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Published on August 10, 2021

Nature joined by the sound of diesel dredges at the mouth of San Bernard

By Janice R. Edwards
The Bulletin

I got up one morning recently just as the sunlight was breaking on the San Bernard River and started my morning rituals around my home early.

My mind would not turn off the previous night, and sleep would not come.

I felt like my life was on a precipice waiting … for something. Meanwhile, I put on a pot of coffee and went out on the deck to water the loofah plants.

I closed my eyes and listened for the birds. I was expecting to hear my neighbor’s new rooster learning to crow like he did a couple of days ago.

But all I heard was the morning strains of the Purple Martins.

This has been a banner year for them. They’ve raised a couple of clutches, and they seem to be hanging around under the deck and on the electric lines overhead. There must be 30 or more of them and remaining this long in such numbers is new. I wonder if they are waiting for something, too?

Then I realized that the tomatoes are done for this year, and despite how much I have watered the loofahs, it seems they are beginning to wilt and turn brown - signaling the end of their long growing period.

I’ve been anticipating this stage; soon I’ll be harvesting my sponges.

I looked across the river and saw no Roseate Spoonbills or other birds, for that matter. The river was muddy and quiet. There were no trout exploding under the lights like firecrackers at night. There were no oysters spitting out clarified water.

The Blue Heron that stands sentinel every night on top of our fishing light had left to find breakfast. The sky was a steel grey accented with a couple of high charcoal-grey clouds that didn’t bring rain.
The whole community appears to be waiting to exhale.

We have all been waiting for the dredge to begin work to open the mouth of the San Bernard River – anticipating the new life it will bring the community.

The reports we received said dredging equipment would be coming into place between July 18-25. But that did not happen. What we found out that week was that the contractor, Rigid Constructors, and others involved in the dredging process, had to complete environmental classes first, and that has been done.

We anticipate finally seeing pipes and other equipment needed to move the sand being staged near the boat ramp at the end of FM 2918. Finally seeing the dredge that will open the mouth is something we have been anticipating for over two years now.

I’m personally waiting for the sound of diesel engines working across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in the morning. You can hear them when the wind is right.

I look forward to finding out a bit more about the process this time from the dredge operator and the county’s engineers. I want to know more about the scope of the work and what we all can anticipate happening. By the time you read this, the process will have begun, and we can all anticipate a new beginning for the river mouth.

But, for now, we are impatiently waiting to see some evidence of the process beginning. What we have been waiting for is so close.

The Great Blue Heron Sentinel returned to his nightly vigil, waiting and watching the river - along with us.

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