If we lose Folletts Island, we lose coastal communities and Christmas Bay: A geological framework and numerical model study of the sustainability of Folletts Island

2014-2016 - $240,148

Dr. Jens Figlus
Maritime Systems Engineering
Texas A&M University
Galveston

Dr. Timothy Dellapenna
Marine Sciences/Oceanography
Texas A&M University
Galveston

Abstract

Folletts Island (FI) extends from San Luis Pass to the Freeport Jetties (Figure 1). It is the barrier island that separates Christmas Bay from the Gulf of Mexico and contains a series of beach communities, including Treasure Island (East end) and Surfside (West end). Folletts Island generally is between 0.23 - 0.45 km wide, is very low lying and was breached in several places by Hurricane Ike (2008). As a result, FI is the most vulnerable section of the Texas Coast and experiences alarming rates of erosion, with shoreline retreat ranging from 30 - 320 m since 1978. As the main goal of this study we propose to develop and calibrate a process-based numerical model to predict morphology changes of entire barrier island systems. This will be accomplished using an existing morphology change model in combination with the collection and evaluation of high-resolution bathymetry and topography data for our proposed test site of FI. One of the main results from this study will be the provision of a decision-making tool for coastal managers and stakeholders to assess local risk vulnerability of a barrier island system and aid in long-term planning for development, beach nourishment and dune and marsh restoration efforts that will keep the entire system at a healthy balance.