DICKINSON, Texas — A $1.3 million project to unclog Dickinson bayous and gullies should help storm water drain faster and perhaps protect against floods, according to City Administrator Chris Heard. He has skeptics, though.

A crew of contractors used boats, rope, a backhoe and chainsaws to clean the four tributaries to Gum Bayou in Dickinson.

“It’s just full of trees,” said Clayton Young of CrowderGulf, the contractor hired for the job.

On Monday, Young’s crew pulled a decade-old 35-foot shrimp boat from the bottom of Benson Bayou near Deats Road. In previous days, the group recovered odd debris that included two dumpsters and a series of shopping carts still attached.

City staff hoped removing such items helps storm water flow better. However, homeowners like Juanita and Herby Etie fear drainage channels that have been overgrown for years will never be cleaned.

“I don’t think it’s happening (any)time soon because (the city has) bigger and better things planned,” Herby Etie said.

“They’re trying to push us out,” Juanita Etie said.

Heard insisted the plan is to bring relief to every part of the city.

Young’s crew has a $1.3 million contract to completely unclog three bayous within city limits. They are supposed to come close on a fourth.

Previously, workers cleared parts of Gum Bayou. Most of the money for the current job came from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Galveston County and League City also chipped in because drainage issues in Dickinson affect them too.

“Where it backs up is into people’s backyards,” Heard said. “So if we don’t get water flowing through here then (during) any small little rain event, it’s going to start damming up. It’s why these (homes) flooded to some of the level they flooded to.”

It is just a start, Heard added. The Eties will remain skeptical until the project ends.