(14) comments Back to story

Carol Hollaway

The Corps is required to demonstrate a benefit-to-cost ratio greater than 1.0 to Congress before a project will be authorized as eligible for Federal cost-share. What the Corps is saying is that, without a ring levee component to the plan, they cannot generate enough benefits to justify the surge protection project overall. The Corps should show how each project component performs economically with benefits and costs of each component separately. The ring levee is the only component that can be justified; all other components cannot be justified on the damages they prevent incrementally. So, in effect, dropping the ring levee out of the bigger project makes the whole project uneconomical and nonjustifiable.

Jeff Patterson

Not sure on what basis....other than emotion?....the Chamber opposes the ring barrier, but it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of how to protect Galveston from bay side storm surge flooding. Even with gates at Bolivar Roads, every study that has been done shows that Galveston is still very vulnerable to storm surge from the Bay due to the massive amount of water it contains. A ring barrier is a fundamental and integral part of the solution here, and actually could, and, should be built first. And not sure the basis for the opposition to pumping; Galveston’s current gravity storm drainage system will become less and less efficient as tides continue to rise and rainfall amounts continue to increase. Galveston will need to transition to a pumping system for the future, and the three pumping stations proposed as part of the coastal barrier will become key parts of that system. The Chamber does not speak for Galveston, and let’s not let emotion drive this critical decision for our future. Just the facts ma’am!

Randy Chapman

This is not all about Galveston. All the squalling coming from Galveston is getting old. The Corps will do what is required to protect the bay area.

Don Schlessinger


Steve Fouga

To me, it borders on hilarious that the Chamber opposes the one element of the project which, had it existed in 2008, would have prevented Hurricane Ike's flooding of the Island! It's the one piece of the whole shebang that definitively protects Island businesses, educational institutions, medical facilities, and residences.

The rest is designed to protect upstream interests: refineries, Bay Area communities and businesses, and the city of Houston.

Why in the world would the Chamber choose to protect Houston at the expense of Galveston? Makes no sense.

Curtiss Brown

Thank goodness for the Chamber! I feel my membership has paid off. It became obvious early on when four COE plans were presented and each had the ring levee in them that the COE needed the cost/benefit ration of the ring levee to make any of the plans work. But, we don't see the numbers. A good point was made, a gate at the ship channel would effectively do the same thing as ring levee. Shouldn't the same benefits apply? A city wall is a limitation if only a psychological one. A gate at the Bolivar Roads and at the San Luis Pass would eliminate bay sourced flooding and not require the disruption on the Island or the use of pumps to pump out the rain. We just went through a downtown flood the result would have been the same under all plans.

Steve Fouga

Curtiss, one of the two of us doesn't understand how the gates and ring levee work. Maybe it's me who doesn't understand, but here's what I think: Gates at Bolivar Roads and SLP would do nothing to prevent flooding from wind-driven water already in the Bay complex. Plus, closure of the gates would need to be timed to prevent surge-driven water from entering the Bay at least hours, possibly days in advance. If hours, fine. If days, I'm not sure the refineries and Port of Houston could stand the disruption. Maybe someone more knowledgeable will comment. As for the recent downtown flood, wouldn't the water have simply been pumped out, and into the Bay?

"A city wall is a limitation if only a psychological one." And a 75-mile-long levee is NOT? I live in Galveston, and I wouldn't consider a wall protecting my property and increasing its value to be a limitation; I'd consider it a godsend.

Brian Tamney

seems to me mother nature has voted 2 to 1 against the whole ike dike idea. might have helped in Ike but woukld of made Harvey And Imelda worse.

Jeff Patterson

So to try to address some misconceptions here, EVERY study, and there have been multiple ones by different entities, show that the gates at Bolivar Roads are not fully sufficient to protect Galveston from Bay side surge flooding. And putting Gates at San Luis Pass has negligible impact by the way. The Gates at Bolivar Roads do help reduce the amount of Bay side surge flooding as they will limit the amount of water in the bay, which reduces the needed height of the ring barrier, but they DO NOT eliminate Bay side surge flooding from a major hurricane event. Just take a look at a map of Galveston Bay to get a visual of the amount of water north of us that would be pushed towards Galveston by a hurricane. I would really like to understand the technical basis behind the Chamber’s very vocal and visible opposition to the ring barrier..... the fact that someone doesn’t “like it” is not a sufficient reason. And there seems to be a concern about pumps.... like it or not, pumps will become a key part of Galveston’s future protection against even normal rainfall events. As sea levels continue to rise, and rainfalls become more intense, Galveston‘s current gravity drainage system will become less and less effective, and we will need to move to a system of pumps to remove even normal rainfall, much less that from events like Harvey and Imelda. And one final comment, for those that are concerned about proven technology like pumps and barriers, I would ask you what is your basis for your seemingly extreme confidence in the “Serial #1” navigation gates that will be placed across Bolivar Roads? My understanding is that even the Dutch, who have extensive experience with gates like this, have never used them in this kind of an open and exposed channel application, particularly with the high levels of sediments that exist in Bolivar Roads. At least to this observer, It would appear that the Chamber is allowing personal biases to get in the way of the real data based discussions that Galveston needs to be having about the Coastal barrier. My understanding is that Galveston missed an opportunity after Hurricane Carla in 1961 due to similar non-factual and emotional biases to build legitimate bay side surge protection, and frankly it would be a real disservice to the community, and to the future residents of Galveston, if we allow that to happen again.

Bill Broussard

Jeff. I have always thought that as the duke became “real” one group of supporters or another would sink the whole thing. For sometime my money was on the west end beachfront owners but they cried and got there way. Now it’s the irony of the chamber.

I wonder: Shrub said we have to maintain the north levee. I would think that cost is small compared to the the south side and gates. Would the city have to be responsible for the north and not the south or the gates? Honestly this is the first time I’ve ever heard maintenance costs even mentioned

Jeff Patterson

It seems to be the approach of let’s throw a whole bunch of stuff against the wall and see what sticks. I would think the cost of maintaining the wall would be fairly small, the cost of maintaining the pumps would be larger, but all of that would pale in comparison to the cost of maintaining the navigation gates and other barriers across Bolivar Roads. And from what I understand, the cost to maintain the proposed engineered dunes on the eest end of Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula would be very high as well as the sand is not readily available

Randy Chapman

I love it! Most of the people against the Ike Dike, in whatever incarnation it may take, will be long gone and dead before they pay a dime in taxes to build the dike. They just know that they don't want it. They'll never see it..because they'll be dead. At some point, something has to be done or Galveston will simply wash away. There may be a nice monument in the form of a 17-foot concrete monolith out in the Gulf to remember Galveston by, but not much more than that. This is for the future folks, not for the current generation.

Theresa Elliott

It is sad that the newspaper chose to set the tone of this meeting so negatively. The Chamber did not "Clash" with the Corps at this presentation, but the attendees did ask many questions, The ACOE and GLO representatives provided a detailed presentation of what the Ring Levy would look like and that presentation begged many questions and there were many suggestions for alternative approaches. There was no "clash" but rather a thoughtful discussion that revealed there are many unanswered challenges about how a ring levy would effect Galveston businesses and residents. At the end of the meeting, it was evident that there is much work to be done to come up with the best solution and the ACOE and GLO seemed to listen and they are planning to hold more meetings to open further discussion. The Chamber simply facilitated a meeting to inform it's Pelican Island and Harborside area members.

Jeff Patterson

Thanks Theresa, that is good to hear. We are way too early in this process to be eliminating elements of the Corps’ current proposal, particularly one as key to Galveston as the ring barrier.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for Reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.