The Army Corps of Engineers and Texas General Land Office on Feb. 8 announced the public comment period on the Coastal Texas Study has closed. All comments will undergo review and be considered for the draft proposal, according to a press release.
Both entities are working on a $23 billion-$32 billion plan to address coastal flooding and storm surges. The plan’s biggest component is a coastal barrier of floodwalls that would stretch 76 miles across Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula and include the biggest navigable storm surge barrier gate in the world between both islands. The plan also includes ecosystem restoration measures, such as beach restoration and shoreline protection, along the entire Texas coast.
“I would like to personally thank all of the citizens that have offered their comments on this critical study of National significance,” Col. Lars Zetterstrom said in the release. “More than 1,200 citizens attended the seven public meetings we held in November and December of 2018, and we have received thousands of comments on the plan to date. We want to stress that all of these comments will be evaluated equally. The input thus far has been invaluable, and going forward, the responses will ensure that our decisions will be based on the best available information.”
Both the Corps and GLO have met with several other groups, including the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center; Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District; and Texas A&M University at Galveston to evaluate other gulf coast studies. The Corps and GLO are coordinating with experts from around the world on ways to optimize and reduce the negative effects of the proposed gate system, according to the release.
“As we move forward with the coastal Texas proposal, it is important for us to remember the study remains in the draft stage,” Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said in the release. “We have overwhelmingly heard from the community regarding their concerns and comments on this project. It is our goal to take the community’s thoughts into account and build a consensus on a plan to protect the coast. The Texas General Land Office remains committed to working with the [the Army Corps of Engineers]to ensure the voices of the people of Texas are heard and improvements are made based on the input that we have received.”
The comment period was originally scheduled to end Jan. 9 but was extended a month after residents, politicians and others called for extending it.
For more information, visit www.coastalstudy.texas.gov.