Page 25 - March2017

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MARCH 2017 |
By Kimber Fountain
It has been romanticized in advertisements for
tropical getaways that evoke feelings of “the sand
between your toes.” It has been philosophized
by the ancient gurus who tell tales of oysters that can turn a grain of
sand into a pearl.
Sometimes, it is taken for granted—Galveston has beaches and
beaches have sand, end of story. Other times, it is even seen as
a nuisance with its supernatural ability to stick to anything and
everything. But it is this exact fluidity, sand’s ability to morph
and move, which makes sustaining its presence such a necessary
endeavor here on Galveston Island.
“Sand is a resource,” say Rhonda Gregg Hirsch, “People think the
beach is always here and sand is automatically part of that, but sand
is a diminishing and super-valuable resource.”
Sand has become such a commodity due to human’s interference
with the environment, but not necessarily in a negative way. Hirsch,
who is a member of the Atkins Engineering Firm and serves locally
on the Beach Maintenance Action Committee, explains that beaches
are built by way of silt deposits from rivers.
“We build levees and damns and modify our channels and rivers,
which is very important for our economy,” she says, “But in doing
so we cut out the usual sand flows that nourish our beaches.” In
Galveston’s case, the Seawall also plays a factor. Although no one
Island Beaches
Galveston’s Shoreline
Gets a Four-Mile Facelift
Closeup of pipe on East Beach with
dredge in background
Pipe will eventually stretch four miles along the
beach from 10th Street to 61st Street
Crossovers have been
created to allow easy
access over pipes