From beach cleaning to coastal development, sea turtles face constant dangers on the upper Texas coast.
Beach Cleaning and Grooming. Sargassum (seaweed) is beneficial to our coastal community. It provides forage for birds and other creatures, helps to stabilize blowing sand building larger dunes and adds nutrients for the dune vegetation. Often it is removed from the beaches and placed at the toe of the dune. Our staff has worked to ensure wildlife monitors check the beach for nesting turtles and birds prior to any cleaning work and monitor the beach the entire time the crews are working.
Beach Erosion. Beach erosion is caused by the energy of the tides pulling sand away from the beach and scouring is the specific movement of sand away from the area around a hard coastal structure, like a seawall. Sand naturally moves and we encourage coastal residents to work with nature and not against it. We must embrace protecting our natural habitats that buffer communities and provide important ecosystem benefits. Regularly re-nourishing our beaches, constructing and elevating our homes and businesses to withstand the force of hurricanes, and strategies that should be employed include restricting development in at-risk coastal areas, enforcement of setbacks from shorelines and dunes, maintaining open spaces that double as flood protection and recreation areas in coastal plains, protection of wetlands and marshes, and promoting development in urban areas.
Beach Access. Texas beaches have traditionally been open for people to drive on, and vehicular traffic causes ruts and compaction of the sand. Texas law requires free access to the beaches and we work to limit the distance cars are able to drive on the beach and when possible move on-beach parking to off-beach parking locations.
Dune Restoration & Beach Nourishment. Dunes that are only slightly damaged may be repaired by planting vegetation in bare areas, giving stressed grasses a sensible amount of fertilizer, and protecting the area from trampling and traffic. Vegetation is critical to dune formation and stabilization, and without vegetation, blowing sand will migrate inland. Dunes are a critical habitat for nesting sea turtles and shore birds. Beach nourishment is needed to maintain a healthy dune system. We work to ensure only beach quality sand is placed on beaches, work is completed during off-season for nesting turtles and birds, and wildlife monitors are on site to prevent harm to wildlife from equipment.