State Draws New Public Beach Lines a Year After Ike

Nearly a year after Ike, the Texas General Land office has established new public beach boundaries for Galveston and Brazoria counties. Jack Williams reports.

The new lines replace the temporary ones drawn after the hurricane. They're not at least 200 feet back from what has been established as mean low tide. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says a lot of work went into the new boundaries.

"We've done a year's worth of survey, multiple successive surveys. We've done LIDAR, which is an airborne imaging effort. We've done aerial photography. We were in a hurry, but we couldn't be in a big hurry, because the longer you wait the more the beach will recover. It's not going to recover to what is was prior to Ike, but it will recover some. So if we had set a line 6 months ago, more property would have been impacted than is being impacted today."

Patterson says the line of vegetation that normally marks where the public beach begins is all but gone on the Bolivar Peninsula. He says he probably won't go after structures now on public beaches except in extreme cases.  

"If it's not a health and safety and environmental issue, septic tank lines exposed or rubble or it actually doesn't interfere with the ability to get on the beach and enjoy the beach, we are not going to litigate those. We have some other egregious examples that we will litigate, and  that's the ones that we will litigate against. "  

For more information, visit Texas Beaches-dot-org.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...