Once, the Brazos River flowed into the sea near this barrier island community of stilt homes. But in 1929 it was diverted to a new channel 7 miles (11 kilometers) away.
Since then the Brazos delta, which once supplied sand for the island, has eroded away, and new sand coming downriver has gone elsewhere. Jetties and a shipping channel are affecting the migration of sand from other sources.
Furthermore, the pumping of water from deep aquifers is causing the already low-lying island to sink farther.
The result, said geologist Richard Watson, is the most "complete collection" of human-made causes of beach erosion to be found anywhere in Texas.
Now, when storms hit, the damage can be especially severe, he added.
—Richard A. Lovett
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Photograph courtesy Richard L. Watson