New Plan Aims To Protect Texas Gulf Coast

The plan identifies 177 projects that would bolster natural protections along the coast.

By Travis BubenikMarch 24, 2017 9:46 am|

From Houston Public Media

Texas has a new plan for protecting the coast, one that lays out a variety of ways to slow coastal erosion and protect lives and money in the process.

The Texas General Land Office says 65% of the state’s shoreline is eroding at an average rate of about six feet per year, and even faster in some areas. That leaves people, ports and refineries increasingly vulnerable to storms.

The Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan looks at 177 environmental restoration projects that could help fix the problem.

Roger Quiroga with the Port of Galveston is one of the plan’s advisory committee members.

“The main thrust I think in the long run is going to be how do we protect the coastline from these hurricanes, especially the ones that might affect the upper Texas coast,” he says. “Galveston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, you know, heavy industry.”

The projects are split up into higher and lower priorities, but they’re all meant to be short-term solutions to bolster the coast’s natural storm protections while the state works with the federal government on broader solutions like the “Ike Dike.”

The General Land Office says the plan doesn’t directly address climate change, though it does take into account the effects of that change, such as rising sea levels and how that can lead to land and habitat loss along the coast. The office plans to ask state lawmakers for $30 million from the BP Oil Spill settlement money to get some of these projects started.