Reconnaissance Level Studies on a Storm Surge Barrier for Flood Risk Reduction in the Houston-Galveston Bay

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The Houston - Galveston area is at significant risk from hurricane induced storm surges. This paper summarizes ongoing studies on flood risk reduction for the region. Firstly, based on a simplified probabilistic hurricane surge model , the return periods of surges within the bay have been estimated. This model framework can be used to assess the effectiveness of several risk reduction interventions. Sketch- and conceptual designs have been made of a storm surge barrier in the Bolivar Roads, that would be part of the Ike Dike coastal protection concept. Such a storm surge barrier would consist of two parts, an environmental section for flow requirements (consisting of caissons with vertical gates) and a navigation section of the barrier (consisting of a barge gate), which would allow unhindered passage of navigation during normal conditions. Future questions and challenges for flood risk reduction in the Bay are identified.