The Truth About the Barrier

The United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office are proposing a two-mile long gate system across the mouth of Galveston Bay and levees in Galveston and Port Bolivar to “keep storm surge in the Gulf.”

Turtle Island Restoration Network, as well as other environmental groups and community members, believe the project will adversely impact our coastal community and our natural resources.

Help us tell Texas leaders there are better ways to protect our community and coast.

We can do better. We can work with nature to protect our community and coast.

The purpose of the Coastal Texas Study 2020 is to aid in limiting hurricane damage and calls for coastal storm resiliency measures to include massive sea gates, 43 miles of sand dunes, and extending the height of the seawall.

After more than a decade, there are still some key unknowns with the proposed coastal barrier for the upper Texas coast including:

  • Where the material needed for construction and maintenance will come from.
  • What the environmental impacts of acquiring this material are—including the impact on fisheries with the proposed dredging of Sabine and Heald Banks.
  • The economic impact to Galveston and Bolivar from the long-term construction of this project.

The Texas coastline supports a rich and diverse ecosystem that is home to shore birds, sea turtles, marine mammals, as well as commercially important fish that move in and out of numerous bays throughout their life cycles.

There are better and more cost-effective ways to simultaneously protect wildlife, natural resources, and communities from the risks associated with sea level rise, storm surges, and hurricanes than those outlined in the plan including:

  • Regularly re-nourishing our beaches.

  • Constructing and elevating our homes and businesses to withstand the force of hurricanes.

  • Improve evacuation’s routes to keep people out of harm’s way.

Guest Column

Texans Need Ample Time to Study Coastal Barrier Plan

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We believe the coastal barrier system will damage the coast, resulting in loss of habitat for wildlife (including endangered species), a reduction in the economic value of recreation activities, and impact the values of homes on Galveston and Bolivar.

We believe the coastal barrier gates will permanently change the natural function of Galveston Bay including modifying tides, increasing salinity, and decreasing shrimp, oyster and fish stocks.

We believe the costs of this system have been grossly underestimated—both in terms of construction and ongoing maintenance—and that the long-term burden of these costs will fall on Texans in the form of increased taxes and special fees.

We strongly urge Texans to explore other options to address sea level rises, storm surges, and hurricanes through natural defenses such as the Lone Star Recreation Area, living shorelines, and levees.

Texas recreational and commercial fisheries are a billion industry on the Texas coast that is interwoven into the fabric of the culture and community. We believe the gates will affect the health of fisheries species, ultimately having devastating impacts on Galveston Bay fisheries.

“One would think that a project of this magnitude would be grounded in firm science and engineering, but that is not the case. The ecological impacts of this project are largely unknown, including impacts on tidal circulation within the entire Galveston Bay complex and impacts on fisheries caused by mining sand from offshore banks. There is also considerable uncertainty as to the source of sand that will be needed for construction and for beach nourishment necessary to maintain the barrier.”

John B. Anderson, Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography-Emeritus, Rice University

Help us tell Texas leaders there are better ways to protect our community and coast.

Submit a Public Comment

Let decision-makers know your own concerns on the project.

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Attend a Public Meeting

Attend a virtual public meeting to learn more about the project.

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Watch our Webinar

Learn more about the project concerns.

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View the Plans

View interactive maps on the project.

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Read the Factsheet

Get the facts on the proposed Upper Texas Coast Barrier.

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Read the Plans

Read the Environmental Impact Statement in its entirety.

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Join the Coastal Barrier Information Page on Facebook.

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“The Problem With Solutions”

Notes toward a history of non-solutionist design.

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Published in the Nov. 21 edition of Galveston Daily News

Supporters

Dr. John Anderson, PhD Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography-Emeritus

Dr. Azure Bevington, PhD Coastal Ecologist

Dr. David Burkett, PhD Geologist

Winnie Burkett, Coastal Conservationist

Dr. H.C. Clark, PhD Geophysicist

Robert Lynch

Lalise & Greg Mason, Scenic Galveston

Greg Whittaker, Coastal Citizen