Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou: Desilting of main channel finishes; Phase 2 of desilting diversion channel begins

Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou, which runs from the city of Katy to Cinco Ranch and inside Barker Reservoir., includes a main channel and diversion channel. Both channels are undergoing desilting projects. (Courtesy Wendy Duncan)
Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou, which runs from the city of Katy to Cinco Ranch and inside Barker Reservoir, includes a main channel and diversion channel. Both channels are undergoing desilting projects. (Courtesy Wendy Duncan)

Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou, which runs from the city of Katy to Cinco Ranch and inside Barker Reservoir, includes a main channel and diversion channel. Both channels are undergoing desilting projects. (Courtesy Wendy Duncan)

Editor's note: This story, which originally published at 9:52 a.m., was updated at 12:20 p.m. to reflect additional information about the desilting projects.

Work is progressing on desilting the Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou, which runs from the city of Katy to Cinco Ranch and inside Barker Reservoir.

The Fort Bend County Drainage District completed desilting the bayou in the Barker Reservoir, according to Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyer’s Nov. 7 Facebook post. The project involved removing about 278,000 cubic yards of silt and debris built up in the main Willow Fork channel.

Part of this work will be funded by the county’s $82.9 million flood bond, which was approved by voters Nov. 5.

Additionally, Allgood Construction began mobilizing equipment Nov. 7 to begin Phase 2 to desilt the Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou diversion channel, according to a Nov. 8 Facebook post from Wendy Duncan, a director of the Willow Fork Drainage District.


The $4.3 million project—of which the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 90% of the construction costs—will remove about 184,000 cubic yards of silt from the diversion channel, said Craig Kalkomey, an engineer with LJA Engineering and the WFDD. Crews will also replant vegetation within the channel.

The project is expected to be competed in April, depending on the amount of precipitation received, Kalkomey said.

Duncan said this project was ready to start in July 2018 but could not begin until FBCDD completed its desilting project because the diversion channel acts as a silt trap for the bayou.

"Now that Fort Bend County has completed the project, we can begin desilting," she said and added that WFDD was ready to begin desillting the diversion channel in July 2018.

According to Duncan’s Facebook post, the dump trucks associated with the project will use a road behind Canyon Gate neighborhood so as to keep trucks off Mason Road for the safety of children and residents.

Phase 1 of the project included removing silt and cleaning outfalls into the diversion channel from adjacent subdivisions upstream of Mason Road, Kalkomey said. He added there are additional Hurricane Harvey recovery projects the district needs to complete.

One project—which is expected to begin and be completed within the next two to three months—is to repair minor slope erosion within three channels, Kalkomey said. FEMA has approved the project and will reimburse 90% of the costs.

“The final project to be completed is to repair the water quality feature immediately upstream of Phase 2 within the diversion channel,” he said. “The feature was damaged during Hurricane Harvey. The district and their consultants have been working with FEMA on the costs to repair this feature along with apply for additional funding to mitigate the risk from future failures.”

Kalkomey said the WFDD has begun the design and construction of the project, but an estimated completion date has not been set yet.
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