The Texas coast, a 1,100-mi long system of bays and lagoons, barrier islands, deltas, and coastal plains, fronted by a broad continental shelf, is a complex low energy environment that is occasionally punctuated by severe storms and hurricanes. Site selection, investigation, and project design along this coast require an understanding of the geomorphic processes active in the site region. The shallow continental shelf is a reflection of Pleistocene-Holocene processes. The coastal zone reflects the influence of climatic conditions and sedimentary sources. Sediment transport in the wet climatic areas, such as east Texas, is less than in dry coastal areas, such as south Texas, because the heavy vegetative cover acts to hold the coastal sediments. Surface erosion in wet areas is dominated by rainfall events, while in dry areas it is dominated by wind events. Most Texas rivers end in shallow bays, thereby limiting the amount of sediment delivered directly to the coast. Significant human actions are also important; these include: trapping sand, either in dams and river channels or behind coastal protection structures; adding sand from dredge disposal for renourishment projects; increasing subsidence due to the withdrawal of subsurface fluids; or altering the geo-morphology by dredging. The active coastal processes are either long-term, gradual processes or short-term, intense events.

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