Geotextile Tubes along the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, May 2000 to March 2003


In September 1998, Tropical Storm Frances caused severe beach and dune erosion along the Gulf shoreline of the southeast Texas coast. This erosion placed many beach houses in danger of being undermined or damaged during subsequent storms and gradual shoreline retreat. To help prevent such damage, shore-parallel geotextile tubes were installed. The tubes are sediment-filled sleeves of geotextile fabric having an oval cross section of approximately 12 ft. They rest on a fabric scour apron that has sediment-filled anchor tubes along each edge. Geotextile tubes are placed in a trench parallel to shore along the back beach or foredunes, and project designs call for sand and natural beach vegetation to cover them. Since 1998, nine separate projects have been installed, and in March 2003, they covered a total of 7.34 mi of the Gulf shoreline from Follets Island to High Island. An additional 709 ft of the tubes have been destroyed. This study provides a quantitative evaluation of these projects on the basis of observations made from May 2000 to March 2003. Six field surveys were conducted that included ground surveys (beach profiles), visual inspection of geotextile tube exposure and damage plus three airborne topographic surveys (lidar) of the projects and adjacent beaches and dunes. Wave and water-level data were also compiled. Results from this study will aid the design of future erosion-control projects, such as beach nourishment and other geotextile tube projects in the area. Results, data, and maps are reported on a Bureau of Economic Geology Website.


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