Officials provide updates on COVID-19, Lake Houston dam gates, mouth bar dredging at Kingwood BizCom

Local business leaders and community members gathered virtually at Kingwood BizCom on Aug. 6. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Local business leaders and community members gathered virtually at Kingwood BizCom on Aug. 6. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Local business leaders and community members gathered virtually at Kingwood BizCom on Aug. 6. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Local business leaders and community members gathered virtually Aug. 6 at Kingwood BizCom, which was hosted by the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce.

During the meeting, Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin, who also serves as the council member for District E in Kingwood, updated attendees about various flood mitigation projects in the Kingwood area, including the Lake Houston dam gate project and dredging in Lake Houston and the West Fork of the San Jacinto River.

Last August, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the city of Houston’s project to build $47.1 million gates on the Lake Houston dam. Most recently, the Coastal Water Authority hired Black & Veatch as the design contractor for the project in April, Martin said. He said construction will most likely be completed in late 2022 or early 2023.

"What we don't want to do is we don't want to hurt all the people who live ... downstream from us," he said. "I never want to be accused of hurting the folks downstream, so we're doing a lot of assessments."

Additionally, dredging is pushing forward on the mouth bar, which is located at the confluence of Lake Houston and the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. Contractors began work in January to remove about 400,000 cubic yards of debris from the mouth bar—a $40 million project that is expected to take about 12 months.


Roughly 240,000 cubic yards have been removed from the mouth bar so far, Martin said. After the project at the mouth bar is complete, the city of Houston will move the dredging efforts to other areas in need of debris removal in the Lake Houston area.

"Next we're going to move over to the East Fork [of the San Jacinto River], where we're seeing an accumulation of a lot of debris in that area," he said.

Meanwhile, HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood officials also spoke at the Kingwood BizCom about how COVID-19 has affected the Lake Houston area. John Corbeil, the CEO of HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, said the HCA Houston Healthcare system has seen a slight decrease in hospitalizations across the Houston region.

The 14 Houston-area HCA hospitals saw a peak of 700 patients, but it is now down to about 300, Corbeil said.

“At Kingwood, we saw a high of around 80 patients with COVID-19 at our facility, and today we’re around 40,” he said.

COVID-19 hospitalizations at the Kingwood hospital mirror hospital trends in the Greater Houston area. The Texas Medical Center reported a 17% drop in COVID-19 patients in intensive care units between July 27 and Aug. 2 and fewer new daily hospitalizations, Community Impact Newspaper reported. However, the TMC also also saw 260 more COVID-19 patients die week over week.
By Kelly Schafler

Editor, Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood

Kelly Schafler is the editor for the Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood edition of Community Impact Newspaper, covering public education, city government, development, businesses, local events and all things community-related. Before she became editor, she was the reporter for the Conroe and Montgomery edition for a year and a half.



MOST RECENT

If approved, the Lake Houston Dredging and Maintenance District could take on all future dredging in Lake Houston. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
To-be-filed bill could fund dredging in Lake Houston by charging additional surface water fee

The conservation and reclamation district would have the power to take out bonds to fund projects. The bonds would be paid through a fee charged to utility providers who purchase surface water from Lake Houston.

COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.

Bob Popinski, policy director of Raise Your Hand Texas, shared the organization's top education priorities for the ongoing legislative session. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
‘What does virtual learning and remote learning look like moving forward?': Raise Your Hand Texas policy director talks legislative priorities

Bob Popinski is the director of policy for Raise Your Hand Texas, an Austin-based organization committed to improving public education. He spoke with Community Impact Newspaper in late December about the 87th legislative session, which began Jan. 12.

Houston City Hall aerial view
Houston City Council ethics committee to review speech policies

The discussion comes after Facebook posts by Council Member Greg Travis led to calls for his resignation or censure.

Bayou City Art Festival Downtown is scheduled to return in person in October. (Courtesy Katya Horner/Bayou City Art Festival)
Bayou City Art Festival scheduled for in-person return in October

The Memorial Park version of the festival will be celebrated through alternative virtual and smaller in-person events.

The Conroe clinic was allocated 2,000 doses of Moderna Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine the week of Jan. 18 because of its designation as a hub provider. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Conroe's Lone Star Family Health Center designated as COVID-19 vaccination hub, receives 2,000 doses

The facility was the sole Montgomery County provider to receive a vaccine allocation in the sixth week of statewide distribution.

At a Jan. 15 emergency court hearing, officials came up with a plan to try to reduce the inmate population at the Harris County Jail that centers on hosting more bail reduction hearings. (Courtesy Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)
With open beds dwindling, officials look for ways to reduce Harris County jail population

The inmate population at the Harris County Jail is rising, and officials are looking for ways to quickly ease the pressure as concerns grow over the ability to quarantine and restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

Bocca Italian Kitchen serves seasonal, Italian-inspired dishes, such as polenta and various pastas. (Courtesy Marco Torres)
Italian eateries open in Generation Park; Houston bike lane fines enforced and more local news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The independent pharmacy went through 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine in nine days. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Magnolia Pharmacy aims to open volunteer-run COVID-19 vaccine clinic Jan. 22

If everything goes according to plan, the clinic could administer 200-400 doses per day to those who qualify, regardless of their county of residency.

Humble Mayor Merle Aaron announced in January that he would not seek re-election in May. (Courtesy Merle Aaron)
UPDATED: Humble Mayor Merle Aaron announces retirement, will not seek re-election in May

Prior to serving as mayor, Aaron was elected to City Council in 2005 to complete an unexpired term as council member. He resigned 10 years later to run for mayor.

Humble City Council Member Allan Steagall, left, who served on the council for 18 years, officially retired Jan. 14. Steagall was joined at his last meeting by his wife, Juanita, right. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Humble City Council Member Allan Steagall retires after 18 years serving community

Steagall served 18 consecutive years on Humble City Council, during which he never ran opposed for his seat.

Minute Maid Park
Houston Health Department vaccine appointments fill up in 16 minutes

The department will administer 5,000 doses at Minute Maid Park on Jan. 16 and 17.