(Sound of beach waves)
The waves crash against the rocks and sand on this section of Galveston coastline just between some private homes and a new condominium complex. But every time the waves recede, they take a little bit of sand with them. Over the years that small amount has added up to large chunks of beach and coastline gone…swallowed up by the Gulf of Mexico.
Now, the state of Texas will spend millions of dollars to give the coast a major face-lift. This is state representative Larry Taylor:
“You know, I grew up here in this area and where we’re standing today. You used to drive off here onto the beach and if you’ll look down here, the beach is way over here and the beach used to go out beyond the seawall this way. This is a very valuable asset we need to be protecting and maintaining, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says the state is putting in 25 million for the projects. Another 110 million will come from Federal and city funds. Patterson says it took a bipartisan effort to make the deal happen.
“Some of us are Democrats, some of us are Republicans, but it really doesn’t make a difference. We’re all Galvestonians. We’re all coastal Texans.”
Patterson says some of the coastal restoration projects have already begun. The biggest and most expensive will involve trucking in large amounts of sand to add more beach area to a six mile stretch of coastline. State Representative Craig Eiland is impressed with the way state and local leaders fought for the funding.
“In the past, we wouldn’t spend 135-thousand dollars on the Texas coast, much less 135-million.”
Geologists say the Texas coastline loses between five and ten feet of beach a year…throw a hurricane in there and you’ve really got problems. State Senator Joan Huffman believes the South East Texas coastline could really use the touch up.
“We all know how hard everyone has worked to try and rebuild and revitalize these communities along the coast. A lot of people have suffered and it’s really great to see the progress that has been made in just one short year. It’s hard to believe what this place looked like a year ago and what we’re looking at today.”
Most people are aware of the damage caused by Hurricane Ike, but the problems along the coastline began long before the storm. And while it may have taken decades to erode the beach, engineers believe it can be restored in a matter of months.
Bill Stamps. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.