4

Should The Feds Help Save Galveston's Beaches?

^
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.

Maintaining Texas beaches is a costly proposition. We're not talking about litter; we mean erosion.

But a new study by the director of research and development for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says we better get on the job.

Writing for the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association, which is more scientifically oriented than its lobbying-type name might suggest, James Houston says America is killing its tourism trade by ignoring its beaches. And foreign countries are kicking our ass.

Travel and tourism is a gigantic cog in the U.S. economic engine, Houston writes. But, he adds, "perhaps Americans do not appreciate the importance of tourism to the national economy because 98 percent of the 1.4 million tourism-related businesses in the U.S. are classified as small business, and this makes the industry extremely fragmented."

Some facts from the new report:

Coastal states like Texas receive 85 percent of all tourist-related revenues in the U.S.

U.S. beaches contribute $320 billion annually to the economy, 25 times that of national parks; the federal contribution to maintaining beaches is 4 percent of the annual budget for national parks.

"Germany has spent almost five times what the U.S. did to protect its coasts over the past 40 years -- for a shoreline that's less than five percent the length of the U.S. coast. Japan s budget for shore protection in a single year topped what the U.S. spent in the past 40 years -- and Spain, a major competitor for beach tourism, has spent more than that in a five-year plan to restore and renew its coastline."

So maybe we shouldn't be depending on the ever-stingy Legislature in Austin to help protect Galveston and South Padre. Get the feds to start ponying up, and make those suckers in Nebraska and Montana pay their fair share.

-- Richard Connelly

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.