"Sargent Breakwater, Beach Nourishment project draws crowd" by: Jessica Shepard

Sentinel photo/Jessica Shepard
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Timothy Vail explains the Corps' position and job as part of the Sargent Breakwater and Beach Nourishment project at the Sargent Volunteer Fire Department, Nov. 6.

   It was standing room only at the Sargent Breakwater and Beach Nourishment project presentation at the Sargent Volunteer Fire Department Nov. 6.
   The project is a joint venture involving the Texas General Land Office, Matagorda County, Atkins America, Inc., and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
   “This year, hurricane season has been very hard on the coastline – especially for Matagorda County,” said Atkins Project Director Rhonda Gregg Hirsch.
   “We’ve taken a different pace to work at a state level rather than federal.”
   “It’s by far easier this way than the congressional path,” said USACE Colonel Timothy Vail.
   Some citizens questioned the need for breakwaters since Sargent has a revetment wall.
   “I can say that the revetment wall is serving its sole purpose to keep the Gulf from encroaching on the Intercoastal,” answered Vail.
   “But once that wall is breached, it’ll cause major problems for the Intercoastal from water going over the wall. You need sand and beachfront built up to prevent that from happening.”
   Vail added that any beach nourishment done in the past is “gone within six months.”
   “The Corps has no authority to take unilateral action and only acts as an authority to make sure projects like this proceed legally,” he explained.
   “This is why you partner with other entities like the GLO, county, and Atkins – to get action from state and federal partnerships and funding.”
   Hirsch said the project was originally part of a larger federal coastline study before being removed and pursued on its own.
   “We’ve got a lot of momentum going on right now,” she added.

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