Aransas County Navigation District (ACND) Harbor Master Keith Barrett and Chairman Malcolm Dieckow gave brief reports at the end of the ACND commissioners’ regular meeting Monday, Jan. 6.
Barrett said the district completed many projects in 2019, including the Rockport Beach pavilions, boats ramps, and bait stands.
“All those things are recognized in the county and are now better than they were pre-Harvey,” said Barrett.
He noted projects slated for this year (to be completed, or initiated), include work on Blevin’s and Leggett Light channels, and breakwater and/or bulkhead work at Rockport and Fulton harbors.
Barrett said FEMA has provided the funds for the preliminary engineering work for some of the projects, but actual costs, compared to what FEMA estimated are much different. Those differences are being worked through.
“There’s a lot difference between estimating projects with 2x4s versus (the type of projects we’re doing),” said Barrett.
The true costs will be revealed once all engineering is complete.
He reiterated much of the bulkhead/breakwater located in Aransas County, that protects valuable property, is anywhere between 50 to 70 years old.
“When (our) projects are completed it will provide much better protection (for our residents),” said Barrett.
“It’s going to be an exciting 2020.”
Dieckow said many residents are still trying to rebuild their lives after the storm.
“It’s essential we continue to push for (FEMA funding of our projects),” he said.
Fifty-percent of the $4.3 million in mitigation funding will be spent on projects protecting shorelines, according to Dieckow.
It will cost millions of dollars to replace the bulkheads in Cove Harbor, which have been described as basically non-existent.
“Personally, I can’t see anything more important (then to fight for funding for these protections),” said Dieckow.
“As tragic as Harvey was, with these new bulkheads, etc., (we will be better protected) the next time.”
Dieckow noted the ACND will renew its efforts to work with the City of Rockport addressing issues in Little Bay, as well as other issues that might arise.
Commissioner Judy Vlasek said the importance of shoreline protection (i.e. – bulkheads) can’t be underestimated.
Commissioner Mickey Casterline said he would like to see FEMA money used to improve things, versus replacing things only to the level they where prior to the storm.
“We have a lot of FEMA funding already, and there’s more on the way,” said Dieckow.
“We will work with the county, City of Rockport, and Fulton to present a united front.”