Group Talks Multibillion Coastal Barrier We Hope We Don't Need (but Probably Do)

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Earlier this month the Bay Area Coastal Protection Alliance met to discuss a plan that would keep us (and our energy industry) from going underwater in the event of a catastrophic storm surge. Unfortunately, according to storm watchers, the Gulf Coast is likely to get hit by a major storm every 15 years or so.

"In 2008, Hurricane Ike caused loss of life and more than $35 billion (to date) in property and environmental damage, even without a direct hit," Vic Pierson, vice president of the alliance said in a statement. "The original forecast predicted 25-foot storm surges that could have killed hundreds, left thousands homeless and jobless and caused economic damage around $100 billion."

The group's proposal is to build a multi-billion dollar coastal barrier system, one that includes specially constructed sand dunes.

A levee system idea borrowed from the Netherlands would cover High Island to San Luis Pass. Those dunes would work with the Galveston Seawall and link with surge barriers at San Luis Pass and Bolivar Road, leading into the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay, the group says. A gate system would control water flow into the bay. In theory, you know.

So who much would this all cost? The barrier system, according to organizers would be between $5 billion and $10 billion. It would take two years to complete the project after the government kicks in about 85 percent, with the rest of us coming together for the additional 15 percent.

We'll see how that fed money pans out.

For now, we're left with this doomsday scenario, courtesy of the BACPA:

Based on a study from the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas, a direct hit from a hurricane to the Houston-Galveston region would cost $73 billion in gross state product, more than 863,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in annual state revenue. The storm could decimate the Port of Houston, which is the busiest U.S. port in terms of foreign tonnage and second busiest in overall tonnage. The storm could obliterate the nation's largest petrochemical complex, which supplies 40 percent of the America's fuel and 60 percent of its specialty military fuel.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.