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City of

Surfside Beach, Texas Presentation to

Port Freeport REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE November 19, 2009

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City of Surfside Beach In the 2000 census, Surfside had 763 residents, 879 housing units, and 352 households. The city comprises 2.2 sq. miles The city is served by Brazosport College, and Brazosport I.S.D., including: - O. A. Fleming Elementary School - Velasco Elementary School - Lanier Middle School - Freeport Intermediate School - Brazosport High School Adjacent to the jetty channel, Surfside’s closest neighbor is Port Freeport. Surfside serves as the welcoming committee to thousands of ships a year entering Port Freeport. Surfside property is included in the Brazoria County Tax Appraisal District . The Village of Surfside Beach (and the homes and other properties owned by those who are here appealing to the Port for its aid and assistance) lie within the taxing district and jurisdiction of Port Freeport. In effect, the Port's operations, presumably including channel widening and deepening, are paid for by our property tax dollars. Surfside Beach is considered the Cradle of Texas where the "Original 300 Settlers" first set foot on Texas soil. Home to the famous Fort Velasco, Surfside is the location where the first battle prior to the war for Texas Independence was fought and where Santa Anna signed the Treaty of Velasco recognizing Texas as an Independent country. For generations Texans have enjoyed the recreational and environmental qualities of Surfside Beach. The beach is where we touch and experience nature. It’s where dads teach their kids to fish, where we learn the wonders of nature, and to respect the environment. Many a youngsters' fondest memories are of weekends and vacations spent at the beach with family and friends. Whether watching for turtles, dolphins or birds, or going fishing, surfing, boating or just enjoying their families at the beach, residents and visitors treasure their time at Surfside Miles and miles of sandy beaches are a wonderful blessing of nature! We share a collective responsibility to protect and nourish our natural resources – including our beaches!

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BEFORE Photos! While Surfside has suffered considerable erosion for the past few decades (with very little sand replenishment), nothing compares to the erosion rates seen in the past few months. What is causing this? Long-time residents say they haven’t seen erosion like this in 35 years! Here are some pictures of the revetment going in June 2008. Notice the distance from Beach Drive to the waters edge. The revetment proved vital to protecting homes from the storm surge during Hurricane Ike just a couple months later. One photo is from July 2009 showing the revetment covered in sand and grass.

June 2008 Looking east on Beach Drive

August 3, 2008 Looking west down Beach Drive

Revetment

Notice that even in July 2009 the revetment is stacked high and covered with sand with a beach to stroll down. June 2008 Beach Drive

July 2009 500 block of Beach Drive

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Current Photos: View of Pedestrian Beach – These photos are of Beach Drive from the jetty going east for one mile! Citizens alerted the GLO in October of rapid erosion in this area. The little beach that was left was washed away last week by IDA. There is NO beach for one mile. The community is only protected by a rock-pile revetment – that is failing under the constant pounding surf! The road is being undermined in places and had to be barricaded off in sections last week. How can we allow for a beach and a community to be destroyed like this? We need SAND! 11/13/2009

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Current Photos: View of Public Beach – Starting one mile east of the jetty is the public beach. As you can see, there is minimal beach. The community has NO protection. Recent storms washed away 3 - 4 feet of sand level and eroded 50 ft. of beachfront! All signs suggest this rate of erosion will continue unabated – destroying more homes within months! We need SAND!

This old bulkhead was covered entirely with sand before Ida. Now it is sticking up 3.5 feet. Without help, this erosion will continue.

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No room for cars and beachgoers.

Dozens of homes are at risk!

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Dune crossovers that previously had 75 feet of beach in front of them, now end at the water’s edge!

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Current Photos: View of Public Beach – These photos are 2 - 3 miles from the jetty . The beach is minimal and continuing to erode. This community still has NO protection from the surf. There is no room for beachgoers and vehicles. Dozens of homes are at risk! The sand that should be on this beach is dropping into the jetty channel only to be dredged off by the Port. We need that SAND!

This old bulkhead was covered entirely with sand before Ida. Now it is sticking up 3.5 feet. 11/13/2009

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Dune crossovers that previously had 100 feet of beach in front of them, now end just a few feet from the water’s edge!

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Current Photos: View of Public Beach – 3.5 miles from the jetty going east. Down here the beach starts to widen. The further from the jetty you go, the wider the beach! This beach needs SAND to build up its protective dunes!

At 3.5 miles from the jetty, notice how far the dune crossovers are from the water

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Finally, there is room for beachgoers and vehicles to access and enjoy the beach safely!

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Dune crossovers that previously had 100 feet of beach in front of them, now end just a few feet from the water’s edge!

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Surfside in Partnership with Port Freeport Surfside Beach, which is adjacent to the Port’s jetty channel, is a valuable resource that thousands of families visit and enjoy each year. Experts agree that this beach is in desperate trouble. Decades of unabated erosion (without proper sand replenishments) have erased the beach and destroyed many homes in the process, and now dozens more are threatened. It’s not that we have lost our beach – rather it’s that it has been taken from us! As recently as November 11, Texas GLO spokesman Jim Suydam had this to say about Surfside, “The land office is acutely aware of the alarming rate of erosion that’s happening out there, it’s a shocking amount, frankly.” We invite the Port’s Board to visit Surfside and see it for yourself. How is it that we who live and work here have collectively let such a valuable natural resource and community to be destroyed without a fight? We might be 25 years late, but today we are here to tell you that we are in this fight to save Surfside and are asking you to join us. The future of Surfside Beach is entirely dependent on the immediate aid of the Port and other state and federal agencies. Our small community cannot fight this destructive surf and erosion without your help. We are here today to ask the Port Executives, Commissioners, and Board of Directors to commit to the protection and restoration of Surfside Beach. We are asking the Port to assist with short and long-term solutions. We are asking the Port to take a leadership role to plan and execute: -

immediate and on-going sand replenishment to slow the pace of this erosion actions to mitigate and arrest further erosion funding for protection and restoration projects coordination with agencies (state and federal), Corp of Engineers, etc. coalition building with government representatives, Port clients, etc.

We are in desperate need of SAND - all we can get! The Port has critical expertise, manpower and material resources and generously partners with the community on many worthwhile projects. Can there be a more deserving project for the Port (whose very operations impact Surfside daily) than aiding a neighboring beach and community? We desperately need critical resources NOW - aimed at stopping and reversing this erosion. Please come to the aid of your neighbors and your beach, and help us protect a very valuable Texas asset, an environmental treasure, a public park that all citizens enjoy, and a wonderful community - Surfside Beach!. Respectfully Submitted: City of Surfside Mayor, City Council, and Concerned Citizens Mayor Larry Davison: 979-482-7676

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Handout  

by Glen Robocheau

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