Multiphase marsh restoration at Galveston Island State Park, Texas

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Christian LaPann-Johannessen , Nicole A. Davis , Daniel J. Heilman

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Galveston Bay is the largest major estuary along the Texas Gulf Coast and plays a key role in commercial fisheries in the United States. However, over 35,000 acres of emergent wetlands and 1,800 acres of seagrasses have been lost from Galveston Bay since the 1950s. Since 1999, HDR Engineering has been working in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas General Land Office, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore and protect critical estuarine habitats within Galveston Island State Park that would be lost from subsidence, shoreline erosion, and/or sea level rise. Through advanced engineering, environmental permitting, and adaptive management strategies, more than 90 acres of marsh complex has been created within Carancahua Cove and over 5,400 linear feet of rock breakwater has been constructed in Carancahua Cove during the most recent restoration phase in 2017. A total of 700 acres of critical habitat for fishes, colonial waterbirds, shorebirds, and wading birds have been restored through multiple phases of the project including design, permitting, vegetation planting, and yearly monitoring, with additional restoration and protection to be constructed. Yearly monitoring has been conducted to assess the performance of the restoration efforts based on criteria including marsh grass coverage, shoreline change rate, and breakwater condition. Three years of performance monitoring have been completed and indicate the success of the recent phase and provide valuable insight on implementation of habitat restoration and protection in Galveston Bay.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program