Page 26 - March2017

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would deny the usefulness of the wall
and its ability to protect the island and
its community, there is a trade-off. The
Seawall is a stoic and proven protector,
but it also impedes the beach’s natural
ability to replenish itself.
“Galveston is a barrier island,” Park
Board Executive Director Kelly DeShaun
explains further. “Barrier islands roll over
themselves—there is a constant migration
of sand.” Unfortunately, the Seawall
exasperates this process, and Hurricane
Ike in 2008 did not help the situation
when it wiped out a significant part of the
beach along Galveston’s coastline. Each of
these factors together render Galveston
“sand-starved,” according to DeShaun.
Hurricanes, incidentally, are a huge part
of why sand is an important asset to
the city. “It is our first line of defense,”
says Hirsch, who explains that sand
gives the storm something to “chew” on
before hitting developed land, which can
significantly reduce the amount of flood
damage. The Seawall was of course built
for this exact purpose, but the wall also
needs buffering to ensure its longevity
and integrity. “We want to protect the Seawall, too, and let the storm take something
else first.”
All of this is why Galveston’s Park Board, under the deft leadership of DeShaun, has
devised a 50-year sand management plan, the current manifestation of which is Phase
III of a 3-part project to replenish Galveston’s beaches. In spring of 2015, the Park
Board began with a half-mile stretch just west of where the Seawall ends, in front of
Dellanera RV Park. Phase II was completed in November of 2015 when fifteen blocks
of new beach were unveiled along the Seawall west of 61
st
Street, a project that was
named one of the top five beach restorations in the nation that year.
Over four miles of pipe is needed to complete Phase III
of Galveston’s beach replenishment project
Dredge with cruise ship in background
Bulldozer creating an elevated area for heavy equipment to pass over pipe
Pipe shooting fill
26 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
MARCH 2017