Update Removal of ICW West Gate at Brazos River
Posted on Apr 3rd, 2023
The Texas General Land Office, working with USACE-Galveston, has funded a study to look at the effects of removing the west gate at the Brazos River/Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) intersection in addition to studying the silting and flooding issues along our stretch of the Coast. The study was kicked off in 2021 and is currently ongoing and scheduled for completion in 2024. The University of Texas-Arlington and Texas A&M Galveston are conducting the study.
Back in 2018, when the Corps of Engineers proposed removing the west gate at the Brazos and ICW, there was much pushback from local residents and entities due to the fact that the San Bernard River mouth had silted up and evidence of silting (from the Brazos) was seen in the ICW all the way to and up the San Bernard, as well as past the ICW/SB intersection.
There was also concern about the lack of detailed analysis and study of the impact of removing the west gate. The GLO's Coastal Management Plan was updated and a study prepared to address numerous questions related to the gate removal and other concerns.
A few key points about the current sedimentation study
- The purpose of the study can best be described as to better understand the flow and silting dynamics of the Brazos and San Bernard Rivers so that proper decisions can be made about any future projects related to the Brazos, San Bernard, and the ICW. This includes gate removal and SB mouth dredging projects.
- The scope covers the coastal zone from Freeport to Mitchell's cut at Sargent.
Specific Areas of Study
- Evaluate flows, sediment transport, and delta growth at the Brazos River.
- Study the effects of removing the West Brazos River Flood Gate.
- Evaluate rainfall runoff and modeling for the coastal watersheds draining into the San Bernard River.
The study was born out of GLO's "Coastal Resilience Master Plan Project".
There are numerous stakeholders including close collaboration with the Corps Of Engineers Galveston District, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), Brazos River Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), SB National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, as well as local San Bernard River residents.
Funding for this project was approved in August 2021.
In May 2022, GLO contracted UT-Arlington's Civil Engineering Dept. and Texas A&M Galveston to lead the effort. Dr. Yu Zhang UT is leading this study along with Dr. Tim Dellapena at A&M Galveston. The study leaders have pulled together a multidisciplinary team with experts in hydrology, hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and marine geology.
The project was kicked off in June 2022 and is currently ongoing. There have been interim updates. The study is expected to be completed in 2024.
––Contributed by Bert Smith, San Bernard River Resident and aerial photographer