Local News

Aug 20, 2014 1:35 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

One Local Beach is Beautiful as Ever Thanks to Breakwaters

CORPUS CHRISTI - Some area beaches are in danger of eroding, while others like, "University Beach" near Texas A&M Corpus Christi are maintaining a "healthy" status. Partly because of how the beach was restored in 2001. Plus, scientists with the Conrad Blucher Institute conduct an annual beach profile survey as a check up.

Deidre Williams is a coastal research scientist, who says, beaches naturally erode over time, sending sand out into the gulf. However, one local beach has been flourishing for more than a decade.

"University Beach was designed so that it would capture the eroding sand, it holds the eroding sand within the beach cell," Williams said.

The cell is made up of two rock structures and several "breakwaters" that act as a barrier for beach sand.

"Then we can go out and actually reclaim that sand at a later date," she added.

A team of scientists take to the water to measure sand levels to see how much is being lost and where it's headed.

"The purpose of looking at both the dry beach and the submerged beach is to get a better understanding of where the sand is going to once it's eroded," Williams said.

The recycled sand is used to replenish the beach after natural erosion happens versus bringing in new sand. Which Williams says can be costly.

"We don't have to go to that additional expense that you might have to say at North Beach where you have to bring in new sand and nourish from an outside source," she said.

Over the last 13 years, researchers have noticed that this design has also created a coastal feature known as a tombolo.

"A tombolo is when the shoreline reaches out and touches and offshore structure which is the breakwater," Williams said.

Williams says that "sandbar" is the build up of sand that will be used to touch up the beach when the time comes.

The beach has been recommended to reclaim the sand. However, University Beach has far exceeded it's "healthy status" expectation. Initially, scientists planned on re-nourishment every 5 years. This month, though, marks 13 years since the beach was restored.


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