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Coastal Barrier Island Researchers Learn Lessons From Ike Destruction; 'There Is No Answer Yet'
Underwatertimes.com News Service
January 21, 2009 17:09 EST

GALVESTON, Texas -- When more than 20 coastal barrier island researchers arrived on Galveston Island in early January, many had never seen the level of destruction wrought by Hurricane Ike.

They came from New England, the Pacific coast and all points between where ocean meets U.S. soil. From a common interest in coastal barrier islands and their multitude of questions that emerged from the rubble that still litters Galveston and neighboring Bolivar Peninsula has emerged a goal.

The team, funded by the National Science Foundation, aims to develop a "research-management-outreach framework to sustain barrier island ecosystems," according to Dr. Rusty Feagin, ecosystems management scientist for Texas AgriLife Research and one of the conference organizers.

Feagin is part of the Coastal Barrier Island Network project, a joint effort with Wake Forest University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

"Barrier islands do so many things and are of tremendous value," said Dr. William Smith, Wake Forest botanist and project leader. "And scientists today realize that the issues facing barrier islands are complex problems that have to be addressed by a multi-disciplinary team. There is no answer yet, but for the first time we are addressing it in this manner."

After discussing data and touring the Hurricane Ike damage, the scientists agreed to these findings:

The coastal barrier island scientists hope to research and find possible solutions to these issues. The project will span five years under the National Science Foundation grant.