Wetlands restoration at Galveston Island State Park: A multi-agency project




Glass, Phil, and Ted Hollingsworth

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Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission


The Stewart Ranch in west Galveston Island included some 1100 acres of tidal salt marsh, mostly smooth cord grass Spartina alterniflora, in 1930. The adjacent West Bay shallows contained large sea grass beds, probably Halodule wrightii. There were approximately 900 acres of marsh left when the ranch became a state park in 1970. In the early 1990's, biologists and fisherman noticed the marsh was rapidly disappearing. By 1994, aerial photographs confirmed there were only 400 acres remaining. Over the last four years, the marsh has continued to disappear, until today there are less than 100 acres. Tidal marshes all along West Bay's south shore are disappearing at an alarming rate, apparently from erosion precipitated by subsidence. The restoration project at Galveston Island State Park should prove a valuable model and inspiration for the restoration of more marshes in West Bay and elsewhere. Already a project at Jumbile Cove has been funded and will be under construction in the near future.


pgs. 203-204


wetlands, restoration, salt marshes, spartina alterniflora, halodule wrightii, erosion, subsidence, aerial photography, vegetation cover, hydraulic engineering, terraces, smooth cord grass