JEFFERSON COUNTY, Texas — Construction on a new project that officials hope will protect Southeast Texas communities and beyond from storm surge is expected to begin soon.
The Texas General Land Office and partners are heading the Shoreline Restoration Project. The project is expected to improve and protect the coastline in Jefferson and Chambers counties.
The project is set to bring sand onto and widen the beaches and re-create the sand dunes that used to serve as a buffer during storms. Those dunes were washed away during Hurricane Rita.
Officials hope the work put in will stabilize the shoreline against further erosion. Workers will target the stretch of beach between High Island and Sea Rim State Park.
The project costs more than $200 million and is mostly funded by the BP oil spill along with other funds.
Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick hopes the project will improve wildlife habitation, help preserve the marsh and prevent flooding.
"Make our community more resilient from storm surge,” Judge Branick said. “Protect our seafood industry, which Jefferson County is home to the second most valuable seafood catch on the Texas gulf coast. So we want to protect that."
Port Arthur native and Eco-Activist Ronnie Moon said even 50 years ago, the shoreline is not what it is now.
"They're way up on the shoreline from where they used to be from storms and naturally erosion and everything," Moon said.
Sand and vegetations are ready to be brought to the Southeast Texas beaches. The project will be completed in four-mile increments.
Construction at High Island will begin Wednesday, August 10, 2022. The project is expected to be completed in mid to late 2023.
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