News: USACE Galveston District partners to support GLO’s TxSed Geodatabase Project
Story by Sandra Arnold
GALVESTON, Texas – The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District staff partnered with the Texas General Land Office and scientists at Texas research universities to populate a centralized repository of information along the Texas coast called the Texas Coastal Sediment Geodatabase.
In 2009, the GLO obtained a federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant for a project entitled Sediment Resources Investigations Along the Texas Coast to begin development of TxSed. Since then, the GLO has led the efforts against coastal erosion along the Texas coast, partnering with the USACE Galveston District, federal, state and local resources and other coastal stakeholders to fight erosion where it makes economic sense to do so.
Dr. Michael Sterling, chief of Water Management and Infrastructure Safety at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division and former chief of USACE Galveston District's Hydrology and Hydraulics Section, understands the need for a centralized database and worked with the GLO to provide vital geotechnical cores and grab samples of sediments during routine navigational channel dredging for coastal construction projects that can be used to assist in identifying compatible sediment resources for proposed beach nourishment, habitat restoration projects or aid in the permitting/regulatory processes for such projects.
“The Corps collects sediment data to help us in our understanding of how the sediment transports along the coast, what types of sediment are available and potentially how our projects could interact or change the transport of sediment along the coast,” said Sterling. “It’s important to have a benchmark or baseline of that sediment transport information to help us understand the environment better.”
According to the GLO, Texas has some of the highest coastal erosion rates in the country with 64 percent of the Texas coast eroding at an average rate of about 6 feet per year with some locations losing more than 30 feet per year. As a whole, the Texas coast is eroding at an average rate of 2.3 feet per year.
“When the Texas coast erodes, property values decrease, homes are lost, tourism suffers and local economies feel the impact,” said Deputy Commissioner of Coastal Resources Helen Young, GLO. “Additionally, without healthy beaches, dunes and wetlands to protect the coast, the impact of major storms like Hurricane Ike is far more severe.”
Once completed, the database will contain all of the available sediment data ever taken off the Texas coast into one database to help build a complete map of the Texas coast and allow coastal planners to work smarter in protecting and rebuilding the Texas coast with less public money.
Learn more about what is being done to decode the Texas coast http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1_88ydOGkU&feature=youtu.be, visit the geodatabase at http://www.glo.texas.gov/GLO/agency-administration/gis/. For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.