

The City of Houston should begin debris removal on the east side of Lake Houston Park next week.

The distance covered equals 2 miles as crow flies or 3 miles as the fish swims.

Debris Includes…

Here are FEMA guidelines for debris removal. Debris can include trees, sunken boats, old tires, vehicles, and other things washed downstream in floods. It is basically any debris in the water, or below the surface at a depth that is equal to the maximum draft level of the largest vessel that would use the waterway plus 2 feet. Debris also includes trees that are leaning or that pose a threat to public safety.

Beginning First Week in June

Work should start the first week in June. Authorities eventually expect the work to extend up to the Harris County line at FM1485 near the extension of the Grand Parkway.

Debris Removal to Date

Debris removal to date in other places on the East and West Forks and their tributaries has consisted mainly of the removal of downed trees. On Lake Houston, debris removal began almost exactly two years ago.

The trees pose hazards to navigation and can form logjams that back water up in floods, threatening homes and businesses. They also can get hung up on bridge supports and the Lake Houston Dam, threatening infrastructure.

During Harvey, trees swept downstream and caught up in the supports for the Union Pacific and the southbound Highway 59 bridges over the West Fork in Humble. Both bridges had to be replaced. Trees also blocked flow at the FM1960 bridge and the rail bridge in Lake Houston.

Trees enter the waterway when floodwaters undermine river banks or simply rip trees out by their roots.

Downed trees on West Fork after Hurricane Harvey flood. Photo taken September 14, 2017
Dead tree removal on Lake Houston in June 2018.
This pontoon carried dead trees as well as fencing that had been swept into the river. September 2018.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/29/2020

1004 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 253 since Imelda

Debris Removal from Lake Houston Begins

Debris removal from Lake Houston has begun. On Sunday, May 27, I received a brief note from Keith Jordan, a Kingwood resident who has been active in flood recovery. His note said, “Toured the river today. Saw two barges with cranes picking up large piles of tree debris along the banks, but no dredging occurring.”

A few hours later, I received another note from Dianne Lansden, co-chair of the Lake Houston Area Grass Roots Flood Prevention Initiative. She forwarded a newsletter to me from State Representative Dan Huberty. The newsletter quoted statements from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston City Council Member Dave Martin about debris removal.

Removing Dead Trees

Turner stated, “I’m pleased to inform you that debris removal operations on the Lake Houston Reservoir began last week with the goal of preventing flooding and improving the use of the lake for recreational purposes and as key water supply source.”

The flood associated with Hurricane Harvey destroyed thousands of trees, which are now being removed from Lake Houston.

“Houston debris contractor DRC Emergency Services, LLC is performing the work with four barges and is expected to add two more by June 1, 2018. There are an estimated 75,000 to 150,000 cubic yards of debris in the lake because of Hurricane Harvey, according to the City’s debris monitoring operator, Tetra Tech. Removal of debris will reach 2,000 cubic yards per day at the height of operations,” said Turner.

At that rate and depending on the actual amount of debris recovered, the project could last anywhere from approximately five to 10 weeks.

During floods, dead trees like those shown above can wash downstream. The debris can then collect at at bridges and dams, impeding the flow water. as Kingwood resident Dave Seitzinger showed. Such piles of trees can work much like beaver dams.

Separate from Army Corps Dredging Project

Apparently, this project is separate from and in addition to the dredging project that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying.

Mayor Turner continued, “This project, when combined with the dredging of the San Jacinto River, provides that residents’ tax dollars are being used in a most beneficial manner to protect their properties from high water.”

Temporary Lowering of Lake Houston For Debris Removal

Dave Martin, District E Houston City Council Member said, “This week, residents can expect to see the level of Lake Houston reduced due to needed maintenance for the health of the Lake Houston Spillway Dam. In order to conduct this work the Coastal Water Authority will need to reduce the level of the Lake from 42.36 ft to 42.0 ft. This reduction in lake level will only be temporary while maintenance is occurring, and residents should not be alarmed. The purpose of the maintenance is to allow crews to remove debris that is currently sitting on top of the dam.”


Posted on May 28, 2018 by Bob Rehak

272 Days Since Hurricane Harvey