The last dredge from the Army Corps’ Emergency West Fork Emergency Dredging Program has left the river. State Representative Dan Huberty says plans for Phase 2 of dredging will be announced next week.
Great Lakes Dismantles Dredge
The last remaining dredge, operated by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, finished dredging a 500,000 cubic yard contract extension in the area of the West Fork mouth bar around Labor Day. That brought the total amount of sand and sediment removed from the West Fork to about 2.3 million cubic yards.
The Great Lakes Dredge waited near the mouth bar for six more weeks, as the owners hoped for yet another contract extension that didn’t come. Finally, in mid-October, Great Lakes started removing its dredge, booster pumps, pipe and other support equipment. That was about the time the City applied for another FEMA grant to help with more dredging.
Now You See It
Now You Don’t
With Great Lakes and Callan Marine gone, any additional dredging efforts will start from scratch. And we need a Phase 2.
Millions of cubic yards remain in the West Fork Mouth Bar alone. And Imelda deposited immense of amounts of sediment in a growing East Fork Mouth Bar. And let’s not forget upstream dredging near US59 and the County’s planned Edgewater Park, which will have a public boat launch.
Phase 2 Options Moving Forward
Long-Shot Option: On October 15 or thereabouts, City of Houston Flood Czar Stephen Costello submitted another grant request to FEMA for additional money to dredge the mouth bar. That request is still pending. But it isn’t our only hope.
Sure-Thing Option: Luckily, thanks to State Representative Dan Huberty’s Amendment to SB-500, earlier this year, the State Legislature earmarked $30 million for dredging Lake Houston. Let’s call that Phase 2.
The crucial text of the Huberty Amendment reads, “… $30 million is dedicated to the Texas Water Development Board to provide a grant to Harris County for the purchase and operation of equipment to remove accumulated siltation and sediment deposits located at the confluence of the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston.”
According to Huberty, the County, City and State have been examining alternative plans and evaluating their cost-effectiveness. Huberty expects to hold a press conference next week to announce next steps. Stay tuned.
Please note that the two options are not mutually exclusive. The FEMA Grant could still come though and be used to extend Phase 2 dredging.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/15/2019
808 Days after Hurricane Harvey