Tag Archive for: Kayden

River Grove Dredging Done, Only Cleanup Left

Ever since Harvey filled up the lagoon next to the River Grove boardwalk, Kingwood residents have clamored to restore the area. This week they got their wish. Kayden Industries has removed its two dredges and the giant “shaker” that separated sand from water. This morning, all that remained of the operation was a front-end loader, a giant pile of sand, and dump trucks rapidly carrying it away. They should be done with the operation this week.

Damage Due to Harvey

Here’s the story in pictures starting with Harvey.

The lagoon next to the popular boardwalk at Kingwood’s River Grove Park has totally filled in with sand deposited by Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey also left a 10-foot high sandbar that blocked the drainage ditch that runs through River Grove.

Army Corps Breaks Through Blockage

Before the Kingwood Service Association could do anything, the Army Corps and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock had to break through that sand bar, and open up the park to the river again.

KSA Excavates Park and Plans Dredging

It took the next year for KSA to:

  • Remove up to five feet of sand covering the parking lot and areas near the boardwalk
  • Restore soccer fields also covered in sand
  • Repave access roads and parking lots undermined by churning floodwaters
  • Inspect the boardwalk to ensure it was structurally sound.
  • Draw up a dredging plan for the lagoon with an engineer.
  • Identify a suitable place to put the spoils.
  • Bid the job.
  • Approve the plan and expenditure.
Note height of sand in River Grove parking lot relative to parking sign in background.

It was a monumental effort. Dee Price, KSA President and steward of River Grove Park, and Bruce Casto, KSA’s maintenance man, deserve kudos for spearheading the effort and saving this park.

Step One for Dredging: Remove Vegetation

KSA approved River Grove dredging in November of 2019 but left the park open for the holidays. Mobilization began in January and dredging finally began in February of 2020.

Between Harvey and the end of 2019, vegetation had grown up over the sand deposited in the lagoon.
Step one in the dredging: Remove the vegetation that had grown on the sand.
Then, Kayden Industries mobilized a mini dredge. The dredging took seven weeks.

Drying the Spoils Before Trucking

Kayden also brought in this giant machine to separate sand from water. It works like an oilfield shaker used to separate drilling cuttings from drilling mud.

Last Week, Demobilization Began

Almost two months after it started, Kayden began demobilizing. Resident Josh Alberson captured the image below with his drone.

Last week, Kayden Industries started demobilizing their equipment. Here we see one of the two dredges getting ready for removal from the water. Kayden brought in a smaller dredge when the City lowered the level of the lake suddenly. The first dredge is up on blocks behind the pile of sand. Photo courtesy of Josh Alberson.
This morning, where the shaker once stood, nothing but some sand remains.
A giant pile of sand still blocks the boat dock.
But dump trucks were lining up to receive the sand and carry it to a placement area in Humble out of the flood plain.
The finished job: a beautifully restored lagoon, complete with some marshes to attract birds.

Water along the boardwalk is 3-5 feet deep, so don’t let kids play in it. That could be dangerous.

Some Repaving Left to Do

All the heavy traffic has taken a toll on park roads. “Everyone needs to understand that the paving problems on the road between the gate and the first stop sign were there long before we started trucking dirt,” said Dee Price, KSA President. “We have patched that area numerous times in the past.” Price said KSA needs to mill and re-pave that piece of road as the group did with the soccer road. Price plans to put that project in the next fiscal-year budget. But for now, she says, “We need to patch it again until we can do the major improvement next year.”

Posted by Bob Rehak on April 14, 2020 with thanks to Josh Alberson for the drone imagery

958 Days since Hurricane Harvey

River Grove Dredging Completion Delayed at Least 2 Weeks

Dredging of the River Grove Park boat launch and lagoon have been set back at least two weeks. Originally, KSA estimated that the job could finish as early as the end of March. According to KSA President Dee Price, that was an estimate from the contractor, Kayden Industries, not a contract requirement.

