More than year after contractors began dredging sediment from the West Fork of the San Jacinto River in September 2018, contractors will soon begin dredging the mouth bar.
The mouth bar is a collection of sediment at the confluence of the river and Lake Houston that local officials have been fighting to get removed since Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017. Officials said the mouth bar decreases the river's capacity during heavy rain events, which can exacerbate flooding.
Contractors DRC Emergency Services LLC mobilized on-site the week of Jan. 6, according to a Jan. 6 news release from the office of Houston City Council Member Dave Martin, who also serves as mayor pro tem.
Jessica Beemer, the chief of staff for Martin, said the material will be deposited at a designated site south of the mouth bar.
The $40 million project will remove at least 400,000 cubic yards of material from the mouth bar over the next 12 months, according to the release. This portion of the project will be partially funded by a grant from Gov. Greg Abbott's office and $30 million granted to Harris County to dredge the Lake Houston area via Senate Bill 500.
Meanwhile, Harris County will also work on a hydraulic study of the East Fork and West Fork of the San Jacinto River as well as Lake Houston to determine the amount of material that should be dredged next, per the release. This will be funded by money from Harris County's $2.8 billion flood infrastructure bond approved by voters in August 2018, according to Harris County's grant application to the Texas Water Development Board—which is the entity that facilitates funding from SB 500.
Beemer said the hydraulic study will be an ongoing county effort as the officials work to continually dredge Lake Houston and its rivers.
Although funding for indefinite dredging operations has not yet been secured, the release stated that officials hope to develop a long-term plan while Harris County determines potential future dredge sites.
Click here to read more about long-term dredging projects in the Lake Houston area.