(Note: This guest column was written by Aransas County Navigation District Commissioner Tommy Moore in response to Jerry Brundrett’s “Who done it? We all had a part in it” guest column that was published in the Nov. 24, 2021 edition of The Rockport Pilot.)
First, since I was elected Aransas County Navigation District (ACND) commissioner in 2008, the ACND has asked the City of Rockport and Aransas County to be involved from the beginning on any projects that affect ACND property. Any landowner would expect that courtesy. They withhold design information and then show up with a bad design and heavy equipment. The City and County have done this on every project that affects ACND property. They also never implement modern best practices that remove sediment and trash in their designs, ever.
Brundrett’s position is “we the people screwed up Little Bay” and the ACND should not blame the City and County, and expect those entities to fix it. He also claims that the problem in Little Bay is “sea water” no longer comes through to dilute the runoff as it used to because of Beach and Key Allegro development.
I totally agree that “we the people” have caused the problem and I assure you based on the City and County’s continual looking the other way and refusing to acknowledge that it is imperative that we take environmental concerns into account, I absolutely do not expect them to solve the problem.
Also, in the County’s recent $1.6 million study of Little Bay circulation, they found there is only 1% less flow in and out of Little Bay due to the Beach and Key Allegro. I was personally very surprised by this statistic.
Mr. Brundrett states: “The City of Rockport and Aransas County are saying that water runs downhill and will get to the bays and harbors despite our best efforts. We have treated the water and directed its flow downhill to minimize damage to people and property. So, who’s to blame?”
As I point out above, none of the current drainage systems “treat” the runoff and have had catastrophic impacts on marine habitat and water quality.
He also states: “So, what is the answer? The first answer is to stop the pointing and start the embracing. We all need to start working together to solve the problem we all helped to create. There is a saying that ‘If we always do what we always have done, we will always get what we always have got.’ I am one that is tired of getting what we always have got. We are a community that is ‘smarter than the average bear’ and we can do better.”
Funny, our entire point is the City and County continue to do what they always have done, and we always get what we always have gotten. And they are insisting on continuing to do what they have always done! I believe this concept has been considered “insanity”.
He also states: “Second, we can figure how to bring fresh bay water into Little Bay to dilute the bad water that will always run downhill. We also need to figure out how to better limit the bad water flow and to detain as much as possible upland to recharge our groundwater aquifer and benefit our trees and wildlife. Unless we want to drink saltwater, we need to figure out how to capture and detain the freshwater God provides for us.”
Again, why wasn’t that done in the Concho Street Project?
Also stated: “Third, we all work together to bare the cost of the cleanup. The County, City and Navigation District all have smart technical people working for them and those groups need to combine their efforts to solve the problem. We need to keep the politicians out of that process until we need to figure out how to pay the bill. There is not room for egos when we are problem solving, and in the words of Dr. Edward Deming, ‘In God We Trust, all others must bring data.’”
The ACND has been asking for exactly this as long as I have been a commissioner. The politicians are the only ones demanding better design from the bureaucrats and engineers whose egos drive them to ignore the ACND and provide sub-standard solutions.
The sad thing is how much the City has had to pay in penalties to contractor, over $149,000, simply because these bureaucrats and engineers did not do their homework. It has been documented that when they were reminded, they refused to do that homework.
Mr. Brundrett, why are you and your Aransas Community Values Fund friends working so hard to discredit the ACND to support an unacceptably designed project? Not even the most basic sediment catchment or trash catchments were implemented in the Concho Street design.
Why would a lead engineer with 175-plus-year-old roots right here in Aransas County just like you not use modern sustainable design techniques on this project to protect our fragile and valuable environment?
As you can see there is a lot of double talk, projection of fault, and ridiculous arguments. Before you believe everything they’re saying, get the other side of the story. I am available and will continue to shed light on this campaign to discredit the ACND and cover up poor decisions that affect our County.