Before the Water Gets Too High: Texas and the Fight Against Sea Level Rise




Hearn, Holly Ann

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The Texas Gulf coast totes 365 miles of shoreline and over 6 million residents; however, many do not realize the rate at which sea-level is rising. Between 1950 and 2016, Texas experienced 18.56 inches of sea-level rise . The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts it will rise six more inches by 2031 . As the situation escalates in Texas, communities are exploring shoreline mitigation techniques for future protection and sustainability. This project is a long-form multimedia story about the sea-level rise in Texas; specifically, it investigates what two very different coastal communities are doing to adapt to impending change. I conducted the two “case studies” examining mitigation tactics proposed and employed in the Galveston area and along South Padre Island, respectively. This was primarily done by interviewing community leaders, residents and organizations invested in the problem. Additionally, I include data journalism and video to create a complete story package hosted online at The aim of this project is to contrast sea-level rise situations in Galveston and South Padre Island respectively through digital storytelling.



journalism, multimedia, Texas, sea level, Galveston, South Padre Island, Honors College


Hearn, H. A. (2019). Before the water gets too high: Texas and the fight against sea level rise (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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