Gilchrist Beach and Caplen Beach are located fronting the Gulf of Mexico along Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County. This area is often referred to as Rollover or Rollover Pass because the inlet presently separates the two beaches. The influence of Rollover Pass on the stability of the adjacent beaches as well as excessive bay shoaling stimulated plans toward the closure of the inlet in the near future (Taylor Engineering 2010). Caplen Beach lies to the west of the inlet and Gilchrist Beach to the east. It is well documented that both beaches suffered severe erosion as Hurricane Ike approached and made landfall along the Texas Coast during September 2008 (Sherman et al). This region was previously damaged in 1998 by Tropical Storm Francis after which geotubes were employed to stabilize and rebuild the damaged dunes and narrow beach (Gibeaut et al. 2003). The duneline along both beaches was destroyed during both of these storm events and several projects have been implemented to restore the dune system with transient success. Presently, the duneline consists of sand and in some cases sargassum that has been mechanically placed seaward of the duneline during beach maintenance, along with regions of impoundment of wind-blown sand by vegetation and also by sand fencing.
There have been several CEPRA nourishment projects as well as beneficial use dredge material placement (BUDM) efforts by the COE along Bolivar Peninsula. A beach nourishment effort was conducted at Gilchrist and Caplen Beach during 2000 (CEPRA 1037) and an extensive dune restoration project was conducted during 2004 (CEPRA 1086/87) involving the placement of geotubes along the dune line. More recently several beach nourishment projects have been conducted at Caplen Beach during Mar 2012, Jan 2014 and Feb 2015. The nourishment completed during Feb 2015 consisted of the placement of 171,000 cubic yards along approximately 3,000 linear feet, beginning 1,000-ft west of Rollover Pass. The next nourishment at Caplen Beach is planned for during December 2016 and no plans are in place for nourishment or dune restoration at Gilchrist Beach as of the 2015 reporting.
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