Dr. Philippe Tissot, Associate Director of the Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has secured a grant that will provide vital information during oil spill events. The real-time measurements will help predict oil movement and deploy protection measures. The information will also help long term planning of oil spill responses near two sensitive inlets.

The Texas General Land Office (TGLO) has provided a $152,244 grant to the CBI to develop a “Coastal Current Monitoring Network” on the Texas coast. Recently two current profilers and wave sensors were installed at Bob Hall Pier in collaboration with Nueces County Coastal Parks. The installed structures will allow for the lowering of the sensors underwater and position them at various depths.

“Access to this data will also provide surfers with wave and current information and help alert beach-goers to the potential for rip currents,” said Tissot. “Other applications of the data include providing information for search and rescue situations.”

In addition, two public websites designed specifically for this project are in the works. One site will allow users to easily access wave and current data. The second site will focus on providing information to oil spill and emergency responders in the Coastal Bend.

“The data will provide the TGLO Oil Spill Prevention and Response team invaluable real-time information on water conditions,” said Tissot. “There are few near-shore structures such as Bob Hall Pier along the Texas open coast. The deployment of these sensors provides real-time information and creates a record of near-shore conditions.”

In addition, the sensors will provide measurements to help better understand and model sediment transport along the coast. This information is critical to plan the long-term sustainability of area beaches and plan beach maintenance.

Co-primary investigators on the project include James Rizzo, Assistant Director of Operations, and Scott Duff, Assistant Director for Information Technology at CBI. The information collected with the new network will be combined with data from other CBI observation systems such as the Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network. This will allow TGLO, private users, and the public to access information at the exact moment it occurs. All measurements meet strict National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration standards.