While discussions of how to protect our coastal communities on the Upper Texas Coast is nothing new, the Hurricane Season of 2017 has strengthened the need and rhetoric around providing protection from ever-increasing storms and its surge impacts. For years, the silver bullet coastal barrier option has centered around the coastal spine – commonly known as the Ike Dike – and what could be one of the costliest public infrastructure projects in U.S. history.
Bayou City Currents
Were the impacts of Harvey in Houston a result of no zoning in the city of no limits? Zoning and the lack of zoning have colored discussions about how Houston develops for over a hundred years. Zoning is a veritable lightning rod for animated discussions about development in our city. Zoning has detractors from various sides. There are those who decry any kind of controls on development, and to them zoning would be the absolute worst kind of regulation. On the other hand, zoning has its detractors amongst the new urban cognoscenti, who consider zoning as an impediment to the mixed-use walkability that defines livable cities.
Nick Anderson, Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, illustrated a great feature on the importance of wetlands in the face of natural disasters like Harvey — featuring our own John Jacob, Board Chair of Bayou City Waterkeeper!
Hurricane Harvey has hit the Greater Houston area, and the Galveston Bay Watershed, hard. As the waters recede, thousands of people remain evacuated, homes are left destroyed, and at least 50 lives were lost. All this destruction due to the “new normal” – more frequent historic flooding in coastal Texas. We are working to assess the damage the record-breaking storm has brought to the Lower Galveston Bay watershed, supporting local communities, as well as developing a long-term clean-up and water monitoring plan.