Work on the Green Lake Dam is moving forward after San Patricio County Pct. 2 Commissioner Gary Moore called a meeting of the minds to get more information about the project timeline.

The dam failed on May 19, after a massive amount of rainfall filled Green Lake at the Northshore Country Club and completely washed away the structure.

“One of the main goals of this project is that we want to make sure that the golf course does have the same amount of water that they originally had, but we also need to make sure that the drainage works properly for Portland and Gregory,” Nueces River Authority Planner Travis Pruski said. “So one of the key parts is the original dam was 20 1/2 feet high and now it’s going to be dropped to 15 1/2, because that’s the level of Highway 181.”

Gregory has flooded for decades because of the dam being higher in elevation than the town so after large amounts of rainfall, the water floods out residents. There is also overpass construction ongoing in Gregory on U.S. Highway 181 that is higher than the old dam’s elevation, so now with the damn lowered, the flooding should stop in Gregory and not be an issue for the overpass project.

“Another benefit there is Gregory is no longer in the floodplain,” Nueces River Authority Executive Director John Byrum II said. “They are completely out of floodplain, so everybody gets a break from that.”

But does that mean less water for Northshore Country Club?  

“In order to make up some of the footage of water imprint that we have, we’re going to have to make the lake a little bit wider to collect the same amount of water,” Pruski said.

“Currently we’re getting 42 million gallons of storage space in the lake and with this you’re going to get about 48 million gallons.

“So even lowering the dam is not going to affect the water storage, which is I know that’s important for the golf course, but it’s also just important for everybody in the community.”

Byrum II added that the San Patricio County Drainage District will take out a 0% interest loan from the Texas Water Development Board to cover the $13.5 million cost of rebuilding the dam. The district has also received a grant that will cover 17% of that. It is  also in the process of applying to have the money it has already spent to clean up the debris left behind once the dam failed refunded.

Byrum II reiterated that no tax or county money is being used for the dam project.

So what’s the next step?

Pruski said that the SPCD has the plans for the new dam and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is reviewing them and the water district is going over plans for a pipeline that will run through the area.

He said the goal is to go out for bids on the project in January, have it contracted by the end of February and start shortly after.

“Thank you all for what you’re doing to help the county,” San Patricio County Judge David Krebs said. “We didn’t know how we were going to tackle this until we brought you all onboard and you have pushed this through for us and we so we thank you and look forward it being completed.”

Pruski replied, “Hopefully in January we can say ‘we got it now’ and I can cut a ribbon for us.”

•pgonzales@mysoutex.com•

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