My family and I just bought a place on the River. I've tried to research and learn about the river and the mouth and the dredging. What is your thoughts "going forward"?? Is there any capital money set aside by state, or shipping companies to keep the mouth maintaned? Thanks so much for your time. ––Chris Fisher
As you probably know, the Corps of Engineers re-opened the San Bernard after they were made aware that the mouth being closed caused dangerous (and expensive) conditions at the west gates of the Brazos River. Once the decision was made to dredge the mouth, the commitment was also made to keep it open. Original estimates were that it would be necessary to dredge every three to ten years, depending on how fast the mouth silted over. The original dredging was designed to maintain a “vortex effect” to keep the mouth open as long as possible. To do this they made it 10 feet deep but only a 100 feet wide (with another 50 or so feet of slope on each side). During the nine months or so after the re-opening, a shoal began to form at the mouth, creating a concern that it would close much sooner than planned. However, after aerial and on-site examination of the conditions by the Corps last August, it was concluded that the shoal would actually be helpful in keeping the actual mouth open and the river flowing. It was also noted that the drought during that period contributed to the shoaling. With the more normal rains last winter, the mouth is actually wider now than it was in the fall. The Corps performs routine examinations of the conditions at the mouth about once every three months, usually with an aerial review.
It should also be noted that there was never a plan to maintain a navigable channel to the Gulf, but it has been usable by small boats during good conditions.––Bob Bailey, F.O.R. San Bernard, Treasurer