Most area fishermen and residents will remember that a few years ago, the mouth of the San Bernard River was almost completely sanded in. This is believed t be because the combination of closing off the original Brazos River mouth and jettying it to create the Freeport harbor and digging the outlet canal that is known as the “New” Brazos caused erosion of sand from beaches at Surfside to end up at the mouth of the San Bernard. Once the river’s outlet plugged, currents in the ICW began to show change, often “backing up” to the New Brazos outlet to the point that tugs and barges trying to get through the gates on the river often just could not make it against the current.
Efforts lead by the group, “Friends of the River San Bernard”, and aided by Congressman Ron Paul, resulted in the Corps of Engineers deciding to dredge the river open again. This was as important to barge traffic and fishermen as it was to residents along the river itself. Without a natural outlet, the river backed up and became stagnant, and marine life suffered. Opening the mouth reversed this, but everyone knew it would be but a tempory “fix”.
Now, the river is beginning to silt in again. Small boats can still traverse the mouth to the Gulf, if they are knowledgeable and careful, but probably not for much longer. The only permanent solution would probably be to dynamite the Freeport jetties and close the outlet canal to redirect flow through the natural mouth of the Brazos, but that is not going to happen. Instead, those friends of the river will have to try to rescue it again, and they will need all our help to get the job done!