County takes step with Sargent Beach project

 

Matagorda County Commissioners took another step towards addressing the Sargent Beach Breakwater and Beach Nourishment Pilot Study by entering into the Coastal Erosion planning and response act project cooperation agreement during Monday’s meeting of commissioner’s court.

The agreement is between the General Land Office and the county for the breakwater and beach nourishment pilot study.

“This is just the next step that we need to take with his project,” said Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald. 

The purpose of the contract is to set the terms and conditions of the cooperation in the CEPRA project that is managed by GLO and the county.

Last month, McDonald and county officials spoke at a Galveston meeting seeking to gain funding for the project through a multi-dollar trust established because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

More than $360 million is to be divided among five Gulf Coast states for environment restoration efforts and McDonald is seeking funding for a project in Sargent.

McDonald spoke out for funding to build a breakwater at Sargent Beach along with a beach nourishment project. McDonald said that the Sargent Beach coastline is the most eroded coastline in Texas and needs attention quickly.

McDonald said the Sargent coastline is an extreme high-risk area with extensive erosion and loss of critical habitat. 

“This once robust shoreline is a critical buffer to the Gulf Intercostal Waterway (GIWW), a vital artery for our local, state and national economies,” McDonald said. “In past years, a healthy beach supported a variety of shorebirds and other wildlife as well as critical habitat for endangered species such as the piping plover. This habitat has vanished due to the excessive erosional processes and the GIWW is at risk of breach from the same unbridled coastal processes.”

McDonald said construction of the Sargent project re-establishes the beach habitat that provides not only forage and nesting areas for shorebirds and wildlife, but also provides a first line of defense to protect the healthy, thriving marshes and public and private property and infrastructure beyond the GIWW.

McDonald said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state of Texas as well as Matagorda County and Matagorda County Navigation District 2 have committed resources that have implemented state of the art technologies and science to study, model, design and permit a project to “shore up” a vulnerable, unprotected and exposed segment of the Texas coast.

The Matagorda Peninsula and Sargent Beach, Texas, have experienced some of the highest rates of erosion along the Texas coast. Matagorda County works diligently with state agencies, federal partners, local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other committed stakeholders to maximize resources to enhance and protect the Matagorda County coastline. 

In 2012, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in partnership with the Port of Bay City to identify structural methods to reduce beach erosion at Sargent Beach conducted a two-part study. Complex physical processes and the potential risk for adverse impacts led the Corps to recommend a project that can be adapted as needed. 

A set of 10-shore parallel, segmented breakwaters northeast of Mitchells Cut with beach fill behind the breakwaters was initially recommended. 

The TX GLO and Matagorda County advanced the Corps study with numerical modeling and other support services provided by Atkins North America to optimize the breakwater arrangement and alignment and provide complete alternatives analysis. 

The RESTORE Act, signed into law in July 2012, established a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund) that will receive 80 percent of the civil and administrative Clean Water Act penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

The Trust Fund supports five restoration components aimed at restoring the long-term health of the valuable natural ecosystems and economy of the Gulf Coast region.

 

In other action, commissioners approved the donation of a 2012 Chevrolet Caprice police vehicle from the Bay City Police Department to the Matagorda County Precinct 6 Constable’s office.

Precinct 6 Constable Bill Orton said the vehicle would be put to good use within his department. 

 “We have three vehicles right now that are service to the county,” Orton said. “One is in my precinct and another is in precinct one and precinct four. This vehicle will help my office because I use my personal vehicle plus we have a Tahoe that we previously received from the city.”

Orton said the city is taking the vehicle out of service to replace it and he said he has visited with county officials about getting those repairs done on the vehicle to put it back in service.

Orton said the resale value of the vehicle is approximately $10,000 and is already equip with $4,000 dollars worth of equipment that will not have be provided for the vehicle.

“All we have to do is put a radio in it so it will help us,” Orton said. “My agency helps other agencies in this county at different times so it will help us with that as well.”

Commissioners also approved a temporary license/permit for alcohol beverages at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds Oct. 123 for the Matagorda County Stampede Xtream Roughstock event. 

Commissioners also approved to accept a donation of $5,000 from Equistar A Lyondell Company for expenses toward the Matagorda County Household Hazardous Waste collection event set for Oct. 19.

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