Rice University’s Shell Center for Sustainability has published a 198-page "Atlas of Sustainable Strategies for Galveston Island" that provides a bleak outlook for the western end of Galveston Island. Report News Release
The report suggests that the West End should be abandoned for development and concludes that Galveston's economic future lies with tourism, and with a port expanded to service the new generation of larger cargo ships that will call when the Panama Canal project is completed.
“The data from Galveston Island show high rates of shoreline retreat on both the Gulf side and West Bay side of the island,” the study reports. “Hence, Galveston Island is eroding, meaning that the island is losing sand. Until about 1,800 years ago Galveston Island was actually growing. This phase of growth ceased as sand supply to the island diminished and the rate of relative sea level rise decreased.”
Rice said the report was a collaborative effort.
“The publication is a result of the transdisciplinary collaboration by John Anderson, Ph.D., and Christopher Hight, Ph.D., in addition to the contribution of Michael Robinson, Ph.D., and Davin Wallace, Ph.D., to present an atlas of such strategies, examining the scientific factors operating in the coastal environment of the Gulf Coast, related urban ecologies, and offering design examples that project alternative futures for urbanization on Galveston Island and other coastal communities,” said the Rice report.
"Due to a number of environmental factors like coastal erosion, sea level rise and hurricanes, Galveston faces an uncertain future," Anderson said. "The atlas is designed to provide the island's policymakers, citizens and visitors with some background information on expected environmental changes to the island over the next century and offer possible solutions to the problems it faces."
Video: Planning Galveston's Future