Lower Lake Level Required Even Smaller Dredge

According to Price, Kayden ran into a problem when the City unexpectedly lowered the level of Lake Houston about two feet. “The reduction in the water level grounded the dredging barge that they were using,” said Price. “To keep moving forward, they removed the first dredge and brought in a smaller one.”

Original dredge now sidelined. Sand stockpile in parking lot is being removed by truck to a location in Humble out of the floodplain.
New dredge is even smaller than last one but can operate in shallower water.
About one third of the lagoon in front of the boardwalk remains. Note how vegetation is already regrowing on exposed sediment.
This afternoon, the new dredge operated by the discharge pipe.
The dredge pumps water and sediment into this giant machine that resembles an oil field “shaker.” It separates solids from liquids. The solids drop out. They are then carried to the edge of the boat dock where they dry further before being hauled off.
Water minus sediment over a certain size is then returned to the river.

Contractor Will Finish Job With Smaller Dredge

“The water level is back up now,” said Price. “Kayden thinks they can finish the job using the smaller dredge, but it will take a little longer.”

With the corona virus restrictions, there is now very little activity at the park. Reminder: children should NOT use the playground equipment to help restrict the spread of the virus. Soccer leagues have also been affected. Only a handful of people were using the park this afternoon.

After Dredging

The sand pile is still blocking the boat launch. It and Kayden’s equipment will be removed from the park when dredging completes in a couple more weeks.

At that point, KSA intends to repair the asphalt damage from the heavy equipment. KSA will also replace the speed bumps with speed humps to accommodate boat trailers. All that could take till May.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/27/2020

941 Days after Hurricane Harvey

New Aerial Photos of River Grove Park Show Extent of Dredging Project

Since Hurricane Harvey, KSA has worked diligently to restore the damage to River Grove Park. It has been a massive job. Harvey filled in the lagoon in front of the boardwalk; left five feet of sand in the parking lot, disc golf course, and playing fields; and deposited a sand bar more than a quarter mile long and 12 feet high in front of the boat dock.

River Grove Waterfront on 9/14/2017, two weeks after Harvey. Lagoon filled in, five feet of sand filled the parking lot, and a 1400-foot, 12-foot-high sandbar blocked off the drainage ditch that empties the western third of Kingwood.

Army Corps Restored River Access

The Army Corps cut a channel through the sand bar that blocked the drainage ditch that empties the western third of Kingwood. That was a huge sigh of relief for a large part of Kingwood. But much work remained to restore the park itself. Among the last items on the agenda: restoring the lagoon and boat ramp access.

Dredging of Boat Dock Area and Lagoon

In late February 2020, KSA contractor Kayden Industries removed a 50-foot strip of vegetation that had grown up on sandbars in the lagoon. Then last week, they began dredging.

It’s hard to capture the scope of dredging operations from the ground – especially with access restricted for safety reasons. But last week, I did a flyover and captured these pics from a helicopter.

Looking west toward the River Grove Boat Ramp and Lagoon. Photo taken March 5, 2020. The dredge started by the boat dock and is working upstream now in the lagoon. Note the dewatering plant in the parking lot and the growing pile of spoils waiting for removal on the right.

In the photo above, you can see the 50-foot strip where Kayden removed vegetation. That will be the limit of dredging. KSA plans to remove 4-5 feet of sand from this area. The area still covered with grasses will remain wetlands. It will provide cover, habitat and food for birds and other species. That should help make River Grove a destination for birders again.

Harvey deposited sand several feet deep on the peninsula that defines the River Grove lagoon. That unfortunately killed many of the trees there. The wetlands remaining in the lagoon are now more important than ever. Eagles nest in the trees in the upper right of this photo on Romerica property.
The dredge started in the area in front of the boat dock and is working its way upstream in the lagoon. Water from the dredge goes through a floating pipe to a dewatering plant in the parking lot. Water is then returned to the lake in a closed-loop process.

