Bureau of Economic Geology

High Island High School

School Website: http://www.highislandisd.com

2018-2020 field trip data: HighIslandData2019-20.pdf

Galleries: 2016-2017  |  2017-2018  |  2018-2019  |  2019-2020  |  2020-2021

High Island High School joined THSCMP in early 2016. Tenth grade biology students collect data from three sites on Bolivar Peninsula. Two of the monitoring sites are adjacent to Rollover Pass, BOL02 to the west and BOL03 to the east of the Pass (Fig. 1). The third site (HIB01) is seaward of High Island just past the eastern end of Highway 87 (Fig. 1).

High Island beach erosion

Figure 1. Location map of High Island High School monitoring sites.

The beach at HIB01 has seen significant changes since the profile was established in February 2016 (Fig. 2). On the first field trip, the beach had a steep forebeach, high berm, and a backbeach wide enough for vehicles to travel up and down the beach. Large pieces of pavement that are remnants of Highway 87 were at the upper reach of the swash zone. The October 2017 field trip took place about a month after Hurricane Harvey impacted the Texas Gulf coast. The beach had experienced significant erosion, pavement debris was deposited at the vegetation line, and the elevated berm and backbeach that had once allowed vehicular access was gone. The beach width had recovered by the spring field trip of 2018. Since the start of the 2018–19 academic year, HIHS students have been unable to access the site at High Island Beach because of roadway construction at the intersection of Highway 87 and Texas 124. Since that time, the shoreline and vegetation line positions have seen significant changes, due in part to the impacts of the 2020 hurricane season. The profile site datum has been lost due to erosion of the beach at High Island. Between May 2018, last time HIHS students visited the site, and May 2021 the shoreline position moved landward 25 meters (just landward of the profile datum location) and the vegetation line moved 45 meters landward (Fig. 2).

High Island besach erosion

Figure 2. Changes to High Island Beach site HIB01. A) Photography documenting the status of the shoreline and vegetation line on February 3, 2016; October 4, 2017 (post-Harvey); and May 18, 2021. Notice the pavement debris that was at the shoreline in 2016 has been deposited at the vegetation line at Harvey. GPS mapped shoreline positions (B) and vegetation line positions (C) HIB01.

HIHS students monitor sites two sites adjacent to Rollover Pass, BOL02 to the west and BOL03 to east. Rollover Pass was cut across Bolivar Peninsula in 1955 with the intention of improving water quality in Rollover Bay and Galveston East Bay. The opening of the pass caused significant erosion to the adjacent beaches and caused sand and sediment to be deposited in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). For years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were required to dredge and remove sediment from the ICW adjacent to Rollover Bay annually at significant cost. Due to the issues caused by Rollover Pass, the Texas Legislature authorized the General Land Office to close the pass. Construction began at the end of September 2019 and was ongoing at the time of High Island High School’s second field trip in January 2020. Closure construction was completed in spring 2020. High Island students collected baseline data from BOL02 (Fig. 3) and BOL03 (Fig. 4) and will be monitoring how the closure of Rollover Pass impacts these beaches in the future.

BOL 02

Figure 3. HIHS beach monitoring at BOL02 west of Rollover Pass. A) Beach profiles showing the changes in topography at the site. B) Photograph looking east along the vegetation line and low foredune present during the field trip on January 29, 2020. C) BOL02 photograph looking east along the discontinuous vegetation line on May 18, 2021.

BOL 03

Figure 4. HIHS beach monitoring at BOL03 east of Rollover Pass. A) Beach profiles showing the changes in topography at the site between April 2019 and May 2021. B) Photograph looking east along the dune crest during the field trip on January 29, 2020. C) BOL03 photograph looking east along the dune crest on May 18, 2021.


University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas

© 2021 Bureau of Economic Geology | Web Privacy Policy | Web Accessibility Policy