exception of areas adjacent to jetties, the southeastern Texas coast
is undergoing long-term shoreline retreat. This retreat has recently
received increased attention after Tropical Storms Josephine in
1996 and Frances in 1998 caused episodic erosion and the destruction
and endangerment of houses and infrastructure. More than 100 houses
along the shoreline were stranded on the public beach following
Frances. The recent storms have prompted residents and government
officials to take stopgap measures, such as geotubes, hay bales,
dune construction, and minor beach nourishment to mitigate the erosion.
Highway 87, which runs parallel to the shoreline from Port Bolivar
to Sabine Pass, is within 150 meters of the ocean on the east end
of Bolivar Peninsula. This road is the primary hurricane evacuation
route for residents on Bolivar Peninsula. Highway 87 is completely
destroyed in places between High Island and Sabine Pass, making
it impassable. In 1999, the Texas State Legislature passed the Coastal
Erosion Planning and Response Act (CEPRA), which provides $15 million
to mitigate shoreline retreat in the state. Under the CEPRA, the
Texas General Land Office is looking for information on sand resources
for beach nourishment projects along the southeast Texas coast.
Furthermore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting the
Sabine Pass to San Luis Pass, Texas, Shoreline Erosion Feasibility
In light of
the long-term and recent beach erosion problems along the southeast
Texas coast and the current interest in addressing them with beach
nourishment, there is a need to disseminate existing information
on sand resources. Making this information available is important
so that duplicate work is not conducted and decision-makers at all
levels are aware of the alternatives for mitigating beach erosion,
including knowing where beach-quality sand exists. There is also
a need for refining the extent and amount of the beach erosion since
1996 so that the most critical areas can be matched with sand resources.
This project as reported here is addressing these needs.