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Martin, state officials hope to tackle Kingwood mouthbar in 2019

November 27, 2018

State and local officials are seeking solutions to remove the notorious Kingwood mouthbar — a large buildup of sand and sediment deposited at least partly by Harvey that could contribute to flooding.

Houston City Councilman Dave Martin has been meeting with Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Staff, and other state and federal officials to talk about sediment buildups.

The officials are still determining how much needs to be removed from the San Jacinto River to limit the possibility of flooding, he said in a statement on Friday.

Martin met with Abbott’s staff, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Austin in October to discuss ways to remove the mouthbar after the current dredging project in the San Jacinto River is complete by the end of April 2019.

There will be approximately 500,000 cubic yards of additional sediment that needs to be removed from the mouthbar, he said in the statement.

The estimate of how much sediment needs to be removed from the mouthbar is based on a recent Light Detection and Ranging study conducted by the ACOE. The study uses light in the form of pulsing lasers to measure the distance from the water’s surface to the bottom of the river and Lake Houston.

A media release from Martin’s office states the LIDAR study allows the city to map changes in shoreline as well as make digital elevation models. It is this data that is assisting the City and ACOE in determining the amount of sediment that needs to be removed from locations along the West Fork of the San Jacinto River like the mouthbar that is located just south of the Deerwood Country Club, he said.

“Most recently the Texas Water Development Board has completed the bathymetry study of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River for the City of Houston. Data from this study has been given to the ACOE to determine the amount of sediment that resulted from Hurricane Harvey. This information is useful because this study identifies underwater topography allowing the City to understand where the additional sediment brought in by Hurricane Harvey has been deposited in the river and lake as well as changes in depth,” the media release states.

The media release mentioned that FEMA agrees the additional sediment from the mouthbar qualifies as debris resulting from Hurricane Harvey, but 500,000 cubic yards is not directly associated with Harvey.

The City of Houston currently does not have data that would provide information of how much sediment resulted from Harvey. The city is currently waiting on results from the LIDAR study.

“The removal of the mouthbar cannot begin until the existing emergency dredging along the West Fork of the San Jacinto River is completed,” the media release states. “Since this is a reality the city is doing all that it can to be proactive in securing land as well as permits for the mouthbar’s removal once the existing project is completed by the ACOE in April. This will allow the ACOE to keep equipment and crews in place without the need for demobilization and remobilization, saving roughly $18 million.”

kaila.contreras@chron.com

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