Storm + Sand + Sea + Strand – Barrier Island Resiliency Planning: Galveston Island State Park
Barrier islands are dynamic ecosystems in constant evolution. While wind and tide shape the landscape, tropical storms and sea level rise accelerate inland habitat migration. In 2008, Hurricane Ike completely ravaged Galveston Island State Park. The redevelopment master plan is a new precedent of coastal recreation planning built on a foundation of predictive models. Based on site specific ecologies and elevations, the plan must literally anticipate what of the site will remain in 50 years and what its ecology will be. The plan immerses visitors in the dynamics of this fragile and diverse landscape.
Site strategies reduce impermeable surfaces by 25% and significantly decrease habitat fragmentation. The transect trail engages guests with the full island cross section: bay to beach – the only location on Galveston Island where this is possible. Responding to a robust outreach process that sought out displaced residents, a broad array of overnight and recreation opportunities celebrate island environment. Endangered species and the rare Strand Prairie are protected, and development strategies encourage these delicate yet resilient systems to evolve and flourish.