H-GAPS is a potential surge protection system. Mid-bay barrier islands and a mid-bay gate are envisioned as a cost-effective system to protect vital industrial infrastructure in the Houston Ship Channel as well as communities lining the western shore of Galveston Bay. Given the substantial investment that any storm protection system represents, elements of the system must perform multiple functions at all times. During storm events, the primary function as a protective barrier is clear, but what happens the rest of the time? In H-GAPS, the islands will be programmed as active recreational amenities for the surrounding communities. From marinas for sailboats and sport craft, to sandy bayfront campsites, to an expansive network of bike, hike, horse, and running trails, the islands will offer new ground and amenities for the enjoyment of the bay by visitors and residents alike. This constructed archipelago will also create a new habitat for coastal and bay flora and fauna with a range of conditions to support the bay’s remarkable ecological diversity. The mid-bay barrier islands are conceived not just to solve a problem, but also to create a comprehensive new relationship with and understanding of the Bay. H-GAPS provides protection while embracing the opportunity to do more.


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