For the residents of the remote Crystal Beach community, Azure Bevington is a household name. She’s helping to answer their questions about coastal levees and dikes.
Early on, the proposed plans for a coastal spine along Galveston Bay and the Bolivar Peninsula interested Bevington, a coastal ecologist with a 20-year career in marine science and a doctorate degree in oceanography from Louisiana State University.
Also a resident of High Island, Bevington was concerned that residents seemed to know so little about the plan to build a levee system down the north side of state Highway 87, a project that would have enormous effect on their lives and homes.
“I read and analyzed the 2,000-page report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and while some parts of the plan appear beneficial, some seem catastrophic for the bay’s ecosystem,” she said.
“The gate system proposed between Bolivar and Galveston is modeled after a system in The Netherlands, which is smaller and 3 miles inland. Having that in the Gulf of Mexico seems ludicrous to me.”
Bevington attended a Galveston information session to ask specific questions and then requested that representatives of the corps hold a meeting on Bolivar Peninsula, which they had not planned to do, she said.
Claudia Perkins, of Keep Bolivar Beautiful, is one of the grateful residents and nominated Bevington to be a Daily News Everyday Hero.
“Azure sprang into action on behalf of Bolivar,” Perkins said.
“She read that giant report and she asked experts at the Galveston Bay Foundation, the Audubon Society, even the General Land Office to help educate our residents and property owners about what this project would actually mean to us.”
Residents responded by packing every information session.
To reach a larger audience, Bevington worked with a citizen group to launch a social media page with information about the project.
“I think we owe it to our communities to help them be informed,” Bevington said.” We need to be able to say: Does this make sense to us?”