Question and Answer Session with Brazoria County Commissioners
Posted on Aug 3rd, 2022
Q. Are any of the contracts available for public review?
A. All of our contracts are public record.
Q. Why are we asking for a new permit? Why can't the existing permit be used to execute the desired scope of work identified by the engineering contractor?
A. Per the limited permit that exists, current status tells us this is not a valid design and would be a waste of the remaining funds. The path forward is to re-permit the next dredging opportunity per the preferred design that will remove the peninsula sand bars that limit cross flow across the river opening and extend into the Gulf the full 1800 feet. Removing the sand bar peninsula will create an area “bell” that will eliminate the current eddy that redeposits sand into the river channel.
We also learned the Piping Plover and sea turtle population were not affected. This requires permission from the funding entities to begin work. Once this permission is gained, the permit can be prepared and submitted for approval. County projects must be submitted by October 1 for the following year's execution. Since the permit will not be approved by October 1, 2022, it will be submitted in October 2023 for execution in 2024 at the earliest. A different contractor will be hired to perform the new dredging project.
Q. Why not build a Jetty?
A. The cost of a Jetty is prohibitive but engineering data shows that jetties would require maintenance dredging also. The cost of maintenance dredging would be twice the cost of a single channel because both sides of the structure would have to be dredged as sand would spill over the top of the structure. Additionally, permitting would never be allowed as this channel is classified as not navigable. Jetties would cause additional erosion to the shoreline south of the river channel along the Wildlife Refuge and Sargent areas.
Q. Why did the scope of work take so long to complete?
A. The contractor’s performance was not satisfactory and the dredge size was not adequate. Their continued delays required rework. Finally, they brought in additional equipment to protect the undersized dredge in the surf allowing them to complete the scope of work on April 9, 2022 (work started July 2021). Government contracts are complicated and burdensome. The county had no experience with this contractor but was required to accept them as they were the low bidder. Due diligence and disqualifications are very difficult to prove and execute on these types of contracts must follow the law.