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Published on April 6, 2021

Memories are made of this

Obstructed San Bernard River awaits unclogging

By Jan Edwards
The Bulletin

The mouth of the San Bernard River is suffering from a bad case of congestion, which may be close to being cleared up.

It looks like the last time I gave you an update on the reopening of the San Bernard River in this column was in August 2020.

I’ve been documenting this process since the beginning, and in August I gave you the Reader’s Digest version of the entire project. You can access this story through the archives The Bulletin keeps on www.mybulletinnewspaper.com - just look under my name.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster brought about the R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revised Economies of the Gulf Coast States) to govern the distribution of the fines and penalties assessed against the British Petroleum Company (BP), and the San Bernard River mouth project was awarded funding from this act to re-open the river mouth.

The project has already jumped through a lot of hoops lined with red tape. Hurricane Harvey’s interference caused a slowdown and more work. For instance, due to Hurricane Harvey’s effect on the mouth of the San Bernard, the Corps of Engineers’ permit to dredge open the mouth had to be adjusted.

Then, the year since COVID-19 hit, the process slowed down again. It’s hard to get consensus on work that needs to be done and how to accomplish it when working remotely.

The weekend of March 20-21, 2021, there seemed to be a lot of activity around the mouth of the San Bernard River. There were many flyovers by airplanes and official-looking trucks and worker trucks at the boat ramp at the end of FM 2918.

People were hoping this was the beginning of the dredging, but it was determined that whatever that activity was, it was not associated with re-opening the mouth of the river.

Now, opening the mouth of the San Bernard has finally retained the last Corps of Engineers permit it needs to get the green light.

Dannenbaumn Engineering and Brazoria County are working on completing additional surveys, which need to be conducted in order to be in compliance with state and federal laws. If all goes as planned, everything should be ready for the county to bid the project in late April, and the rest will be all down hill.

Getting this last portion done reminds me of trying to get the last little dab of goodness out of a molasses jar in the winter – it’s work but worth the effort in the end. Keep reading my column, and when something happens, I’ll let you know.

(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)