School Website: https://www.palaciosisd.org/
2022-2023 field trip data: PalaciosHS2022-23.pdf
Students from Palacios High School collect data at MAT02, which is northeast of the vehicular beach access point on Matagorda Peninsula (Fig. 1). Van Vleck and Palacios High School students also collect GPS vegetation line and shoreline data at MAT03 (Fig. 1), a site adjacent to the Matagorda Bay Nature Park fishing pier and on the updrift side of the jetty at the mouth of the Colorado River.
Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston Island on September 13, 2008, as a Category 2 hurricane. Owing to the size of the storm, impacts from this hurricane were seen along the entire Texas coast, including on Matagorda Peninsula. The storm surge from Hurricane Ike caused vegetation line retreat and dune erosion at MAT02. Over the decade since Ike’s landfall, students from Palacios High School have been monitoring the recovery and growth of the dunes and the seaward movement of the vegetation line at this site (Fig. 2).
Understanding the impacts of coastal structures are critical to coastal management. After the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed a new north jetty at the mouth of the Colorado River in 2010, GPS-mapping indicated that the shoreline position at MAT03 moved 125-m seaward over a decade (Fig. 3). The combination of the new jetty impounding sand on the updrift side and decreased vehicular traffic at MAT03 has allowed for coppice dune formation to occur on the expanded backbeach area and for new vegetation to develop without being disturbed.