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Highlights of FOR State of River Meeting
Posted on Feb 24th, 2020
State of the River Meeting
Sat Feb 22, 2020
“All for one and one for all.” –The Three Mouth-keteers (actually four)
Brazoria County Commissioners Dude Payne and David Lindner, Chris Sallese, Project Mgr. Dannenbaum Engineering and Susie Alford, President, CEO Berg Oliver, have shown "derring-do" in the not so adventuresome tale of opening the mouth since 2013.
Update: Opening the Mouth
Photos Tom Folger folgerstudios.com
Chris Sallese, Dannenbaum Engineering, is flanked on the left by Precinct 4 Commissioner David Linder and on the right, Precinct 1 Commissioner Dude Payne.
The required permit needed to start the process of dredging open the mouth of the San Bernard has stalled at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service because of the piping plover and black rail bird species. These two birds are listed on the Endangered Species Act because dredging and dredge spoil placement is believed to have adverse effects on their critical habitat. If and when this determination is modified, which is considered likely, a 60 day permit will be issued, then Brazoria County has 180 days to finalize and another 30 days to award dredging bids. Best guess, at this point, is early 2021 for opening the mouth.
The Texas Treasury has already received the $10.766M Deepwater Horizon spill RESTORE ACT funds (this is not tax money) allotted to the “Lower San Bernard River Eco System" project.
The plan now is to dredge the San Bernard starting at the ICW and digging out to the Gulf to a distance of 1600’ beyond the beach. A jetty is not planned but rather utilizes maintenance dredging every 5 - 7 years for 25 years paid for by Port Freeport and Brazoria County. Cost of building a jetty is twice as much, and even then, would require maintenance dredging due to sand and sediment accumulating along the up drift side and eventually flowing into the jetty and clogging it.
New Flood Gage Proposed on FM 521
FOR Vice President Mike Goodson speaks about the FOR proposed flood gauge at FM 521 bridge.
VP Mike Goodson gave a report about the possibility of installing an index velocity gauge on the river that allows both tidal impact forecasting (hurricane surge) and water surface elevation (flood monitoring) at FM 521. This would enable the National Weather Service (NWS) to forecast for that part of the river with the densest population.
Installation cost for the gauge would be approximately $50,000 with FOR contributing $25,000 and the additional $25,000 coming from a yet to be determined partner. Operation and maintenance is an extra annual cost of $19,000.
A meeting will be planned with the NWS and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) to discuss having them provide the annual O&M after installation since the gauge would be a valuable tool for USACE to manage barge traffic on the ICW.
Data from the gauge will output usable information to NOAA and will not duplicate findings from the other flood gauges located on the San Bernard.
When closer to finalizing, two legal agreements will be needed to complete the installation.
Phillips 66 Overview & Update
Speaker John Sprafka, Phillips 66 Business Services Manager
The second of three new fractionator units at the Old Ocean refinery to process natural gas liquids NGL from the Eagle Ford Shale production in West Texas is "nearing completion." Construction on a third fractionator has begun.
Phillips 66 barge traffic on the river is scheduled for ten barges a month. The company's computer scheduling system (eliminating human error) has blocked out dates that halts barge traffic on the river so that it does not impact special events of recreational boaters. Read P66 Barge Guidelines on the San Bernard.