Posted November 12, 2019
After a swell of community support and letters to local legislators, lawmakers have signed a letter supporting additional dredging of the Lake Houston mouth-bar, according to a Nov. 4 news release from Houston City Council Member Dave Martin's office. The mouth-bar is a gathering of sediment located at the confluence of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston.
According to the release, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston; U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Oct. 24 supporting additional dredging of the mouth-bar.
The Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District initially began dredging the West Fork of the San Jacinto River in September 2018; roughly $70 million was spent to dredge 1.7 million cubic yards of material from the river.
Shortly before the initial phase came to an end, FEMA gave a mission assignment to the Corps to extend the dredging project and remove nearly 500,000 cubic yards of sediment from around the mouth-bar. Contractors began dredging this area in June and completed the assignment Sept. 3, according to a Sept. 10 news release from Martin's office.
However, Houston officials have said they want additional dredging to be done on the mouth-bar. A study performed by engineering company Tetra Tech to determine how much sediment was deposited on the mouth-bar during Hurricane Harvey showed that 1.4 million cubic yards should still be removed to restore it to pre-Harvey conditions. However, FEMA representatives have not accepted the city's sediment data.
"Overall, the dredging efforts in the San Jacinto River have removed roughly 2 million cubic yards of debris from the river alone, which has been tremendous to return the flow and depth in the river," the Nov. 4 news release stated. "The 500,000 cubic yards removed from the mouth-bar, while helpful, does not achieve the goal of Council Member Martin to further reduce the effects of potential future flooding while protecting lives and property of those living in Kingwood and the Lake Houston area."