While my personal goals for 2018 include improved time management, some here at the park board are more interested in sand management. To that end, the park board and its partners are making long-term plans to keep Galveston’s beaches wide and healthy for years to come.

One of the potential solutions for erosion occurring on the west end of the seawall is making use of bed load technology innovations. The park board is working with the Army Corps of Engineers and consultants from Streamside, an engineering firm based in Ohio, to develop a way to collect sand, transport it, and place it at regular intervals over time.

The process involves placing a device in the water that traps sand as it moves with the currents. Once the device reaches a certain threshold, the sand is transported via pipes in the water and placed on the shore.

“The engineers at Streamside have successfully used this type of technology in rivers,” said Reuben Trevino, park board director of operations. “This past summer we worked together to test the existing equipment and collect data that will be used to develop a prototype that will meet Galveston’s needs.”

Trevino said this technology could be in place as early as 2020.

Using this new technology for the most erosion-prone beaches is one solution for beach nourishment. Another tried and true solution is pumping sand from the ship channel and placing it on the beaches using what’s called a hopper dredge. The creation of Babe’s Beach is a great example of this process. And, since the USACE dredges the ship channel every two years or so, the park board can get the sand that would otherwise be dumped at sea, at a deeply discounted rate.

Plans to replenish Babe’s Beach are in the works and expected to be carried out in 2019 using state and local grant funding.

As stewards of the coastal environment, the park board is working hard to keep beaches healthy for visitors and residents alike. But the park board also strives to be good stewards of the funds it uses to pay for these projects.

When considering the costs, park board staff diligently researches various funding sources at federal, state and local levels. Many times, the local investments are leveraged exponentially. In fact, last year, the park board leveraged local dollars $14 to $1 for the beach nourishment project along the east end of the seawall.

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 mbassett@galvestonparkboard.org.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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