Silt, silt and more silt removed from the West and East Forks of the San Jacinto River.

In January, the City of Houston issued a Notice To Proceed (NTP) for debris removal services, specifically large silt deposits, at the confluence of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston, commonly referred to as the "mouth bar." The City of Houston, through its contractor DRC Emergency Services, LLC (DRC), began mechanical dredging of the mouth bar in January. The total cost for this project is $40 million, which is funded through a combination of City of Houston Harvey Disaster dollars provided by Gov. Greg Abbott, grant dollars from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), and funding from the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) Bond Program.

DRC is invoicing the City of Houston in accordance with rates established and approved by the city including final disposal. DRC must comply with all terms and provisions established by FEMA relative to disaster debris collections, temporary storage and final disposal. The grant application for this project was submitted to the TWDB by Harris County Engineer John Blount. Harris County is collaborating closely with HCFCD, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), and the City of Houston on this crucial project.

DRC is completing the scope of work for dredging activities in two distinct phases. The first phase will remove accumulated materials near and at the mouth bar on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, and the second phase will remove accumulated materials in the East Fork of the San Jacinto River and other locations in Lake Houston. During Phase One of this project it is expected that a minimum of 400,000 cubic yards of material will be removed over 12 months. To date, DRC has removed approximately 289,549 cubic yards of material.

Phase Two of the project will consist of: Harris County completing hydrographic surveys of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, the East Fork of the San Jacinto River, and Lake Houston to determine dredge material volumes; the City of Houston advertising and awarding a dredging contract to the lowest responsive bidder; and Harris County designating the City of Houston as a sub-recipient for the cost of the dredging contract. Phase Two will run simultaneously with Phase One to expedite activity.

Additionally, during Phase Two of the project, City of Houston, Harris County, HCFCD, SJRA and the Coastal Water Authority (CWA) will develop and execute a plan for the City of Houston or CWA to assume long-term dredging operations on Lake Houston. This work effort will include determining funding for the dredging operations in perpetuity. This phased approach will obligate the full grant funding before the 87th legislative session in 2021. This grant funding was made possible thanks to State Rep. Dan Huberty (District 127) through the passage of Senate Bill 500.

Mayor Pro Tem Martin, again, would like to offer a very special "thank you" to State Rep. Dan Huberty for his commitment to seeing this project through and his dedication to the long-term maintenance activities on Lake Houston. Huberty has been a champion for his residents and a great ally in seeing these additional dredging efforts come to fruition.

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