Aransas County Navigation District commissioners, at their regular meeting Monday, June 15, took action on items related to Blevins Channel and Leggett Channel.
Commissioners first approved the bid process for the Blevins Channel Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) project.
Harbor Master Keith Barrett said the project has been approved, but FEMA’s estimated cost to bring the channel back to it’s pre-Harvey condition, and what the engineering firm says it will actually cost, are far apart.
“What FEMA saw (with an untrained eye) and what a trained engineer really found is a big difference,” said Barrett.
He noted FEMA is asking the ACND to seek bids on the project to see what the difference really is.
Addressing the fact FEMA PA projects provide funding to bring something back to the condition it was before the storm, versus a FEMA Hazard Mitigation project, which is designed to provide additional protections to prevent future damage, Commissioner Mickey Casterline said, “It just goes against my grain to build something back to a condition that didn’t work (in the first place),” referring to the belief Blevins and Leggett Channel were not large enough to handle the outflow of fresh water after Hurricane Harvey.
Commissioners then approved Mott Macdonald Engineering’s scope of work/cost proposal for Leggett Channel.
Barrett noted a portion of the breakwater on Leggett Channel, where it connects to Key Allegro, was blown out during Hurricane Harvey.
“We did emergency work right after the storm to keep from losing the channel altogether,” said Barrett. “This is the outlying of costs to do the engineering. It has to be done with all the rules and regulations that bind us.
“Unlike Blevins, this will be the final plan.”