A Bit of the Oil Field Comes to River Grove

The dewatering plant separates sand and sediment from the water before returning the water to the river. This is the same type of equipment used in oilfields to separate drilling cuttings from drilling mud, before recycling the mud.

Expected Finish By End of March

KSA expects the dredging project to finish by the end of March, weather permitting. However, the boat ramp may not open immediately. The heavy equipment has damaged the asphalt in the parking lot. Repairs and restriping may take a few weeks more.

Originally, KSA expected to remove 10,000 cubic yards of sediment. The contractor now predicts they will remove 11,000 to12,000 cubic yards to complete the scope of work.

Other Park Improvements

The good news: When all of this is done, River Grove Park should be back and better than ever. During repairs, KSA decided to:

  • Convert several of the soccer fields from “league fields” to “public fields.” Residents have long requested that change.
  • Change the speed bumps to milder speed humps in the traffic circle. Boaters have long requested that.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/9/2020

923 Days since Hurricane Harvey

River Grove Dredging Operation Moves to Next Phase

During the first phase of River Grove dredging, the contractor, Kayden, removed vegetation from the area to be dredged adjacent to the boardwalk (see photo below).

River Grove Boat Ramp and Lagoon on 2/13/2020 before dredging operation started. Looking south.

They completed vegation removal last week. They also completed cleaning silt out from under the boardwalk without impacting its stability or support. This week, they’re back with a tiny dredge and a giant mobile dewatering plant.

The Little Dredge That Could

The dredge was selected because it could maneuver in the tight spaces adjacent to the River Grove Boardwalk. It’s 12 feet wide and 51 feet long. The first word that came to mind when I saw it was “cute.” The second thing that came to mind was the child’s story “The Little Engine that Could.” As it sat there chugging away at sand and silt, I thought I could hear the John Deer, 6-cylinder, 13.5 liter diesel engine chanting, “I think I can, I think I can.”

Kayden Dredge. The IMS Model 7012 HP Versa-Dredge specs.

Dewatering Plant Processes Sand for Removal, Returns Water To River

The giant dewatering plant operates much like shakers used in oil field drilling work. Water and sediment are pumped up from the lagoon by the dredge. They enter one side of the dewatering plant. There, they are pumped through centrifuges, then across a series of screens that vibrate. Water falls through the screens into a tank below. Sand accumulates on the screens until they dump it down chutes. From there, a front end loader scoops up the dirt and piles it up until trucks haul it away.

Video of dewatering plant in operation courtesy of Josh Alberson.
Front end loader removes dirt from dewatering plant and piles it up for removal from River Grove.

Kayden then pumps the water back into the river.

Water returned to river after sediment removed. Photo courtesy of Josh Alberson.

Dredge Designed for Tight Spaces

River Grove dredging will not move nearly as fast as the dredging that Great Lakes and Callan were doing, but it seems to work well for the location. A major concern is overly aggressive dredging that could undermine the supports for the boardwalk and boat ramp. Another word that comes to mind is “precise.” Think about the difference between a van and an 18 wheeler. The major issue here is fitting in small spaces.

KSA intends to dredge only 50 feet from the boardwalk instead of all the way over to the trees. This shows the area where vegetation was removed earlier. Dredging will take place within this space.

How It All Works Together

Here’s a contractor animation that shows how everything works together. And here are the specs of the equipment. It could conceivably be used for dredging other channel inlets around the lake such as the one at Walden.

Despite the size of the equipment at River Grove, the operation itself is far more compact than previous dredging operations. This could form a model for the dredging of inlets around the lake, like the one at Walden. However, County Engineer John Blount emphasizes that no decisions have been made in that regard yet.

The Safety Moment

If you take your kids to River Grove to see this operation, make sure you stay behind the yellow tape for your own safety.

Also, until the operation is complete in another month or so, remember that traffic at River Grove will be two-way. Just be aware.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/4/2020 with photos and video from Josh Alberson

918 Days after Hurricane Harvey