The Gulf shoreline of Texas: processes, characteristics, and factors in use.
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The State of Texas has about 367 miles of open Gulf shoreline, most of it typified by rather broad, sandy beaches and a comparatively mild climate that permits almost year-round use of this recreational resource. All but about 87 miles of the Gulf Beach is accessible to the general public. Shoreline stability is a factor that should be considered prior to developing any segment of the Texas Gulf shoreline. Other factors equally important include width of a particular shoreline feature, density of vegetation, presence or absence of fore-island dunes, and number and size of storm channels that transect the barriers, peninsulas, or deltaic headlands. Width of a particular shoreline feature is in part a function of sand availability; examples of broad shoreline features are the barrier islands such as Galveston and Matagorda Islands. Man-made structures (motels, family dwellings, etc.) are relatively protected from hurricane wind and storm surge if they are situated on broad barrier islands behind fore-island dunes. Similar structures may be severely damaged or destroyed if placed on erosional deltaic headlands or on the narrow, low-profile peninsulas.