The Inflation Reduction Act Can Help Protect the Texas Coast

How the IRA can help Texas improve coastal resilience by using green infrastructure projects


Atlantic Ocean beach
liliy2025 |
Maryann Martinez Okhuysen

Oceans Intern


The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 is the largest policy investment in the fight against climate change in U.S. history. With its implementation, the U.S. is on track to reduce carbon emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. The act directly benefits Texas by increasing coastal resilience to the changing climate while planning for a greener, innovative Texas Coast. 

While many provisions in the IRA will address the root causes of climate change, the state frequently affected by climate change will still need to implement mitigation and adaptation measures to combat the impacts of climate change, especially on the Texas Coast. Luckily, the IRA includes a $2.6 billion dollar provision for investment in coastal communities and climate resilience across the U.S. When combined with the Infrastructure, Investments, and Jobs Act, now more than $5 billion are available for coastal projects. Texas has projects ready and waiting. In 2019 the Texas General Land Office recommended 123 high priority coastal resiliency projects. These projects are of the utmost importance to protect our coastal waters and lands and will reduce erosion, protect endangered habitat, and protect our citizens.

Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River.
Bonneville Power Administration | Public Domain
An example of gray infrastructure

We’re happy to see that almost half of these recommended projects are nature-based, or green, infrastructure projects. This is a significant step up from previous projects that rely on gray infrastructure such as man-made seawalls or dams that have been found to be twice as expensive, and in many ways more effective

With green infrastructure we often see multiple benefits from a single project. For example, Oyster beds can protect coastline cities and infrastructure by preventing erosion, filtering water, providing habitats for fish, and acclimating to sea level rises. A single oyster can typically filter 50 gallons of water a day, filtering out certain algae, high nitrogen and phosphorus levels, and other pollutants. Something as simple as implementing a 25-acre oyster reef could filter the same amount of water used by the entirety of the City of Houston in one day.  

With billions in funding, NOAA is expected to create grant competitions, and offer other funding methods, to enhance coastal resilience. State and municipal governments, nonprofits, universities, and communities at every level in Texas will benefit greatly from being able to apply and compete for this funding to restore and enhance the Texas Coast. The restoration of our wetlands, mangroves, salt marshes, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs directly make Texas more resilient and a better place for us all. 


Maryann Martinez Okhuysen

Oceans Intern

Maryann Martinez Okhuysen is a government and sustainability student at the University of Texas at Austin and our Oceans Intern.

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