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Tidehaven Middle School

Tidehaven Middle School students collect data at MAT03 (Fig. 1). Tidehaven's fall and spring field trips are scheduled to coincide with the Beach Clean-Up at Matagorda Bay Nature Park

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Figure 1. Location map of Tidehaven Middle School monitoring site MAT03.


Matagorda area students collect beach measurements at Matagorda Bay Nature Park. The park has several special circumstances that make this monitoring especially informative and important. Monitoring sites have been established on the up-drift side of the jetty at the mouth of the Colorado River. Impacts of coastal structures (jetties) are critical to coastal management. During the 2009–2010 academic year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began constructing a new north jetty at the mouth of the Colorado River. The sites compare a beach/dune system where vehicular traffic on the beach will be strictly prohibited (MAT03) with an adjacent area where vehicular traffic will continue to be permitted (MAT01 and MAT02). Impacts of vehicles on Texas' beaches are not well documented. Vehicular traffic was permitted on the pedestrian beach at the Nature Park until 2007. MAT01 is adjacent to an active washover channel that will open due to storm surge associated with tropical storms and hurricanes. Hurricane Ike in 2008 briefly opened the channel and caused dune erosion at this site. GPS-mapped shorelines from September 2006 and September 2012 show a 70-m seaward movement of shoreline position at MAT03 immediately north of the new jetty (Fig. 2). Student data at MAT03 will be used to continue monitoring the effects of the jetty on east Matagorda Peninsula.

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Figure 2. Shoreline position change at Matagorda Peninsula.

BEG Texas Coastal Management Program NOAA Near Surface Observatory at BEG