Land-use planners rarely consider geologic problems arising from human alteration of natural systems. Development of South Padre Island, Texas has disregarded active coastal processes, creating a dangerous situation for residents and tourists: residential zones have been built in wash-over channels and portions of the foredune ridge have been removed for hotel construction. Shoreline erosion and the island's susceptibility to the destructive forces of hurricanes are the two major problems identified in this study. To maximize protection from storm surge erosion and scour, it is recommended that high-cost commercial buildings be placed just behind the foredune ridge and residential zones be restricted to back-island areas not exposed to washover channels. With low cost and little effort, geologic input can be incorporated into any land-use plan.

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