Shoreline Types of the Upper Texas Coast: Sabine-Galveston-Freeport-Sargent Areas

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The following report describes how the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) classified and mapped the shores of the upper Texas coast for the Texas Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) Program, provides definitions of each shoreline type, and presents examples that illustrate how physical attributes of the shoreline habitats control the impact of spilled oil. This information is an integral part of the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps used for oil spill response and contingency planning. Shorelines were classified according to an ESI scheme established by Research Planning, Inc. (RPI) and the BEG. The ESI rankings (1-10) are described, examples of each type are illustrated, and the common occurrences of multiple adjacent shoreline types are given. Shoreline types were mapped on U.S.G.S. topographic quadrangles (1:24,000) using recent vertical aerial photographs, low-altitude color video surveys taken in 1992, oblique color slides taken in 1992 and 1994, an overflight in 1994, and previous field experience. All the maps were field checked in June 1994 from the air and some sites were checked on the ground. The Sabine to Sargent region was selected for the initial phase of ESI mapping in Texas because shore types there are diverse, it is densely industrialized, extant wetlands are environmentally sensitive, and a large volume of oil is transported through major shipping channels and the Intracoastal Waterway of the region.


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