The follow is a first-hand report given to Judge Mills on March 11, 2015 by John D. Blaha the Assistant Director for CCA-Texas.
I took a trip out to Cedar Bayou yesterday to check things out and spent a good bit of time just walking along the Bayou and Vinson Slough. Overall in my opinion, Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough are in better shape than they were the last time I was out there. I feel like the tides are pretty close to the same levels as well. There was good flow in both the Bayou and Vinson Slough. The following are additional observations I want to report:
- The point in the Bayou from where it necks down (area where excavation began through solid dunes) to Vinson Slough seems to be stable in depth since the original silting closer to Vinson Slough. I feel this has been stable for some time.
- The Bayou has obviously moved way south as per Aaron’s last report. (Aaron G. Horine, P.E. is the senior engineer at Coast & Harbor Engineering, which performed the feasibility studies and engineering work on the project.) On this trip, I could see bank “cutting” on the large spit at the mouth on the Matagorda Island side. As if the Bayou was taking some of the spit back out.
- Where the main channel (the deep section) necks down and hits the surf is probably 60 to 80 feet wide maybe a little more. I walked the edge and it would immediately go to stomach to chest deep and the current was ripping, so I did not attempt to walk across. There was very significant flow. I tried crossing at several spots and it would be stomach to chest deep back up towards the mouth of Vinson. I never did walk all the way across, but friends with me did just to the surf side of the mouth of Vinson and it was roughly chest deep.
- Vinson has considerable amounts of sand as we have seen, but I felt it was in better shape than last time I was at the site. There are two primary narrow guts from Cedar into Vinson ranging in depth from knee to waist deep yesterday. Water was flowing across more, ranging from ankle to calf deep. There was a considerable amount of outgoing current in the main gut, and I walked it all the way until it emptied into the wide part of Vinson headed to the back lakes. Again, I witnessed lots of flow and I feel it is in better shape than last time I was out.
- Even though lower tides had reduced channel widths of both Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough over the winter, flows remained strong and wind generated from cold fronts helped maintain flushing out to the gulf. We are anticipating the typical higher spring tides will increase the differential water elevation between the gulf and Mesquite Bay which will also increase flow potential through Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough.
- If we get some good spring rains, that flow potential and flushing will also see an increase as Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough are part of a system that sees a portion of the drainage from the San Antonio, Guadalupe, and Aransas Rivers.
Even as I go out to the Bayou on the very low tides, I still see water in the back lakes that I honestly don’t remember seeing in years past on these types of tides. Bottom line, I feel like it is doing its job and it is changing all the time. I was good with what I saw, and I really feel we will see the benefits this spring.
Photos by Lisa Laskowski
ARANSAS COUNTY JUDGE, C.H. “BURT” MILLS