Study Progress

Proposed Project Features

During Hurricane Ike, the most severe flooding came from the bayside. In order to protect this area, a ring barrier is suggested. The current proposal envisions a system of flood walls, highway and railroad gates, and a 2,400-foot crossing of Offatts Bayou with surge gates for navigation and environmental flow.

Galveston Ring Barrier

The proposed ring barrier system, which has been revised since publication of the Draft Report in October 2018, would reduce coastal storm impacts to infrastructure and natural areas.  The barrier would consist of a seawall overtopping feature, flood walls, pump stations and gated structures with heights ranging from two to 14 feet above ground determined by the elevation of the existing adjacent ground. 

The seawall overtopping feature is proposed as a 3-foot-wall wall and gate system for the north sidewalk on Seawall Blvd.  This feature was revised from the design in the draft report in response to public and technical comment.

Starting on the east end of Galveston near the Ferry Landing, it would include the Harborview Drive, or “Fish Village,” neighborhood.  Moving west it consists of a flood wall through the Port proceeding west adjacent to the Strand Historical District.  It would continue west near Harborside Drive, wrap around Offatts Bayou to 103rd Street, and connect to high ground at the west end of the Seawall. To address wave overtopping of the seawall the north side of the north sidewalk will be raised approximately 3 feet with a wall and gate system. The proposed ring barrier system alignment extends around Offatts Bayou to the west end of the Seawall to reduce risk to critical infrastructure (e.g. Scholes International Airport, wastewater treatment, schools, fire stations...) and to avoid dividing and separating neighborhoods in the community as much as possible.  The seawall overtopping feature limits wave overtopping and reduces pump station sizes and interior flooding from wave over-wash.

Because Galveston Island currently operates on a gravity drainage system, the plan would add a forced drainage system consisting of approximately six new pump stations to move water off the island. The pump stations would address storm surge flooding as well as current flooding.

Beach and Dune system

On Galveston Island, the proposed ring barrier would tie into the existing seawall. The western end of the seawall will tie into a 19-mile beach and dune system that would extend west to a tie-in point at the San Luis Pass Bridge. San Luis Pass will not have a closure structure. On Bolivar Peninsula the storm surge gate will tie into a beach and dune system that will extend to McFaddin Beach.

The proposed beach and dune system along Bolivar Peninsula and the west end of Galveston Island will provide pedestrian and vehicular beach access by incorporating walk and drive over infrastructure at locations designated in each local government’s Beach Access and Dune Protection Plan. Beach access will follow the Texas Open Beaches Act and any federal access requirements.

The beach and dune system is proposed as a double dune system with a 14-foot-high dune and a 12-foot-high dune and a beach.

To address erosion and storm surge in the lower Texas coast, approximately two miles of dune and beach nourishment along South Padre Island is being proposed. The proposed nourishment would be aligned parallel to the existing beach and dune system, beginning about two miles north of the Brazos Santiago Pass North Jetty system and extending for an additional two miles north.

The current proposal includes a 12.5‑foot dune and a 100-foot-wide beach berm, with additional sand to be added every 10 years as needed.

The Texas General Land Office, as the local sponsor of the study, is interested in exploring a larger extent of beach and dune restoration along the entire South Padre Island from the Brazos Santiago Pass North Jetty system to almost 6 miles north of the jetty.

SPI Beach-and-Dune

Gate Structure

The storm surge gate configuration has been refined since publication of the draft report to reduce environmental impacts. The revised design configuration includes two smaller sector gates separated by an island in the middle, providing two-way vessel traffic between the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay. The remaining components of the gate structure include a combination of vertical lift gates and shallow section environmental gates in the shallower areas of the entrance channel. This gate design may result in  less than ten percent water flow constriction between the Gulf and the Bay.

Maintaining tidal exchange between the Gulf and the bay is a priority. The gates would be closed only for storms and maintenance. Other large surge barriers worldwide are closed an average of 1 to 3 days per year for storms and operation and maintenance activities.

Closures at the Clear Creek Channel and Dickinson Bayou are also being investigated to address wind‑driven surges in the bay. Both areas would include surge gates across the channel and associated pump stations.

Gate Structure

Ecosystem Restoration

Ecosystem restoration projects address habitat loss and degradation from coastal processes and support the coastal storm risk management components by providing a natural buffer from coastal storms. Each ecosystem restoration measure represents a combination of features and is formulated in a specific geographic location to restore diverse habitats and provide multiple lines of defense.

The following are the types of restoration were included in the nine measures:

Marsh restoration improves degraded marsh habitat or restores habitat that has become open water due to erosion, relative sea level rise and other coastal forces. Breakwaters will be placed to reduce erosion, and sediment placed behind the breakwaters increases the elevation of the land to restore or maintain fluctuating water levels as tides vary. Restoration also includes planting of native marsh vegetation to provide habitat and trap sediment, thus reducing erosion.

Beach restoration places sand dredged from offshore sources or from nearby navigation channels on degraded gulf shorelines to restore dune and beach habitat. To maintain the habitat over time sand would be replaced at regular needed.

Island restoration includes placement of sediment to increase the elevation of degraded islands. These restored islands include shoreline stabilization along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to withstand erosion and will provide bird nesting habitat. To increase the diversity of habitat and provide natural erosion control, the bay side of the island will slope to a created marsh and oyster reef.

Hydrologic restoration is the reestablishment of a connection between water bodies to maintain salinity balances that sustain habitats. The following are the nine ecosystem restoration measures outlined in The Coastal Texas Study

  • G-28: Bolivar Peninsula and West Bay Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) Shoreline and Island Protection
  • B2: Follets Island Gulf Beach and Dune Restoration B
  • -12: Bastrop Bay, Oyster Lake, West Bay, and GIWW Shoreline Protection
  • M-8: East Matagorda Bay Shoreline Protection C
  • A-5: Keller Bay Restoration
  • CA-6: Powderhorn Shoreline Protection and Wetland Restoration
  • SP-1: Redfish Bay Protection and Enhancement
  • W-3: Port Mansfield Channel, Island Rookery, and Hydrologic Restoration of the Laguna Madre System

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