Beach Raking Clarification

By William Comeaux
There have been many questions, assumptions and misinformation about Galveston County’s current halt to raking Bolivar Peninsula Beaches. I will do my best to explain things.

  1. When Galveston County rakes the beaches with the old style rakes that look like combs behind the tractor, our purpose is not to grade, pack, move sand or pick up trash. The sole purpose is to move seaweed and other naturally occurring materials.
  2. When we used the new surf rake that is on wheels, we did pick up trash and debris because it has a hopper on it that collects the material and we were able to dump it in a receptacle.
  3. We have always hand picked a majority of the litter whether it was our beach crew, a contractor or the many wonderful individuals that just want to do their part and with the help of Keep Bolivar Beautiful.
  4. The US Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction of the beach under 2 different acts. One gives them jurisdiction basically from the wet sand seaward, the other is jurisdiction from the mean high tide line seaward which is an elevation that can be determined a few different ways. One way can put that line at the vegetation line of the dunes which encompasses our whole beach.
  5. I know many of you are upset and want to call any and everyone that has authority, but we ask that everyone just hold tight while this is being figured out between Galveston County and the Corps of Engineers. If the time comes where the county is not making progress we will let you know. Angry calls from people not completely understanding could possibly slow down this process.

I just want to wrap this up by encouraging you all to consider what our beach looks like less than 1 week after what could potentially be our busiest weekend of the year. Although not perfect, it looks great considering what it looked like Monday morning. I assure you, we are going to do everything we can to keep our beaches visitor and resident ready. We will do the same thing next week after Memorial Day. Thank you all that take you own time, golf carts, garbage cans, gloves etc and clean after the crowds leave.


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12 Responses to “Beach Raking Clarification”

  1. Patti Cacioppo says:

    Who made the decision to cut ditches that drain onto the beach? This is causing horrible problems with washouts and deep drop offs on the beach.

  2. James says:

    Wow! Nice beach. Where is the location? This reminds me of the beach wagon I used to bring to the beach. I remembered having to carry heavy stuff without the foldable wagon but now everything changed. I love the beach and the wagon. No joke!

  3. Susan Smith says:

    I see it, is the lack of sanitation such as good garage disposal and NO toilets.

  4. mike says:

    I too have a question!
    There is more beach on Bolivar than Crystal Beach!
    When will you start understanding that and start raking the beaches North of there.
    We all pay a lot of taxes but do not get the benefit of having a clean beach at Gilchrist to High Island area!
    Maybe once a year?
    Forth of July is coming up rapidly will you at least clean the beach road going to McFadden wildlife refuge before then?There is always a lot of people there during holidays and weekends. Last storm we had it took Quite a While before anyone graded the road/beach access.
    At least share the wealth of our taxes for all involved not just one area!
    Hope you show up on this end this year!

  5. Gary says:

    Just wanted to get an answer as to the parking permits are they still required to park on the beach.I have one on each of my suit is but driving the beach the last 2 weekends I could Easley count more than 100 autos with nothing on there windshield and parked in full view saw some of these autos more than twice on the same day and I never saw the permit atv who makes sure all autos have these and does this all so pertain to atv that cover the beach

  6. james says:

    Good! I for am hoping for a natural beach that will build back up with the natural deposits of vegetation. Who really benefits from a flat,featureless beach except the businesses. And of course the yahoos enjoy the speedway aspect of it. If law enforcement would do just that, the beach would be much cleaner and enjoyable. Where were they during topless (and i do mean topless)weekend. Watching.

  7. Jim Dellinger says:

    Thank you for the information. While this does answer a few questions many are left unanswered.
    1. Why did this occur? Was there a change in the regulation? Was this an oversight by Galveston County? Who is responsible for the permitting?
    2. Is this effecting all of Galveston County or just Bolivar? Why the difference?
    3. You ask us to hold our complaints but provide no new time line. Is this process still anticipated to require 2 years?
    4. What is the permitting process and what are the applicable regulations?
    5. From who, how often, and where can we expect updates?
    5. Next time the seaweed comes in what efforts will be made to clear the beach?

    Again, I appreciate the information and hope that we continue to receive regular updates on this issue.

    • William Comeaux says:

      Sorry, i just now saw these comments
      1. This occurred when someone complained to the US Army Corps of Engineers. The permit is a 5 year permit and Galveston County along with many other coastal counties have never had one. Researching what has happened in the last few years is, apparently this was never an issue until certain environmental groups threatened to sue the Corps for not making entities get permits. The Corps just in recent years began coming down on entities for permits as they received complaints.
      2. Each beach along the coast is maintained by different entities. The Parks Board maintains Galveston Beaches, The County maintains Bolivar beaches. Apparently Galveston had a complaint a few years ago and the Corps cracked down on them. They just recently got their permit.
      3. There isnt a required timeline for the permit, there is a required process and it depends on how much kickback we get from the 7 (I think) agencies that play a part in the process. County officials are meeting with other key players, so as long as the county sees progress while meeting, we dont see a need to jeopardize that with complaints.
      4. The permitting process includes hiring a consultant who will reach out to the required agencies, biologists, environmentalists etc and work on maintenance procedures that each agency finds acceptable. A comment period from the groups etc. Its almost guaranteed that we will have to change the way we maintain the beach. We just arent sure how yet.
      5. I cannot answer about the seaweed. Without a permit or some sort of grace from the Corps, it is quite possible that we will not be able to use ANY machinery. The Galveston Parks Board had to go a couple of years without any seaweed maintenance during their permit process.

  8. Katherine says:

    At least they rake your beach, Gilchrist pays the same taxes as you do and we never get raked. We pay for beach tags got 3 plastic garbage cans for 10 years of paying. Galveston is raping Bolivia penn.

  9. Brenda B Smith says:

    Problem is, you didn’t answer the one main question — WHY? What prompted this decision?

  10. john says:

    the explanation of no raking is not enough to satisfy the beach users and not to complain about it is hardly the American way. I read the 1899 act and can’t figure out its interpretation of management of the beach, I do however foresee the increase of holes,doughnuts and other wrong usage as a ongoing problem. The bigger problem, as I see it, is the lack of sanitation such as good garage disposal and NO toilets. Under age drinking and nudity could be added as well.

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