South Padre Island Using Green Sand For Research

Local News

The City of South Padre Island and research partners are placing tracing sand in local waters to help beach nourishment efforts.

It’s a partnership between SPI, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Partrac.

It’s the first time the city uses a particle tracing study of the SPI coast. In short, they are adding a green colored sand and following the path it takes.

“We know what should happen to that sand based on the textbook explanation and the models,” says SPI’s shoreline manager, Brandon Hill. “there’s really no way of knowing exactly where that sand ends up unless we have a way of tracing it.”

Over 4,400 lbs. of the tracing sand is added into local waters. There is samples up to a mile away from the shore. They’ll be tracking it for about a year.

Hill says the material is like the sand already on the beach. “The only difference is that it’s dyed in a florescent color as well as covered in some iron which allows it to be both glow in the dark under a black light and magnetic.” He also assures us the tracing sand is safe for wildlife.  

The entire study came at a cost of about 600,000 dollars. According to Hill, SPI will be responsible for about 40% and the rest is funded by partners involved in the research.

A city spokesperson tells us the study will be presented to city council and to the public once the research is complete.

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