TX - Army Corps' Proposed Dune System Is Too Weak to Work
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed solution to preventing storm surge damage is simply much too weak, a fatal flaw in the system of protection afforded by a coastal spine.
Ironically, the corps has taken the Ike Dike concept and made it so weak that it would be destroyed by an Ike-like storm and weaker hurricanes.
Despite providing 21-foot or higher protection in the Bolivar Roads gate system and Galveston seawall, the corps and Texas General Land Office, in their 2020 version of the Coastal Texas Feasibility Study, provide only a pair of 12-foot and 14-foot natural dunes for flood risk protection along the 43 miles of open coast on Bolivar Peninsula and west Galveston Island.
Even the corps story maps show the dual dunes will breach and overflow at 50- and 100-year conditions with significant flood risk and damage.
The low dune system included in the corps plan is simply a refined version of the dune proposed as an environmental restoration feature in the first iteration of the feasibility study, except that it’s now maintained for 50 years.
It’s now even more of an environmental restoration feature because it provides minimal flood risk reduction benefits; and, when the dunes are destroyed, the region is even more vulnerable for years, until funds are available for the next scheduled dune renourishment (planned every six or seven years).