One of the narrowest spots on the island is where the seawall ends at Dellanera Park. The park board is working on some short-term and long-term solutions for shoring up this area and keeping it intact during periods of high tides and coastal flooding.
According to the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, this narrow area of the island erodes at a rate of five to 10 feet every year. Until a long-term solution is reached, and because the area is such an important evacuation route for west end residents, the park board plans to continue periodic beach replenishment along this part of the coast. Early next year, the park board and the Texas General Land Office will embark on a $600,000 replenishment project that will place sand along 2,300 feet of the sand dune line west of the seawall.
Funding for the project comes from the city of Galveston’s Industrial Development Corp. The replenishment project will serve its purpose and help protect coastal property, but park board officials know that a long-term solution is needed. To achieve that end, the park board and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are researching concepts to develop a physical, underwater structure that would help slow erosion in the area. Examples of options include multi-purpose reefs and submerged breakwaters that act as physical barriers against waves and coastal surges.
Park board Director of Operations Reuben Trevino said plans for these long-term solutions are in the early stages and that officials are considering many options. Once a design is chosen, Trevino said he expects planning, engineering and permitting for such a project to take several years. As a note, you may recall that the beach area near Dellanera was the site of a beach expansion project completed in spring 2015. Truckloads of sand were deposited there and a wider beach extended about a half mile west of the end of the seawall. This project came with good timing, as the new beach was able to protect public and private property in the area when Tropical Storm Bill made landfall three months later. This vulnerable area did experience significant sand loss and demonstrates why continual beach replenishment on the island is needed.
Park board meetings are open to the public and the public may address the board of trustees during the meetings. Park board meetings are typically held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at 601 Tremont St. If you are interested in seeing a park board issue discussed in this column, or if you have any questions, please send them my way. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.