Tag Archive for: Emergency West Fork Dredging Project

Last Phase-1 Dredge Gone; Phase 2 Will Be Announced Next Week

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

On November 4th, the dock at the Army Corps Command Post opposite Forest Cove was bustling with activity, as workers dismantled the Great Lakes Dredge. Note all the pipe in the background. Each 40 food section weighs 4,000 pounds.

Now You Don’t

Photo taken on Tuesday, 11/12/19. Dredge is gone.

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

Clock Starts Ticking on Army Corps Dredging Project

Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced yesterday afternoon that representatives from Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC of Oak Brook, IL, met with Corps’ contracting and project managers for a pre-construction conference. The meeting finalized project requirements for the $69,814,060 dredging and debris removal emergency operation and the clock has started ticking on the project.

The easterly limit of the U.S. Army Corps’ emergency dredging project on the West Fork of the San Jacinto.

The FEMA-funded project covers about two miles of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River near the West Lake Houston Parkway and Lake Houston. FEMA guidelines limit the operation to restoring pre-Harvey conditions.

Beginning of First Phase

“This is the beginning of the first phase of a very challenging project,” said Al Meyer, a USACE Galveston District administrative contracting officer.  “This project involves dredging and debris removal of 1.8 million cubic yards of sediment that has contributed to recent flooding in that area.”

The Focus for Next Week

He said the community should start to see activity within the next two-weeks. According to Corps Colonel Mark Williford, next week  teams will be engaged in:

  • Pre-dredge hazard surveys
  • Before-cut surveys
  • Disposal-area surveys
  • Staging-area set up

Meyer, a professional engineer with more than 35 years’ experience with the Corps, says the conference allowed project team members to interact with Great Lakes representatives to ensure a complete understanding of contract requirements.

“The clock starts today; our contractors have 270 days to complete the project that will work to reduce, but not eliminate flooding, and return the area to pre-Harvey conditions.” said Meyers.

Less than 4 Months from Survey to Dredging

This will be one of the first projects initiated as a direct consequence of Hurricane Harvey.

Corps surveying began in April to determine sediment levels within the West Fork of the San Jacinto River after FEMA responded to a State of Texas request under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act of 1988. Since then, the Corps has developed models based on their survey findings, evaluated several different dredging plans, finalized specifications, bid the project, vetted the bids, awarded the job and started mobilizing for it.

The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. The district is directly responsible for maintaining more than 1,000 miles of channel, including 250 miles of deep draft and 750 miles of shallow draft as well as the Colorado River Locks and Brazos River Floodgates.

Posted 7/19/2018 by Bob Rehak

324 Days since Hurricane Harvey