Beach Renourishment

Sand Dredged From Houston Ship Channel To Replenish Galveston Island Beach

The Galveston Engineer District is partnering with state and local officials to bring a new round of fresh sand to Galveston Island’s Babe’s Beach.

The district is working with the Galveston Park Board of Trustees, the City of Galveston and the Texas General Land Office on an ongoing effort to maintain and protect Galveston’s beaches, all at no additional cost to local residents.

“The replenishment of Babe’s Beach, which begins west of 61st Street, is scheduled to start this summer,” Andrew Cook, an operations manager with the Galveston Engineer District said. “To support this project, we are placing the sand—called Beneficial Use of Dredge Material (BUDM)—from our required dredging of Galveston’s ship channel to replenish this beach area. The BUDM is dredged and collected into a dredging ship, which is then pumped through pipes from the dredging ship onto the beach. Up to 950,000 cubic yards of beach-quality sand harvested from the dredging project will be used to renourish Babe’s Beach.”

The beach project is expected to take several months, ending in late summer.

“Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Texas General Land Office and the City of Galveston is a huge win for Galveston,” Park Board CEO Kelly de Schaun said. “This partnership gives us a more cost-effective way to replenish our biggest asset: Galveston’s beaches.” 

The project is funded through a variety of programs, including the GLO Coastal Erosion & Planning Response Act (CEPRA); the City of Galveston Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) 4B Sales Tax; and Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). Additionally, the project was paid for, in part, with federal funding from the Department of the Treasury through the state of Texas under the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act).

This is the third beach nourishment project at Babe’s Beach since 2015. Most recently in 2019, the Corps added approximately 711,000 cubic yards of sand to the beach.

“Beach nourishment projects not only provide a more attractive and extensive beach for residents and tourists to enjoy, but they also help protect the island against coastal erosion,” City Manager Brian Maxwell said. “We’re excited to be a part of this collaborative effort to improve Galveston beaches and thank the Galveston Park Board, GLO and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their partnership.”

Beach nourishment projects reduce shoreline erosion and fortify the beaches. Galveston completed a three-part beach nourishment project in 2017 representing more than $44 million. According to the GLO, that project was the largest beach nourishment project ever accomplished in state history.